So many tests

A nuisance when you have a Fontan is that quite often you seem to be always going to medical tests. You've been doing it since you were a baby.

 

They will include ECGs, X-rays, echocardiograms (often called echos), blood tests, stress exercise tests.

Tests, tests, tests.

When you're little you just do it because you're told to. As you grow older you should be asking what the test is for and what does it measure. That way you get a better understanding of how your heart health works.

 

By now, you feel more in charge of your own body and going to tests like an echo might not feel that great. You have to strip off your shirt and lie flat on your back in front of a stranger. If you're a girl and have boobs, all this stuff might feel really uncomfortable. Whether you're female or male, ask for a gown if you think that helps your discomfort.

The good thing about echos is that they provide heart information without pain (apart from when you pull off the sticky electrodes which is a bit like pulling off a band-aid). It's good if you don't miss your echo appointment because it's an easy way to find out how your heart's going.

The guy in this video is having an echo and the doctor explains a bit about how it helps to monitor heart health.

The young adults in this video talk about how they feel when they have echos for a condition called Marfan Syndrome. None of them are cheering about the procedure but they recognise it's a good thing to do. 

Young people right around the world have echos for all sorts of reasons. It's fair to tell yourself that an echo isn't a lot of fun, but that it's worth doing as it helps to keep you in good health.

Blood tests

You would have had a lot of blood tests in your life already and you will probably continue to have more.

 

If you're on some types of blood thinner, you could write a book on blood tests! Though they're part of your life, as you get older it can be tempting to skip tests if you're busy. Technology is letting some people do INRs at home, but it depends on the country you live in and what your cardiology facility offers. 

By the way, INR stands for international normalised ratio (INR). It's a laboratory measurement to see how long it takes blood to form a clot. 

Try to keep up-to-date with your blood tests and all your other tests. They all help stop heart health issues that are invisible to you and your doctors.

Blood tests blood thinners Fontan heart