Inoperable Heart Disease – Tips to Find a Solution

Inoperable Heart Disease-  Tips For Finding Solutions A diagnosis of inoperable heart disease can be discouraging. A heart condition may be difficult to live with. Minimally invasive bloodless heart surgery may offer options that may not be possible with traditional methods. The treatment options available are dependent upon a number of conditions, including both your own physical health and the scope of experience of the doctors dealing with your case. Inoperable Heart Disease Each patient’s case is decided individually. There are steps you’ll need to take when facing a diagnosis of inoperable heart disease. It’s important not to panic or lose hope. Even if your case isn’t a good candidate for surgical options, there are many treatments available that can extend and improve the quality of your life.  Ask questions. Request that the medical doctor in charge of your case and your surgeon explain exactly why your case is considered “inoperable.” Be sure to write down the details of their answers.  Obtain copies of all of your diagnostic records, including imaging- CAT scans, catheterizations, echocardiograms, EKG and other reports.  Gather copies of all the reports pertinent to your case, including blood test and other results. Heart Disease Heart disease is not a completely-understood condition. There are many aspects that doctors have to make their best educated and trained guesses about the potential outcomes of treatment options. While you’re gathering your records, reach out for a second opinion.  Seek a second opinion. Gather your information and bring it to the new doctor, so that they may evaluate your case fully and to avoid repeating expensive testing.  Ask your doctor to...

What is Vascular Surgery?

What is Vascular Surgery? What is vascular surgery? When we try to define vascular surgery, it’s important to remember that “vascular” means anything relating to the systems that carry the blood through the body. Therefore, the vascular surgeon definition relates to any medical professional that carries out surgery relating to the heart and blood vessels. A vascular surgeon is a highly-trained, highly specialized surgeon who has experience dealing with the vascular and related systems. What does a Vascular Surgeon Do? Vascular surgeons don’t just carry out surgery. They perform all sorts of procedures related to heart and vascular health, including prescribing medications and treatment plans that do not involve surgery. Often, cardio-vascular problems can be treated through medication, diet, and exercise. Surgery should be considered a last option, to be considered only if truly necessary. Your vascular surgeon will work with you to avoid the need for surgery if at all possible. What to Expect The exact procedure and preparation for vascular surgery will depend upon the type and location of surgery you’re scheduled to receive. You will be asked to refrain from drinking alcohol, smoking, or using certain prescription drugs. Be sure to talk to your doctor about any home remedies, over the counter medications, or other drugs you may be using. Recovery from Vascular Surgery Recovery may take only days or may take months, depending upon the type of surgery and the location. If you require a heart valve replacement, for example, recovery can take months. It’s important during recovery from vascular surgery to follow your doctor’s instructions carefully. You may need to return slowly to normal...

When Should I worry About Chest Pain?

When Should I worry About Chest Pain? Chest pain can be alarming, since the symptoms of a heart attack are often varied and inconsistent from person to person. When should you go to the hospital for chest pain? If there is any doubt about the cause of the pain, it’s always best to err on the side of safety and visit the ER or call your doctor. What is Thrombosis? A thrombosis definition is simple enough, but there are many conditions related to the diagnosis. Thrombosis is, quite simply, the thickening of the blood within the vessels- commonly known as a blood clot. A clot can slow the flow of blood to a specific area, leading to pain, swelling, and tissue death. It can cause severe damage within the body, even leading to a heart attack. If you suspect you have a blood clot, seek a doctor’s attention immediately. What is Thrombosis Disease? Many conditions can cause thrombosis, disease of the vascular system, heart, and other systems can all contribute to excessive clotting. A lack of movement or poor circulation can also lead to thrombosis. When the blood coagulates inside of a vein, the resulting clot restricts or stops blood flow, leading to further damage and sometimes aggravating already-existing conditions. Trauma, injury, disease, illness, lack of movement and circulatory issues can all contribute to thrombosis. Deep Vein Thrombosis Deep vein thrombosis is a clot that has become lodged in one of the deep veins in the body, usually the legs. The result can be redness, pain, swelling, weakness, nausea, and the clot can break loose and travel to the...

