All About Mechanical Heart Valves

What is a Mechanical Heart Valve? A mechanical heart valve functions similarly to a tissue valve. Its purpose is to allow blood to flow through the heart by opening and closing with each heartbeat, just like a healthy heart valve. While tissue valves are made from animal tissue such as pig or cow, mechanical valves utilize materials such as pyrolytic carbon, titanium coated with pyrolytic carbon, Teflon, polyester, or dacron, depending on the specific valve and component of the valve. This makes mechanical heart valves more durable than tissue heart valves. Advantages of a Mechanical Heart Valve Because of their durability, mechanical heart valves are much longer lasting than tissue valves, which means you most likely won’t need a replacement further down the line. This isn’t the case with tissue valves, which typically need replacing after 10 to 18 years. It’s also important to consider which heart valve needs replacing. If the mitral valve (valve responsible for closing off the upper left chamber of the heart) requires a replacement, a mechanical heart valve is said to last until age 70. However, if it’s the aortic valve (valve that closes off the lower left heart chamber) that requires a replacement, mechanical heart valves are not as effective beyond age 55. Risks of a Mechanical Heart Valve One of the biggest risks of mechanical heart valves is the formation of blood clots on and around the valve. Sometimes, clots formed on the valve itself lead to the malfunctioning of the mechanical valve. Other times, these blood clots can break off and make their way to the brain, causing strokes. To prevent...

Pulmonary Adhesion and Scar Tissue

Pulmonary Adhesion A pulmonary adhesion may indicate damage from an injury or disease. Scar tissue builds up where damage has occurred. Pulmonary adhesion treatment may help to reduce pain and difficulty. Since pulmonary adhesion may become cancerous, treatment is critical. Scar tissue within the lungs may be caused by repeated bouts of bronchitis or pneumonia. Over time, the damage from the diseases may cause the lung lining to separate from the muscle tissue surrounding the chest cavity, a painful condition known as pleurisy. Scar Tissue The scarring in the lungs make it difficult for the organs to do their important work. Scar tissue buildup can block the airflow and prevent the normal functioning of the lungs. If you suffer from difficulty breathing or persistent chest pain, it is best to talk to your doctor right away.The best way for your doctor to determine a course of treatment is for him to diagnose the source of the discomfort and difficulty. Pulmonary Adhesion Treatment It is best to seek a physician as soon as you begin to notice abnormalities in breathing or chest pain. Many treatments are most effective when the adhesion is less pronounced. The treatment may include taking biopsies of the affected area to determine the cause of the problems. Adhesions can often be removed laparoscopically, allowing you to avoid invasive surgery. Your doctor is your best source of information and advice when it comes to pulmonary adhesion treatment. Call or visit our website to schedule your visit today. Don’t allow your lung health to...

Signs of Valvular Heart Disease

What are the Signs of Valvular Heart Disease? The symptoms of valvular heart disease may range from subtle to extreme. Rapid weight gain, fever, dizziness, fainting, fatigue, and palpitations may indicate valvular heart disease. Whether the problem is on the mitral or aortic valves, the challenges can create serious problems. What Is Valvular Heart Disease Valvular heart disease is any problem within the heart that affects the valves. The four valves within the heart, the aortic, mitral, tricuspid and pulmonary valves, control the movement of blood around the heart. If one or more of the valves become damaged, it is considered valvular heart disease. What you should Know About Valvular Heart Disease When all of the valves within the heart are functioning normally, the tricuspid mitral valves control the blood flow between the ventricles and atria= the upper and lower parts of your heart. The aortic valve controls blood flow between your heart and the main vessel within the body, the aorta, while the pulmonary valve controls the blood flow from the lungs. The aortic and mitral valves are the most commonly affected by valvular heart disease. Symptoms Of Valvular Heart Disease The symptoms of valvular heart disease may include rapid weight gain, fever, dizziness, fainting, fatigue, and palpitations or chest pain. Even if your symptoms seem mild, it is important to seek a doctor’s advice immediately if you suggest you have any problem with the heart and lungs. If you are experiencing any symptoms of valvular heart disease, particularly if you have a history of heart disease in your personal history or in your family, talk to your...

