High Risk Heart Surgery | Canton, OH

You may have been told that your condition is “inoperable” due to high risks associated with surgery. The words “high risk” are alarming. They carry the implication of a negative outcome from a surgical procedure that might save or improve your quality of life. While every surgery carries risks, it’s always important to weigh them against the potential benefits when considering all the options. Dr. Ciuffo offers options to patients that other surgeons may consider unable to be helped with surgical options. Dr. Ciuffo specialize in high risk heart surgery. If you’ve been told your condition is inoperable or that you’re a “high risk” candidate, contact Dr. Ciuffo for a second opinion. How is Minimally Invasive Bloodless Heart Surgery Different? Traditional heart surgery involves creating a relatively large opening in the chest. It may be necessary to carefully break bones, like ribs and the sternum- to access the heart cavity. With minimally invasive bloodless heart surgery techniques, Dr. Ciuffo employs advanced techniques. A small incision along the ribs provides access to the heart cavity. The patient’s own blood can be circulated, filtered, and re-used throughout the procedure for minimal blood loss. For patients who are concerned about transfusions, this is an excellent option. How Do I Know if It’s Right For Me?  While your doctor may be certain of his or her diagnosis, it’s your health and your right to get a second opinion. If you’ve been told your condition is “inoperable” or that you are a high-risk patient, there are some questions you should ask. First, ask your doctor about the potential outcomes of living without surgery. What...

Heart Surgery Recovery | Canton, OH

You’ve come through the first major milestone of treating your heart issue- you’ve completed your heart surgery. Now it’s time to get on with the important next steps- healing and a full recovery so that you can enjoy the benefits the surgery was intended to create. The First Six to Eight Weeks In the first few weeks, you can expect to need painkillers to help control discomfort while your incision heals. You should be able to bathe or shower within a few days. You’ll need to keep your incision clean and dry until instructed otherwise. Meanwhile, watch for any signs of infection, including excessive draining or oozing, edges of the incision pulling apart, redness or warmth, or a fever higher than 100F. Eight to Ten Weeks During this time you should not stand still for more than 10-15 minutes at a time, lift anything more than 10 pounds, push or pull heavy objects, or engage in strenuous activity. Your doctor will let you know when it’s safe to begin driving again. Be sure to get adequate rest and take care of yourself. You may need to eat smaller meals at first until your body has a chance to recover from the surgery. Recovery Moving Forward As your recovery progresses, you’ll need to ease back into normal activities. Follow your doctor’s instructions carefully to avoid reopening the incision or putting too much strain on your healing heart. When your doctor allows it, it’s important to begin engaging in an exercise routine. Begin with walking, swimming, and other mildly aerobic exercises. As your appetite returns, so will your enjoyment of your favorite...

Biological Heart Valve vs. Mechanical Heart Valve

When facing heart-valve replacement surgery, it’s important to understand the available options. There are pros and cons to every option and understanding them helps you be a more informed patient who is better able to participate in decisions regarding your own health care. Whether your doctor recommends organic or mechanical heart valve replacement, it’s important to follow all instructions for your follow-up care. Biological Heart Valve Biological heart valves are harvested from animal or human donors. The tissue is then neutralized in order to eliminate the chances of the body rejecting the new valve. Biological heart valves are prepared either with or without a mounting frame and implanted in the heart. The main advantage is that biological heart valves may not require the use of blood thinners following surgery. However, biological heart valves may not last as long as their mechanical counterparts. Mechanical Heart Valve Prosthetic heart valves are substitutes designed to fit an individual patient. They are made of steel alloy and other sterile materials. As with biological heart valves, there are no chances of rejection from the body’s immune system. The synthetic materials allow the valve to work within the body without triggering an immune response. Following mechanical heart valve surgery, it is usually necessary for the patient to take blood thinners for the rest of their lives. This is to prevent the formation of blood clots which could result in heart attack, stroke, or even death. Considerations For some patients, the source of the heart valve may be a consideration. We take the concerns of our patients very seriously, whether they are based on medical, moral,...