What is Thoracic Surgery Recovery Like?

What is Thoracic Surgery Recovery Like? What is thoracic surgery?  Any surgery that is performed with an incision that enters through the chest is considered thoracic surgery, including open heart surgery. Recovering from thoracic surgery is a long process. The recovery process will depend upon the exact type of surgery you have, the placement and size of the incision, the condition of the individual patient, and the care taken post-surgery. What is Thoracic Surgery? Often referred to as open-heart surgery, thoracic surgery may address a problem with the heart, esophagus, lungs, trachea, aorta, or diaphragm. Open heart surgery poses a significant challenge when it comes to healing. It’s going to take time to get back to feeling your best. It’s common to feel very tired and run down for six to eight weeks following the surgery. Your chest may feel swollen and sore for up to six weeks following the surgery. Most patients who have traditional open heart surgery go home with staples or stitches holding the incision closed while it heals. Most also require drainage tubes to remove excess fluid and air that can build up during surgery. Those tubes will most likely be removed before leaving the hospital. If the tubes remain in place, you’ll be given special instructions for post-surgery care. Minimally Invasive Thoracic Surgery The surgery itself does not have to be an invasive trauma. Minimally invasive, bloodless heart surgery relies upon a much smaller incision and provides a much shorter healing time than traditional open heart surgery. While recovery following any heart surgery is a long and arduous process, it’s important to choose the...

Heart Surgery Scars

Heart Surgery Scars Heart surgery scars are a painful reminder of a long healing process following the trauma of open heart surgery. A sternotomy scar is often large and may remain tender long after the surgery. Surgery is, by nature, an invasive trauma to the body. Scars are the result of the body’s efforts to repair the damage. Why Don’t Scars Go Away? When the dermis, or skin, is damaged, the body does its best to repair the damage. Since the dermis is the first line of defense against invading germs and bacteria, it must be repaired as quickly and efficiently as possible. Therefore, rather than take the time to regrow normal skin, the body resorts to producing large amounts of collagen, a thick, fibrous tissue, producing a scar and protecting the body from invading bacteria. Do the Scars From Open Heart Surgery Go Away? While scars fade over time, a sternotomy scar will never fade entirely. The damage to the dermis and underlying tissue is far too extensive for the body to heal entirely. The scar may remain tender and “tight” for years following the surgery and will never go away. There are steps the patient can take to reduce scarring and help the body heal following surgery, but the open heart surgery scar will always remain. Can You Replace Scar Tissue with Normal Tissue? It is not possible to replace scar tissue. Producing scar tissue and healing the incisions from invasive surgery takes all of the body’s resources. Once the wound is sealed and the body protected from foreign bodies and bacteria, the scar is permanent. It...

Leaking Heart Valves

Leaking Heart Valves Patients living with leaking heart valves have more options than ever. A bio heart valve or mechanical heart valve may be the best option to repair a damaged heart. A leaking heart valve not only puts additional strain on the hardest-working muscle in your body, it can lead to aneurism or separation and further damage to your heart. Mechanical Heart Valve One option patients may be offered is heart valve replacement. A mechanical heart valve has several advantages. Primarily, there is little to no risk of the valve itself being rejected by the body. A mechanical valve may not wear out as quickly as a bovine (harvested from a cow) or porcine (harvested from a pig) heart valve. Patients may, however, require blood thinners when living with a mechanical heart valve. How Long Do Pig Valves Last in Humans? The answer varies. The valves last an average of seven to ten years in patients over 65. Conditions affecting the metabolism of calcium in the body, especially in children and young adults, increase the chances and the speed of failure of a bio heart valve. Bio Heart Valve A bio heart valve, which is harvested from either a cow or pig heart may be implanted either using a structure called a stent, or may be “stentless.” The likelihood of a bio heart valve failing depends on the individual patient’s condition and a number of other factors.  Your doctor can help you decide which type of valve is right for you when considering bicuspid aortic valve replacement options. Biological Heart Valve Pros and Cons The primary advantage of...