What are My Options for AFIB Treatment?

Atrial Fibrillation, or AFib, is a condition which causes your heart rate to be irregular or too fast. Treatments for AFib need not be invasive. In fact, Dr. Ciuffo offers several options that avoid the traditional approach of open-heart surgery to treat your atrial fibrillation. Atrial Fibrillation The symptoms of Atrial fibrillation may range from mild to severe. Symptoms may include shortness of breath, heart palpitations, and weakness. Left untreated, AFib may begin to have an impact on your quality of life. The condition itself isn’t life-threatening, but the symptoms can be debilitating in the extreme. Since AFib can have an impact on your ability to exercise and carry out normal everyday tasks, it can cause you to become less fit, in turn putting more strain on your heart and causing other conditions to develop or worsen. AFib The best treatments for AFib will depend upon how long you’ve had the condition, how severely your life is impacted, and the cause of the condition. All the treatments strive to regulate your heart rate, reset the rhythm of the heart, and prevent blood clots. The causes of AFIB are varied and not all are known. High blood pressure, a history of heart attack, congenital defects, abnormal heart valves, coronary artery disease, and an overactive thyroid gland may contribute to the development of AFIB. Treatment Options for AFIB There are several treatment options for AFIB. A consultation with Dr. Ciuffo will be necessary to determine which is the most appropriate to your case. Contact us today to make an appointment for your consultation and begin treatment for your AFIB condition. Dr....

Can a Minithoracotomy Be a Minimally Invasive Procedure?

Can a Minithoracotomy Be a Minimally Invasive Procedure? A traditional thoracotomy is a procedure that allows a surgeon to access the chest cavity. When performing a minithoracotomy as a minimally invasive procedure, Dr. Ciuffo is able to reduce risk and recovery time. Thoracotomy A traditional thoracotomy involves an incision into the pleural space of the chest. It is often performed using spreaders to separate the ribs and breastbone, which may result in broken bones. The trauma of the surgery to the body makes it a difficult one for those with compromised immune systems or other medical conditions to undergo. This may limit the options for elderly or immune-challenged patients. A thoracotomy procedure can lead to weeks of recovery following heart surgery.   Minithoracotomy Dr. Ciuffo takes a different approach to heart surgery. When performing a minithoracotomy, he does not employ the use of rib spreaders or other equipment that leads to broken bones or a large incision. The incision is much smaller and in women may even be hidden beneath the fold of the breast. The surgical incision is made through the thin layer of muscle between the ribs. This minimally invasive minithoracotomy provides less risk for infection and a shorter healing time. It may be appropriate for patients who require aortic, tricuspid, mitral, aortic valve surgery, atrial myxoma, and atrial septal defect (ASD) repairs. Minimally Invasive Procedure Once the minimally invasive procedure is complete, the scar will be barely visible below the neck and away from the midline, near the side of the chest. Patients may resume normal activities soon after the procedure, depending upon their own comfort...

Importance of Maintaining A Healthy Weight

Importance of Maintaining A Healthy Weight The importance of maintaining a healthy weight to a heart patient can’t be overstated. The heart is the hardest-working muscle in the body. Weight has a direct effect on the amount of work the heart has to do. Losing even just a few pounds can have a strong positive impact on your overall health. Healthy Weight Several factors determine a healthy weight. Maintaining a healthy weight is critical to avoiding heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and respiratory problems. In general, obesity is considered having too much body fat, which places extra pressure on your arteries, bones, and nerves, making it difficult for your body to function properly. Fitness is the most important key to maintaining a healthy body weight. Walking and other regular exercises is a great place to start working toward maintaining a healthy body weight.   Body Mass Index Your Body Mass Index, often called a BMI, is one measurement of your body fat compared to the overall mass of your body. If your BMI is over 30, you are considered obese. A higher BMI puts you at risk for the conditions associated with obesity. You should talk to your doctor about your overall health and the best ways to work toward achieving and maintaining your ideal weight. Lifestyle, diet, and exercise will all factor into the conversation. Obesity risks Obesity not only puts an extra strain on your joints and other parts of your body; it’s hard on your heart. The harder your heart has to work to push your blood around your body, the more strain it is under....