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    Agent Orange - Secondary

    Berta, I did include all the information you suggested in my original claim. My current plan is to wait until the decision on IHD is made in November. My METS is 3-4. After I receive that determination and I find out if they really are going to revisit my claims for hypertension, stroke, and vestibular hypofunction, then I will appeal if necessary. The current decision denies all but IHD because of the lack of service connection. I feel, as you do, that all of these ailments are related to the same process in the body. That process is the destruction of endothelial cells which leads to artery damage. This damage is not just in the heart but throughout the body. I know my layman opinion means nothing to the VA but I will submit a NOD as soon as I get the IHD rating in Novemeber. Thank you and everyone else for the feed back. Any other thoughts on this problem are welcome.

    Agent Orange - Secondary

    In November of 2009, I applied for compensation based upon agent orange exposure while I was in Vietnam with the Army in 1967 - 68. I have had heart disease since 1989. I also claimed vestibular hypofunction, stroke and hypertension as secondary. All of these ailments are caused by endothelial damage to the arteries as is IHD. I finally had a C&P in August 2010 for all the condtions claimed. Each VA physician or health care professional I saw confirmed and stated in the C&P report that all health problems I claimed were at least as likely as not caused or aggravated by exposure to agent orange. My Board Certified private cardiologist of 20 years also stated the same in a letter he personally wrote to the VA. Today, Oct 10, 2010, I received a rating decision from the Cleveland Ohio VA. I quote as follows - "Decision - A decision on entitlement to compensation for ischemic heart disease is deferred. Service connection for vestibular hypofunction, stroke and hypertension is denied". The decision also states the following: "PLEASE NOTE: As you claimed secondary service connection for hypertension, vestbular hypofunction, and stroke, the disabilities will be reconsidered on a secondary basis following finalization of the new additions to 38 CFR 3.309(e), which establish ischemic heart disease as a presumptive disability of herbicide exposure". In regards to the PLEASE NOTE above - I thought this had already been completed so I went to 38 CFR 3.309(e) and confirmed that the three new presumptives are already there. How could the rating officer not know the CFR has already been updated? When does the mental torture stop? Does anyone know what's going on? Has anyone else received anything like this recently? Do I now have to go back in and ask the VA to reconsider the secondary basis conditions or will they automatically do this? By the way, they told me how to appeal in the same letter although the letter states the IHD is deferred and the secondary conditions will be reconsidered. Wonderful - after a year, I still don't know whats going on. Any suggestions on what to do now???


    Based upon past medical history and records I provided plus a letter from my cardiologist, the VA doctor perfroming the C&P ordered a MUGGA scan (nuclear medicine scan) and a echocardiogram. I did not do a treadmill because past echo's (multiple echo's) revealed ejection fraction below 50% plus I have left ventricular hypertrophy and diastolic dysfunction Grade II. I assume my comp level will be based upon the METS level assigned by the VA physician conducting the C&P since the ejection fraction is considered normal above 50%. My original question was about the scars from the open heart being secondary to IHD. I would assume they are compensable but will have to wait.


    I filed last November for IHD, Stroke, but just completed the C&P last week. It took 8 months to get the C&P. The heart surgery was not done at the VA. Two of the three bypasses failed three months after surgery. No other surgical options were available at that point. I never filed before because I was told - like many others - it wasn't compensable so why file. Big mistake on my part - Nineteen years lost. I did file for CVA as secondary. The stroke caused me to lose my vestibular system (balance) so when I walk I look like a drunk. I used to be a pilot but the heart disease and stoke ended that. I worked as long as I could but had to quit a few years back. It's too bad you can't be compensated for 20 yrs of suffering and a lost career. I have reviewed the VA information and feel I should get something but the damage to my heart is on the right side, not the left (pumping side) so my ejection fraction is above 50%. I don't know what the MET level will be. Anything would help.


    I am a VN vet with heart attack at 43, open heart at 43, multiple angioplasties, stent, stroke, etc before age 50. The open heart was performed in 1991 almost twenty years ago. My question is about the scars that were left from that surgery. I have looked at the VA information on that subject listed under "Skin" and I'm still not sure if those scars are considered compensable. The guidance seems to focus on linear vs nonlinear in shape. The scar from my leg where they removed the vein they used for the bypasses and the scar on my chest meet the size requirments for 20%. Are these scars considered secondary to the IHD I have? I ask this question because the VA doctor that examined me for the C&P measured the scars for his report. Has anyone had any experience with this issue?


    Here we go again... Everyone knows we just spent 700 billion plus on stimulating the economy. Does anyone feel stimulated? Senator Webb just spent months passing a new veterans education program worth over 50 billion dollars over the next ten years for those serving since 2001. Compared to the Vietnam era it is extremely generous. The government bailed out wall street, the banks, and even some money went overseas to other countries and now maybe even Greece will get help with some of our tax dollars. All of a sudden our government is concerned about deficits. Now, comes the Vietnam vets and the three new diseases. The cost estimated at 42 billion over 10 years. Suddenly the cost is too much. Do you think Senator Webb or anyone else for that matter would be paying any attention to this if only a few Vietnam Vets had heart disease? Of course not. It's only because many vets have heart disease and the cost for compensation will be a lot. The war in Vietnam lasted 10 years. When I was there in 1967-68, we had over 500,000 troops on the ground. In Iraq, the most was around 160,000. Many Vietnam vets have the disease because many served and many were exposed. Therefore the cost to treat and compensate will be higher. Agent Orange was everywhere. The run-off from the jungle migrated to the streams and rivers and into our water supply. We cooked with it. We drank it. We bathed in it. What do you think the chances are that a lot of us may have health problems from it? Senator Webb stated that the 1991 rules were established to address those rare cases of agent orange related diseases. Duh... So if a disease was caused by agent orange and it only affects a few veterans then we should take care of the veteran but if a disease, caused by agent orange, affects many veterans, then we should not take care of the veteran. Does this logic make sense to anyone but a politician? Congress set up the rules in 1991. The VA has followed the rules. The IOM has determined that these 3 diseases meet the same criteria as the diseases already approved in the past. This includes ischemic heart disease. There are four categories that can be assigned by the IOM for the disease studied. They are:1) Sufficient Evidence of an Association, 2) Limited or Suggestive Evidence of an Association, 3) Inadequate or Insufficient Evidence to Determine an Association, and 4) Limited or Suggestive Evidence of No Association. In the past, diseases studied and classified in category one or two were approved. Category three and four were not. The IOM report is 676 pages long. The breakdown of diseases by category is in the report. The IOM went out of their way to be fair and impartial. In addition, if congress changes the 1991 rules they set up for the VA and also changes the criteria that IOM must use, do we revisit the diseases that have already been approved and apply the new rules to them - thereby changing compensation for already approved diseases? The potential for problems and long delays is limitless and maybe intentional. This whole thing stinks to high heaven. By the way if you want to read the IOM report on line, here is the web site: http://www.iom.edu/Reports/2009/Veterans-and-Agent-Orange-Update-2008.aspx
  7. Try the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Web site. There might be something there to help you.

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