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553283 tn?1409694311

Cleveland Clinic or Mayo?

I had CABG X 3 in 2007.Since then, almost constant and chronic sternal pain, and cervical neck pain. Last year, addressed cervical disc herniation with Presteige Artificial Disc C6-7. Sternum pain diagnosed by my cardiologist as chronic costochondritis. Last cath on March last year. No change. All grafts good. Back surgeon said structurally good, but cannot fix nerves??????( I still have not got an answer on that) Most pain(chest and neck) has disappeared twice when I got cervical nerve ablation.I got a second diagnostic nerve block today, trying to work my way back to another ablation(insurance has strange conditions).
     I am tired of these Drs. giving me the run around, as I believe the source of my pain exists somewhere in my spine, but a shrug of the shoulders is all I get. But with three aging grafts, I do not know where to turn. I am thinking of leaving the "kennels" around here and going to a hospital that might spend a little more time finding out my problem(s) and a suitable treatment. Anyone been to either one of these hospitals? How were you treated?
13 Responses
10389859 tn?1409921868
If you think the pain is coming from your spine, then they can test you by doing an EMG/Nerve Conduction.  However it is not uncommon for people who have had a CABG (and in your case x 3!) to have the bones not meet properly, nerves cut (then they regrow where they feel like it or get an abnormal sensation with nerves that is irreversible but sometimes treated by other means - medication, Calamere Treatment, a pain specialist, PT, etc.).  Patches used for pain are usually not given to people because it contains something that can affect your heart.

I don't know if you have tried any of these already or not, but you may want to bring it up with your doctor or seek a doctor who can evaluate you and treat you for it.

Get copies of your medical records (including any tests that were done) to help any new doctor who may be treating you.
553283 tn?1409694311
I have a pain specialist...actually I have had several.I have had nerve conduction tests done on my legs/feet and for carpal tunnel, but never on my spine.The surgeon that did my CABG admitted that sometimes things get displaced in the spine(as in my discs) during the procedure and referred to me to my first pain specialist, whom I ended up firing due to his "my way or the highway attitude"...I have DOPE galore which I cannot take due to my occupation or negative side effects.PT just hurts.No gain, just pain. I will look up Calamere Treatment. I have never heard of this.Thank you for your response.
553283 tn?1409694311
Calmare?
10389859 tn?1409921868
There are many pain treatment centers and many of them have a different focus.  It sounds like you did the right thing when you were unhappy with the other one.  Calamere is fairly new and was first used on our soldiers returning home with chronic pain; kind of like TENS and electrical stim but lasts a long time and still being studied.  Only a few places are certified to do this.

I would recommend that if you haven't had an EMG of the spine (cervical and thoracic) to have one to see if there are any nerves triggering your pain.  Obviously nerves get cut during a CABG, and when nerves re-regrow, they go where they want to and not where they are supposed to.  A neurologist should be able to do this for you.

Have you had your spine evaluated by a neurosurgeon (one that is not "cut happy")?

There are also medications available that a doctor can prescribe if they feel it is "nerve pain" (neuropathy) or chronic pain.  Some medications now are used for multiple things, so don't rule anything out yet.  But I would start with the EMG.

You might also want to consider alternative medicine, like acupuncture, meditation, pet therapy, music therapy, etc.
Avatar universal
Cleveland Clinic and Mayo Clinic are obviously both top-flight medical centers, so the choice between the two would not be so much "which is better, Cleveland or Mayo;" it would be which one has a doctor or program that is more specialized to what you need.  If you can't identify a doctor or program at either clinic that you particularly want to see, then pick the clinic that is easier for you to get to, or the one where you have friends or relatives that you could stay with, or the one that is located where there are sights that you want to see.  I haven't been to either one of those places.  I've been to Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, and it was great for my aortic valve replacement, but that's a different problem than what you have.  If I did have what you have, and if I found myself unable to get local help, I would probably call my surgeon's office in Houston and ask for him to either see me so I could talk to him or for him to just give me a referral to someone else in Houston, but that's just me, and I know that doesn't really help you.  On something like this, you're really in uncharted territory.  Good luck, and that's my two cents.
553283 tn?1409694311
Thank you for your "two cents". If I were you, I'd up my rate. Worth considerably more. LOL!!!
553283 tn?1409694311
Yes two neurosurgeons and a orthopedic surgeon have seen me. The ortho wanted to do a double fusion. The first neuro wanted to do a single fusion. I wanted an artificial disc. So the first neuro referred me to the neuro that after an extended wait, for my insurance, finally installed a Presteige Artificial stainless steel disc, developed right here in Memphis Tennessee.
553283 tn?1409694311
I have had two EMG studies. One on my feet and legs. One on my arms and hands. Conclusions: neuropathy in my feet and carpal tunnel in my hands. Already taking gabapentin. Have not had carpel tunnel "release" yet....BTW, dont want to sound like a sissy, but those studies HURT LIKE HELL.
553283 tn?1409694311
Just got back from local hospital. Had cath yesterday and to my surprise, they found a 65% blocked artery and stented it. All bypasses still running well. I guess I will try another statin,although my Dr. said that he had noticed the blockage a year and a half ago but it wasnt bad enough to stent.Depressed.
10389859 tn?1409921868
At least they were able to stent it before something more serious happened.  You sound like you have a good sense of humor...that's good in keeping healthy.  You mean to tell me that you would rather have a stent vs. taking another statin?  

I'm jealous that you got a stainless steel disc and I only got cadaver parts and a ton of hardware in my neck that makes railroad tracks look clean compared to my films.  Are you smiling now?
553283 tn?1409694311
No, I would not rather have a stent than a statin....it is just that the statins make me hurt......gonna try a new one no matter what...Plus I just got told that I have low T by my cardiologist....so it's off to ANOTHER specialist...

553283 tn?1409694311
No. it's hard to smile now. Had my heart set on another nerve ablation.......now that I am on Plavix for a year that is out for a while...gonna try a TENS unit or a PENS(newfangled device)....tired of pain and not getting to do what I enjoy.....
Avatar universal
TENS can be very helpful.  They used to think that it was only of benefit while you had the device on, but now they think that it has more persistent benefits for a lot of people.  Acupuncture might help, if you're open to that.  If you do try acupuncture, I would go to someone who does that all the time and has had intensive training in it, and not someone who specializes in something else and took a weekend course in acupuncture.
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