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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Cervical Ribs ~ Thoracic Outlet Syndrome ~ Cardiac Arrythmia

Originally I posted this to my facebook page.

I will continue to add to this article over time and see what else I can discover as well as record my own history and doctor visits and/or testing I may receive so that others may have a better understanding of this condition.

Here is some interesting anatomy !!!

My ribs were hurting today (07-31-2013) from an old injury and I was finding it hard once again to breathe deeply, and the pain was on my right side.

I went to my local hospital and after some x-rays an x-ray tech specified that I had cervical ribs...plural...known more specifically as bi-lateral cervical ribs.

The doctor did not specify this in my overall diagnosis nor did she even seem to care at all about it, as this day the 51 room ER was at full capacity, however I thought she may care a little more then that, but as it was not related to my issues (maybe) she just came in and spoke with me for her final diagnosis and left.

I was seen at the Western Maryland Health Systems Cumberland, Maryland Campus on Willowbrook Drive, here at home in Cumberland,Maryland.

The attending doctor was XXXXX XXXXXXXX, D.O.

On a side note, when a doctor asks if you have any medical condition, and you are in mid sentence answering what may be a lengthy answer, why would you get completely cut off mid sentence and they nor care to hear the rest?

If you do not want a full answer, do not ask me the question!

This happens all the time and I have serious issues that if they really cared about they would listen to to get the complete picture as well as a better diagnosis.

I live in this body and can describe it and know its history the finest!

This has happened to me on most occasions, as opposed to rarely, but it is not the case all of the time.

A doctor who cared to learn more real hands on life experience of a patient would listen intently and perhaps suggest better specialists, rather then just shuffling you through the system after tests to tell you what you already know.

I respect the additional 4 years of education, and the additional 400-500 hours of education she received for her D.O. license, however I have a 45 year education and read a lifetime of information and lived a lifetime of information which is always second to none.

I am persistent, and my persistence has gotten me answers, and nothing more.

I was not diagnosed with my other severe spinal issues until age 43, and these are things I have had all my life for the most part, as I have suffered badly since the age of 18.

If you are a doctor reading this, please take a breath with your patience and learn how to listen intently and show that you do indeed care instead of running away like a salesman at Lowe's only to bring back or suggest the completely wrong thing, or at least not offer a more full answer and diagnosis and follow up suggestion.

I have a brain, I have been published by the United States Department of Energy and elsewhere, I have an education, and I will be treated with full respect and command and deserve this as does every other patient, and I have no problem articulating this.

This is not about attitude, but this is most certainly about receiving the critical analysis one deserves, we all deserve, as patients.

I was pleased with my overall service today at the hospital, but not pleased that she did not care to examine the x-rays closer, or x-ray my scapula which I told her hurt very badly too, and where she walked away again after explaining I had surgery on the shoulder of the same side that was hurting, which was information I was trying to explain the first time she answered about my medical history.

She failed to order the scapula x-rays, which could have and should have been ordered for a full diagnosis to my original complaint as a patient today!

After finally listening a bit more, she jokingly said perhaps they could wrap me in bubble wrap, which was rather funny and I had even said it in the ER waiting room to the attending nurse and we too had a laugh, because laughter is the finest medicine, however, this may have been perceived a juvenile, insensitive and a huge glaring mistake by a professional doctor leaving a patient in pain.

I have had two surgeries on this same side of my body I hurt today, and broken ribs from October of 2011 as well, so being brushed aside was not very compassionate.

I also am suppose to have my neck fused one day and have lost two inches in height as well, but, again, she did not care to hear my personal history which she directly inquired about!

I was also upset that upon leaving I indeed did not get a prescription for the bubble wrap !!!

Back to the fascination of cervical ribs...

Apparently, after receiving some x-ray results, I have been healing well and indeed the old wounds of breaking my ribs have this unexpected dis-comfort.

So, the neat thing I was told today is that I have bilateral cervical ribs too !!!

These are extra ribs attached to the 7th (or last) cervical vertebrae of the neck and are additional ribs to the "normal" anatomy.

These are only found in .2 % of the population.

They do not seem to be at issue here with this particular issue, but as they are extremely rare I have been reading about them, and the conditions the can cause.

Mostly, and not too common in most folks with this anatomical anomaly, you may develop compressed nerves and a compressed artery, which can cause "pins and needles" like tingling in one or both arms and restricted blood flow as well.

The anomaly may consist of one cervical rib, or having two, or bi-lateral cervical ribs, meaning on both sides.

As I have had severe spinal issues and most especially in the cervical region where they want to fuse my neck, I have looked for literature on this topic.

Does anyone else know more, or know if this would complicate fusion surgery that appears to be in my hopefully very distant future???

Yes I am a certified mutant freak ladies and gentlemen, and that is to go along with other genetic mutations like spinal stenosis.

My thinking is perhaps these once served a purpose, or are serving a purpose now and that is why these mutations exist, however there is little literature that goes deeper with the cervical ribs existence and/ or purpose, other then a diagnosis and the particular compression issues.

This is often not seen in the MRI procedures today, as most specialists do not look for it at all and do not see it, but not because it is not there and able to been seen when looked for.

The cervical rib, when present, is attached to the 7th and last cervical vertebrae of the spine, and may be a floating rib or an attached rib. 

I am curious to find out what more is known of this condition and if you have any personal information or links, please by all means share them.

Also if you suffer from spinal issues at all, especially ion the neck or cervical area as it is properly known by, and most especially with numbness in one or both arms, make certain that you request a thorough x-ray and see if you too may have this genetic mutation!

All freaks on board!!!

I am listing a few names here so that you may read and/or respond to this thread.

Please add any names you may know of medical specialist or sufferers of spinal issues, as this is at least fun and not common knowledge to share, and may help many get a better diagnosis of other issues that may arise from this condition.

I will link a few articles below under comments so you may read about this for yourself in much greater detail.