Exercises for the Fall | Canton, OH

Fall marks a time of cooler weather and holiday comfort foods. It can be difficult to maintain your normal workout routine during the cooler fall months. Schedule changes, changes in weather, and logistical challenges can all impact your workout routine. Fall can be an excellent time to change up an existing routine or start a new one. With a little creativity, exercises can make fall your favorite workout season. Plan Ahead Fall means shorter days and fewer hours of daylight. If your routine involves outdoor activities like jogging, hiking, biking or walking, you’ll want to plan ahead to take advantage of the dwindling daylight hours. Consider crockpot cooking, for example, to reduce your meal preparation time. Invest some time on the weekend, cooking meals that can be prepared ahead and frozen, to allow for more time out of doors during daylight hours. Layer, Layer, Layer When the temperatures begin to drop, being outside can become uncomfortably cool. Exercise, however, raises the body’s temperature. When you’re planning your fall workouts, wear your clothing in layers that can be removed as you warm up. Choose lightweight cotton and other breathable fabrics that wick perspiration away from the skin. Effective Exercises for the Fall Get creative with your exercise routine. Change up your regular routine by indulging in varying exercises. Try biking, walking, and jogging. If none of those appeals to you, consider engaging in new activities. Maybe you’ve always wanted to try dancing. Sign up for lessons. Join a softball team. Organize a neighborhood soccer league. Go to the park and throw the Frisbee around with your kids. The activity doesn’t matter, as...

Tips and Tricks for Heartburn

Heartburn that occurs more than twice a week or continues should be assessed by your doctor.  You may be suffering from acid reflux. The lower esophageal sphincter is the muscle at the upper entrance to your stomach, which prevents stomach acids from making their way back up into the esophagus. If the muscle becomes damaged or stretched, painful symptoms can result. You may need prescription medications or other interventions to address acid reflux. If you suffer from occasional heartburn, there are some tricks you can try to stave off the burning and get back to your normal activities. Sleep Position Matters Sleeping on your left side has been shown to reduce nighttime heartburn symptoms. This position seems to direct stomach acids down and away from the esophagus. For persistent heartburn, try sleeping with your upper body slightly elevated, to help keep acids down where they belong.  Be sure to get enough sleep. A lack of sleep is hard on your body in many ways and may contribute to symptoms. How Eating Habits Contribute To Heartburn If you suffer from frequent or severe heartburn, your eating habits may be contributing to your symptoms. Avoid alcohol, greasy, heavy, and spicy foods, and stimulants such as chocolate and coffee. Ironically, peppermint, often recommended as a remedy for upset stomachs, can aggravate heartburn. Avoid acidic foods like tomatoes and sauce. Try breaking up your food intake over the course of the day, eating several smaller meals rather than one large one, and limit your intake of spices, citrus, and acidic foods, and fatty or heavy foods. Lose Weight and Stop Smoking Even a small to...

Heart-Healthy Desserts for the Fall

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, many of us are looking forward to desserts, along with gathering with family and friends. It can be more difficult to maintain a heart-healthy diet, with so many rich and varied desserts on the table. With a few adjustments, however, you can enjoy your favorite recipes without loading your plate with high-fat foods. Here are some recipe ideas that will help you eat heart-healthy this Fall. Sweet Potato Pie Mix 1 cup of all-purpose flour, ½ cup of whole wheat flour, 2 teaspoons of sugar, ½ teaspoon of salt, 1 half cup of butter substitute, and 4-5 tablespoons of ice water to create the crust. Sift the dry ingredients, then cut the butter substitute in with a pastry cutter. Mix in the water as needed to form dough before rolling out the crust. Cut two medium, peeled sweet potatoes into chunks. Boil until fork tender, and drain. Blend the sweet potatoes together with ½ cup coconut milk, 2 eggs, ½ teaspoon of nutmeg, ½ teaspoon of cinnamon, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, ½ cup maple syrup, 1 cup granulated sugar, 2 teaspoons of lemon juice, and a pinch of salt. Roll the dough out into a 1/8 inch crust, and lay in a pie plate. Pour the filling into the crust, and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 45-50 minutes. Sugar Plums These sweet, spicy treats are more than a line in a poem and are loaded with antioxidants. In a food processor, combine ½ cup prunes, 1/3 cup dried apricots, and process until well blended. Add 2/3 cup shelled walnuts, ¼ cup dried...