Cycling enthusiast Joe J. Cruz was training for a bike race when he noticed something didn’t feel right. “I felt really heavy palpitations that wouldn’t go away,” he recalls. He was 40 at the time, and was concerned that there might be a problem with his heart. He went to see his doctor, who referred him to Interventional Cardiologist James J. Galizia, MD, at Fort Duncan Regional Medical Center.
To assess his condition, Joe was given a stress test, administered by Armando Perez, Nuclear Medicine Tech. For the test, Joe was asked to walk on a treadmill, while equipment monitoring his heart measured how he responded to physical activity. He was also given an echocardiogram, which created pictures of his heart using high-frequency sound waves (ultrasound).
“Joe’s results were normal and ruled out a serious impending heart problem,” notes Dr. Galizia. The underlying cause of his symptoms was determined to be caffeine intoxication from consuming coffee and energy drinks. “A lot of non-cardiac issues can mimic symptoms of a heart problem,” notes Dr. Galizia. “Our job is to decipher between the two and ensure that patients get the care they need.”
Joe did the right thing by having his symptoms checked, Dr. Galizia adds. “It’s important for people to know that if they’re having any concerns at all, they can come to us,” he says, noting that a cardiovascular screening unit in the Emergency Department at Fort Duncan Regional can provide quick turnaround of cardiac testing results.
Joe never made it to the bike race, but he’s still enjoying cycling and is more closely monitoring his caffeine intake. He knows just where to go if he has any cardiac concerns in the future.
“It’s really good to know we have people like the team at Fort Duncan Regional,” he says, commenting on the cordial and welcoming attitude of Perez and everyone he encountered. “From 1 to 5 stars, I give it a 5+,” he says of his experience.
Fort Duncan Regional Medical Center offers comprehensive heart care, including assessment, diagnosis, planning, intervention and evaluation of a wide range of cardiovascular diseases.