You have some chest pain, a little indigestion. You take some antacids, stop eating greasy foods so much and figure it will go away. It does not. You try the antacids again, drink more water, maybe cut out the greasy foods altogether. It gets a little better, but it is still there. You are too busy to go to the doctor right now. You will get around to it. What if it is something more serious? What if you should get it checked out. Your spouse makes an appointment for you because they are tired of hearing you complain, and they are concerned it might be something more.
You head to the doctor’s office. The doctor gives you a check up, scolds you about the usual, you should lose some weight, smoking should definitely be cut out, get a little exercise. Just to be sure he does an electrocardiogram, a tracing of your heart. He sees something. Maybe it is nothing, maybe it is something that should be taken care of. He sends you to a cardiologist, the heart doctor.
The cardiologist does some further testing and finds out that you actually may have a blocked valve or something else going on in your heart. He sends you for a cardiac cauterization. This test puts a wire directly into the veins that go to the heart to see if there is a blockage. If there is a blockage, the doctor can place a stent, a little metal piece that will hold the valve open so that it can do its job. You can also have more than one stent placed. In extreme cases, he may need to use veins from other parts of your body to replace blocked or damaged veins, bypass surgery. It also may be something that can be handled with medicine. Whatever the case, listen to your body, and then listen to your doctor.