Signs You Need To Get Your Heart Checked

Heart disease is sometimes referred to as a “silent killer.” It earns this grim reputation because it’s easy to ignore the signs of a problem until there’s permanent damage, or worse. By understanding the signs of potential trouble, you can head off heart problems at the pass and potentially save your own life, or that of a loved one by getting your heart checked out. Your Overall Health If you are age 60 or older, are even slightly overweight, or are diabetic, regular heart checkups should be routine. Age, excess weight, and systemic malfunction can put serious strain on your heart. Regular checkups can help pinpoint any problems early, so your doctor can help you decide upon an appropriate course of treatment. Chest Pain If you’re experiencing chest pain, tightness, or pressure, or experience shortness of breath not associated with vigorous exercise, it may be time to schedule an appointment with your cardiologist to get your heart checked out. Tingling, pressure, nausea, cold sweats, and chest pain may be signs of a heart attack. If you experience those symptoms, don’t hesitate; call for medical help immediately. Pain Below the Chest While people commonly associate chest pain with the heart, the pain is not always located in the chest area. Nausea, indigestion, heartburn, or stomach pain may also point to a problem with the heart. If you experience what feels like indigestion or nausea, especially if you haven’t recently eaten anything spicy or rich, you may need to have your heart checked out. Fatigue Feeling tired all the time, run down, dragging, waking up feeling as if you haven’t had...

When Should You Get A Second Cardiologist Opinion? | Canton, OH

Being diagnosed with a heart condition can be a frightening experience. You rely upon your cardiologist’s expertise and experience to help you get and stay healthy. What if your doctor is recommending treatments you’re uncomfortable with, or tells you certain treatments are unadvisable because of your condition? It may be time to seek a second opinion. Your Cardiologist Told You Heart is Too Weak for Surgery- Get Second Opinion This is a common conundrum for heart patients. They need surgery- to insert a stent, remove a blockage, or repair other damage. Your cardiologist knows that the surgery is your best option for living a longer, healthier life, but says that your heart is too weak to withstand traditional heart surgery. At this point, you may feel trapped and unable to get the treatment you need. Don’t let this feeling get you down. Minimally invasive bloodless heart surgery may be a viable option. Since the procedures we use aren’t as traumatizing to the body as traditional surgery, patients are better able to tolerate the surgery. Medication Management If your cardiologist prescribes numerous medications and doesn’t take the time to carefully explain the treatment goals associated with each one, it may be time to invite an evaluation of your case by a second doctor. All doctors have extensive training. All doctors also have personal opinions about which treatments are best under specific conditions. While your doctor might be quite competent and knowledgeable, it never hurts to get a second opinion when it comes to your heart health. You Want a More Holistic Approach to Your Heart Health If medication management and medical...

Types of Mechanical Heart Valves | Dr. Ciuffo

In 1961 the first heart replacement valve was successfully implanted. The original ball-and-cage form is no longer being implanted today, but there are many living patients who had the design implanted. Since the first original mechanical heart valve, over 80 models have been developed to match various patient needs. Of those models, there are three basic types in use today. Bileaflet- A Mechanical Heart Valve   Bileaflet valves are made up of a rigid ring with two hinged semi-circle discs made of bio-neutral, extremely durable materials. The main advantage to this and other types of mechanical heart valves is that it lasts the patient’s lifetime. The valve normally does not wear out or malfunction, reducing the likelihood that the patient will need another operation later to replace a worn-out valve. The con of mechanical valves is that blood tends to clot around the openings, requiring the use of blood thinners for the lifetime of the patient. Luckily the mechanical heart valves have excellent blood flow and few complications. Monoleaflet Like the bileaflet valve, the monoleaflet valve is designed from durable, bio-neutral materials. The monoleaflet valve is composed of a single disc that rotates on a central metal strut. The disc rotates far enough to create openings for the blood to flow through, regulating the pressure and flow. Like the bileaflet valve, monoleaflet implants require the use of blood thinners for the life of the patient, to prevent clots from forming. Bioprosthetic Valve The third option is technically not a mechanical heart valve, but rather is adapted from a human or animal donor. The tissue is carefully prepared and treated...

Minimally Invasive Heart Surgery Benefits

Facing heart surgery can be deeply concerning. Any surgery that involves an organ as critical as the heart is risky. Minimally invasive heart surgery benefits include, offering an alternative to traditional surgical techniques which may reduce the risks and the recovery time associated with heart surgery. Not only are the risks associated with traditional procedures reduced, minimally invasive techniques mean that less or no donated blood is necessary, easing religious concerns for many. High Risk Heart Surgery If you’ve been told by your medical team that you are not a good candidate for heart surgery because of your condition, minimally invasive heart surgery may provide an alternative. When you come in for your initial consultation, we’ll take a full medical history and preform a thorough medical examination. Even patients who have been told their condition is inoperable may benefit from minimally invasive procedures that reduce blood loss and trauma. With a small incision and by avoiding the broken bones normally associated with opening the chest cavity, minimally invasive surgery provides a shorter recovery time and an option for patients who may otherwise be considered too medically fragile for traditional surgical options. Bloodless Heart Surgery Benefits Dr. Ciuffo has spent much of his career developing and perfecting bloodless heart surgery techniques. His work has helped move the technique forward. He started investigating bloodless and minimally invasive options to assist Jehovah’s Witness congregations, but soon discovered that the techniques are less traumatic and more effective for all heart patients. Avoiding transfusions provides several heart surgery benefits as well. Preparation, precise surgery, and excellent follow-up care come together to provide our patients...

Atrial Septal Defect (ASD) Repair for Babies

Congenital heart problems are challenging for parents and doctors alike. Six babies in every 1,000 are born with atrial septal defects. Fortunately, Dr. Ciuffo’s advanced techniques and technology help reduce the risks of corrective heart surgery in infants. What is Atrial Septal Defect? The human heart is made up of four distinct chambers. Blood enters the chambers and is circulated through the lungs, back out into the body carrying oxygen and other important nutrients. The division between the top two chambers is called the atrial septum. A hole in the septum allows oxygen rich blood entering from the lungs, and oxygen poor blood being sent out to the lungs to mix. This decreases the efficiency with which the heart is able to deliver oxygen rich blood to the body, and sends a higher volume of blood into the lungs. What are the Signs of ASD? A child with ASD may exhibit a number of symptoms. The most well-known symptom is a “whooshing” sound accompanying the heartbeat, sometimes called a “heart murmur.” Other symptoms include poor appetite, failure to grow or thrive, extreme fatigue, difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, and lung infections. Untreated, ASD can lead to arrhythmia and a higher risk for stroke. The earlier treatment is pursued, the more likely the child will live a full and normal life. ASD Repair in Infants While some smaller ASDs may naturally repair themselves over time, others may require surgical intervention. In cases which require surgery, there are a few options. The catheter method involves inserting a long, flexible tube under general anesthesia through the groin area. The tube is...

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...