Ischemic Heart Disease: Definition
Heart disease is an umbrella term used to encompass many forms of diseases that affect your heart. Ischemic heart disease is specifically caused by myocardial ischemia, which is a condition that occurs when blood flow to your heart muscle is decreased by a blockage. This decrease in blood flow reduces oxygen to you heart, many times causing damage to the heart muscle and reducing the ability to function efficiently. If you suffer from ischemic heart disease, you may be entitled to collect Social Security disability benefits. To claim this as a disability one must first have symptoms due to myocardial ischemia, while being treated with a prescription. In addition, one of the following must result: a failed applicable exercise tolerance test (stress test), three separate ischemic episodes within a consecutive 12-month period, or coronary artery disease as shown through medically acceptable imaging.
Symptoms associated with Ischemic Heart Disease:
Chest pressure or pain, typically on the left side of the body (angina pectoris); neck or jaw pain; shoulder or arm pain; clammy skin; shortness of breath; and nausea and vomiting.
What is the applicable exercise tolerance test?
The individual must take a sign or symptom limited exercise tolerance test that demonstrates the manifestation of certain medical symptoms, which indicate impairment caused by ischemia heart disease.
What qualifies for three or more ischemic episodes?
The individual must have three or more ischemic episodes within a consecutive 12 month period. For the ischemic episodes to qualify within that number, each episode must require revasculization or not be amenable to revasculization. Revasculization is commonly referred to as bypass surgery. Therefore, either the ischemic episode leads to a surgery to bypass the blockage, or there is another medical condition that will not allow for the surgery (even if needed). The three ischemic episodes must be spaced over different hospital visits and consecutive episodes within the same hospital stay would not qualify.
What does the imaging have to show to qualify?
Coronary artery disease must be demonstrated with by an angiographic image or another medically acceptable imaging technique. The medical doctor must conclude that the performance of an exercise tolerance test would present a significant risk to the individual. Further, the imaging must show a sufficient narrowing of certain segments of a coronary artery. In addition, the coronary artery disease must result in serious limitations on everyday activities.
Our Social Security lawyers can help address whether a disability can be established based on an inability to perform tasks during a full work day and whether or not you are eligible for Social Security disability benefits.