Atrial Fibrillation is an irregularly irregular heart beat, and is the most common arrhythmia in the United States, affecting nearly three million Americans. Instead of the heart beating normally, the upper chambers quiver or “Fibrillate”. When this happens, the upper chambers struggle to fill the lower chambers with blood, which can reduce heart output by 20-40%. Over time, untreated, this can cause the lower chambers to fail. The worst complication of Atrial Fibrillation is stroke. Because the upper chambers stop contracting fully, blood can slow down and forma clot. Once a clot is formed, in can move throughout the body, including the brain. 75% of strokes associated with A-fib result in long term debilitation or death. Oral blood thinners can lower stoke risk to 1%. Although there is a very low (1%) bleeding risk with the use of oral anticoagulants (blood thinners), the benefits of stroke prevention heavily outweigh the minimal risk. Your cardiologist can help you understand the risk and can recommend potential treatments that may convert your heart back into a normal rhythm. If you are currently in A-fib, do not delay treatment. Call today for an appointment.
Hypertension (HTN) is the medical term for high blood pressure. Hypertension affects more than 3 million Americans annually. High blood pressure can cause damage to the arteries within the body, which may eventually cause other health problems such as heart disease or kidney failure. People may have heart disease for many years and have no symptoms. Uncontrolled high blood pressure increases your risk of serious health problems including heart attack and stroke. High blood pressure (Hypertension) is very easy to detect by utilizing a blood pressure cuff, often found at your local pharmacy for free. Once you know you have high blood pressure, you can work directly with our doctors to help control it.
Cardiac catheterization is a medical procedure used to diagnose and treat some heart conditions. It lets doctors take a close look at the heart to identify problems and perform other tests or procedures on your heart.
Your doctor may recommend cardiac catheterization to find out the cause of symptoms such as chest pain or irregular heartbeat, or to find out whether you have ischemic heart disease due to blockages in the coronary arteries. Before the procedure, your doctor may need to do diagnostic tests, such as blood tests, heart imaging tests, or a stress test, to determine how well your heart is working and to help guide the procedure.
During cardiac catheterization, a long, thin, flexible tube called a catheter is put into a blood vessel in your arm, groin or upper thigh. The catheter is then threaded to your heart. Your doctor may use it to examine your heart valves or take samples of blood or heart muscle. Your doctor also may use ultrasound or inject a dye into your coronary arteries to see whether your arteries are narrowed or blocked. Cardiac catheterization may also be used instead of some heart surgeries to repair heart defects and replace heart valves.
Cardiac catheterization is safe for most people. Complications are rare but can include bleeding and blood clots. Your doctor will monitor your condition and may recommend medicines to prevent blood clots.
There are two types of Metoprolol. Long acting and short acting. Metoprolol Tartrate is a short-acting drug with a half-life of 3-5 hours. This short-acting formulation may also be labeled as Lopressor.
The long-acting formulation of the drug is called Metoprolol Succinate. It is released slowly from the GI tract over a period of 20 hours. This gives a more regulated level of metoprolol in the blood stream. The drug may also be labeled as Toprol XL, Metoprolol ER or Metoprolol ER Succinate.
Long-acting metoprolol is FDA-approved for the treatment of congestive heart failure. Short-acting metoprolol is not.
If you have heart failure, it is worthwhile to check the formulation of the drug you are taking. Pharmacies may substitute a short-acting formulation to save money and this is not ideal. If you do not know about your medications, or do not understand your medications, please ask your physician or pharmacist for more information.
Your heart has its own internal electrical system that controls the rate and rhythm of the heart. When the bodies natural electrical system is not working properly, a pacemaker can be placed inside a patients chest to help. A pacemaker sends out a small electrical pulse to the heart telling it to beat when the heart does not otherwise beat on it’s own. A heart that beats too slowly (Bradycardia) can cause fainting, fatigue, shortness of breath or loss of consciousness.
On occasion, the heart beats erratically or maybe the entire electrical system is broken within the heart. Pacemakers are inserted and set up to help coordinate the signaling between the upper and lower chambers of the heart. This coordination of the upper and lower chambers is referred to as Cardiac Resynchronization therapy, which is utilized to help treat heart failure.
A pacemaker is used to induce heart beats when the hearts native electrical system is not functioning properly. A defibrillator is utilized to shock your heart back into a normal rhythm when it becomes lethally irregular. Some devices are both a pacemaker and defibrillator, while others are simply a defibrillator. Your doctor will explain the need for these with you and will help you to understand which device you will receive if a device is deemed necessary.
An EKG (Electrocardiograpy) is connected to your body by utilizing small electrodes that are sticky and will adhere to your skin. The process of applying the stickers and connecting you to the device or obtaining a reading will not cause any pain or discomfort. Removal of the stickers may make you experience a moment of discomfort. If you have a hairy chest, the stickers being removed will cause more pain. The pain however is very short lived and not life threatening.
A treadmill test is a the of cardiac stress test that is done to determine how the heart responds to any additional demands being placed on the heart.
This test is performed on an actual treadmill. Patients will walk and run on the treadmill. Every heart beat will be monitored during this time. During the test, the speed and the incline of the treadmill will continually increase until the patient gets tired and cannot continue, or the patient reaches their goal HR, whichever comes first.
Depending on the results of the test, the doctor may recommend additional testing or new medications.
The test is used to help diagnose certain types of cardiovascular diseases. An Echocardiogram (also known as Echo) creates an image of the heart using ultra-high-frequency sound waves-sound waves that are too high in frequency to be heard by the human ear. An echocardiography examination generally lasts between 15-30 minutes. The patient lies bare-chested on an examination table. A special gel is spread over the chest to help the transducer make good contact and slide smoothly over the skin. The transducer, a small hand-held device at the end of a flexible cable, is placed against the chest.
Essentially a modified microphone, the transducer directs ultrasound waves into the chest. Some of the waves get echoed (or reflected) back to the transducer. Since different tissues and blood all reflect ultrasound waves differently, these sound waves can be translated into a meaningful image of the heart and the structures within it, which can be displayed on a monitor and recorded. The patient does not feel the sound waves, and the entire procedure is painless. In fact, there are no known side effects.
Echocardiography allows technicians to measure and analyze the direction and speed of blood flow through chambers in the heart, blood vessels, and heart valves. This makes it especially useful for detecting and evaluating regurgitation (reverse blood flow) through the heart valves. By assessing the speed of blood flow at different locations it can help to precisely locate blood flow problems including obstructions. By being able to determine abnormalities in blood flow through the valves, or a decrease in output from the heart, your doctor can help to tailor your current medical therapy or recommend new treatments if necessary.
A nuclear stress test uses radioactive dye and an imaging machine to create pictures showing the blood flow to your heart. The test measures blood flow while you are at rest and are exerting yourself, showing areas with poor blood flow or damage in your heart.
The test usually involves injecting radioactive dye, then taking two sets of images of your heart — one while you’re at rest and another after exertion.
A nuclear stress test is one of several types of stress tests that may be performed alone or in combination with other tests. Compared with an exercise stress test, a nuclear stress test can help better determine your risk of a heart attack or other cardiac event if your doctor knows or suspects that you have coronary artery disease.
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