Posted by: uncle | 2005/07/02


I at times have severe pains on my right shoulder after having meals while exerting myself.I am diagonised of having gallstones and have been advised to to have the gallbladder removed. Before I can go for this operation I have been advised to go for an angiogram/angioblast where one of the arteries is narrowing.
I am confused now and scareds to go for the angioblast. Is there an alternate treatment for solving the gallstones problem. I will appreciate your reply.

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Our expert says:
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Dear Uncle,

I can understand the gallstones causing you discomfort after meals, but the pain on exertion is NOT caused by gallstones. This is due to the narrowing of your coronary arteries. This means that not enough oxygenated blood is reaching your heart muscle, and what you are experiencing is angina.

In our heart unit, patients with more than one medical problem are always advised to have the heart sorted out first. Firstly, if you ignore it, the narrowed artery can block off completely, and you will have a heart attack. (Hopefully, not a fatal one ! ) Secondly, unless your heart gets enough oxygen through open arteries, you will be at high risk for any anaesthetic you will need to have your gall bladder fixed. I’m sure your surgeon would not want you to have any heart complications whilst undergoing a gall-bladder op with him, and would agree that your heart should be seen to first.

Many patients have gall-stones which cause no symptoms whatsoever. You may be one of them. You definitely have a reason to have angina, but the finding of gallstones may be purely co-incidental. You may find that once your narrowed arteries are opened, your “gall bladder” problems disappear completely. Meaning that you could be spared a totally unnecessary operation.

Bottom line advice : get your heart foxed first, see how much pain you still have after meals. If it persists, then have your gall-bladder op.

Good luck.


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