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  • Total Joint Replacement
  • Arthroscopic Surgery
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Media

How I spent my Total Eclipse Day and why Preadmission Testing (PAT) is necessary?

Tom Steltenkamp ATC

I’m the practice administrator for Ellis & Badenhausen Orthopaedics, PSC. In May of this year, I started having left hip pain out of the blue. Up to that time I had been able to walk on a daily basis without any problems with my hip. I decided to see one of our physicians. The x-rays showed osteoarthritis with a cyst and complete narrowing of my hip joint space. After consulting his partners, it was decided I needed a total hip replacement. With the University of Louisville Football season upon us, I was going to wait until the holiday season to have the surgery; however the pain in my hip continued to increase and my mobility decreased. Therefore, I decided it was time to set up the surgery for the end of August.

I had my preadmission testing done on August 8, and the results were sent to my Internist. The next day he called me and said I had an abnormal EKG and would need to follow up with a cardiologist for additional testing. My cardiologist reviewed the EKG and asked me to come to his office where he did a limited echocardiogram. He did not notice the probable inferior infarct from the EKG, but saw some calcium buildup in my heart. His recommendation was to set me up for a Coronary Calcium Scan. The procedure is not covered by insurance, but the cost was only $99.00. (Well worth the money!) I had this done on August 14 at the University of Louisville Hospital. My score was 656.6, anything over 400 is extensive plaque buildup in the heart. His main concern was the “remodeling” in the Distal Left Main, and in the proximal and mid Left Anterior Descending (LAD).

My cardiologist knew he would not be able to do a traditional stress test with my bad hip, and even doing a nuclear stress test may not show all he needed to see. His recommendation was to set up a heart catheterization for August 21.

My heart cath was performed on August 21 – Total Eclipse Day! The procedure showed I had 80% blockage in my LAD and a drug-eluting stent was placed in the area. There is a nickname for complete blockage in the LAD — it’s called the “Widow Maker” – it can strike at anytime and without warning!

Since my procedure, I have spoken with both RN’s at our offices, and they state a lot of patients get upset when they have to go for further cardiac clearance before surgery. I am here to tell you that preadmission testing saved my life! I’ve never had any chest pain or shortness of breath. To say I’m fortunate is an understatement!

My Total Eclipse Day was well spent in the Heart Cath Suite — even if I didn’t see one minute of the eclipse!!

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