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sliding hernia..

By October 25, 2011 - 1:00pm
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I had a heart attack 12 months ago and then developed a sliding hernia, when I lay on my side or flat I have a sensation in my chest and it radiates to my left arm, I start to sweat and feel quite unwell. If I move position and virtually sit up it goes over time. I have had a further angiogram which is fine. can a sliding hernia mimic a heart attack? I am getting in a state thinking I am having another heart attack.

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Hi Justsue,
I can appreciate your concern especially having had a heart attack. To be clear, I am assuming that you have been diagnosed with a sliding hiatal hernia.

The term sliding hernia is actually a hernia of the cecum (on the right) or the sigmoid colon (on the left) in which the intestinal wall forms part of the hernial sac and the rest of the sac is formed by parietal peritoneum.

A sliding hiatal hernia is a hiatal hernia with the upper stomach and the esophagogastric junction protruding into the posterior mediastinum; the protrusion may be fixed or intermittent and is partially covered by a peritoneal sac.

In a sliding hiatal hernia, the stomach and the section of the esophagus that joins the stomach slide up into the chest through the hiatus. This is the more common type of hernia. Most of them do not cause symptoms but the larger the hernia, the more likely it is to cause symptoms.

The symptoms of a sliding hiatal hernia are the same symptoms of GERD or gastroesophageal reflux disease. These include heartburn, which usually is described as a burning pain in the middle of the chest. It may start high in the abdomen or may extend up into the neck. In some patients, however, the pain may be sharp or pressure-like, rather than burning. Such pain can mimic heart pain (angina). In other patients, the pain may extend to the back. Regurgitation, which s the appearance of refluxed liquid in the mouth, is another symptom.
So, yes, the heartburn associated with a sliding hiatal hernia can mimic cardiac chest pain. It is important for you to remember the warning signs of your previous heart attack and review the warning signs, if necessary, so that you can tell the difference.
Thank you for your question,

October 25, 2011 - 2:38pm
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