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Heart Surgery for the Elderly

One of the scariest experiences a person can go through is being told that they have a serious heart issue that needs to be addressed with surgery. The risks for elderly heart surgery can be great, and not long ago, there wasn’t a wide variety of options available when it came to different procedures and techniques. When faced with such news, we begin to wonder if we may be facing the end of our lives. We may worry that, even with a successful procedure, the quality of our lives might still drop. But now, thanks to surgeons like Dr. Giovanni Ciuffo and his team of experts, there are minimally invasive, bloodless heart surgery alternatives to the conventional methods. How It All Began Dr. Ciuffo has dedicated his entire medical career to studying and developing new and precise techniques to minimize the risks, pain, recovery time, and intrusiveness of heart and cardiovascular procedures. He first began to employ his bloodless heart surgery techniques in the 90s, as a means of providing alternative options to the Jehovah Witness communities of Pittsburgh, and then later in New York. The results of his hard work and time invested are clear in the numerous medical studies and reviews which have confirmed the effectiveness of his bloodless heart surgery methods, as well as the countless patient testimonials praising his efforts and thanking him for saving their lives. What the Elderly Can Expect Before the Procedure Before any medical procedure such as this can be performed, a consultation followed by a thorough examination must take place first. This is necessary not only to make sure the...

Do You Have to Diet Before or After Heart Surgery?

Heart surgery is one of the most critical types of operations that can be done on the human body, and it is usually only pursued if other, less aggressive treatments have been exhausted. To provide the optimum conditions for a successful procedure, preoperative and postoperative guidelines must be observed. One of those guidelines pertains to the patient’s diet. What to Eat Leading up to Surgery? Simply put, one of the biggest problems complicating heart surgery is obesity. The more overweight a patient is, the more difficult the recovery will be. Diets designed to help prepare a person for heart surgery, then, are often focused on losing weight. Time is of the essence, and the more time before surgery the patient has to focus on this goal, the better. If the patient has at least two weeks before heart surgery, they might benefit from emphasizing fruits, vegetables, low-fat protein, whole grains, and low sodium in their diet to help lose weight and lower blood pressure as much as possible. The total number of calories per day, on average, to consume pre-heart surgery is fairly low, at 1,200 to 1,800. Diet recommendations include more servings of fruits and vegetables than whole grains, proteins, or healthy fats. Restrictions are suggested for sweets, alcohol, and artificial sweeteners. What to Eat After Surgery? As with the pre-surgery diet, what to eat after surgery often leads to a leaner, heart-healthy diet. Recommended is a diet with extra omega 3 fatty acids, folate, vitamin K, magnesium, and unsaturated fats. On the other hand, it is not recommended that saturated and trans fats, high sodium foods, processed...

The Emotional Side Effects of Open-Heart Surgery

Open heart surgery is one of the most invasive and stressful procedures doctors perform. To expose the heart for major repairs, a long incision in the chest is made, the breast bone is broken, and a heart-lung machine is used to pump blood in place of the heart. All of this places great stress on your body. Open heart surgery is not minimally invasive heart surgery. Living with, and through, the physical effects of open-heart surgery can be daunting. Included are pain at the incision site, muscle pain, or throat pain. If you have chest tubes for drainage, those can also be uncomfortable. Despite the discomfort, post-surgical pain usually disappears after 6 – 8 weeks. However, other kinds of problems can linger? The emotional side effects of open-heart surgery might surprise you.   Personality and Emotional Changes People who have had open heart surgery report mood changes, as do people close to them. Anxiety and depression are the most commonly experienced emotions after heart surgery. Anxiety can be caused, in part, by worries about possible physical aftereffects of the surgery. Keep in mind that full recovery from open heart surgery can take up to one year. Patients who experience depression for more than several weeks after open-heart surgery may have something more than a typical, post-surgical mood change. One way to tell is if a person has difficulty in doing simple, daily tasks, like making their bed, getting and staying properly dressed, or keeping a routine. If an individual was instructed to do certain tasks after the surgery such as exercise, are they doing them? Has the person withdrawn...

What Is a Pulse Deficit?

A pulse deficit is a condition which affects the relationship between the pulse and heart. It can be very dangerous if not treated properly, so understanding what a pulse deficit is important. This is especially true if heart conditions run in the family. There is no need to worry, however. Once you know the symptoms of pulse deficit, it’ll be much easier to treat it appropriately. And, fortunately, there are many treatments for pulse deficit that are easily available. What is a Pulse Deficit? When the heart beats blood through the body, it can be felt as a pulse. This pulse is caused by the vibrations of the blood moving through the arteries. Typically, the pulse rate is in synchronization with the heartbeat. This means that every time the heart beats, there is a pulse rate. However, there are times when the heart beats faster than the pulse rate. When there are fewer pulses than heartbeats, a pulse deficit develops. This sometimes referred to as “irregular heartbeat” or “atypical pulse rate”. Causes of a Pulse Deficit There are many reasons why a pulse deficit may develop including: Heightened states of anxiety Following a period of exercise or other physical activity Situations of extreme or chronic pain Heavy blood loss Bodily Injury Low blood pressure or hypotension Heart disease Heart failure Overactive thyroid gland 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...

Important Vitals You Should Know

How to Check Your Own Vitals The symptoms of heart problems can be subtle, which is why it’s so important to know how to check your own vitals. Knowing what’s average for your body gives you the knowledge you need in case of an emergency. For example, if your normal resting heart rate is 65 BPM, something may be wrong if your BPM is 80. Checking your own vitals takes just minutes and may give early knowledge of any potential problems. Resting Heart Rate To get an accurate picture of your resting heart rate, take your pulse several times over the course of a week. It’s best to take your pulse at the same time each day. Be sure to wait at least two hours after strenuous activity, consuming caffeine, or a stressful event to allow your heart rate to return fully to normal. Sit in a quiet space for several minutes to be sure your heart rate is in its resting state. Place your fingers against the side of your neck or your wrist to locate your pulse. Count the heartbeats for 15 seconds, and multiply that number by four. That will be your resting heart rate. Blood Pressure While blood pressure may not be considered vital, it’s a measurement that should be taken regularly to monitor your overall heart health. Blood pressure monitors are available from your local department or medical supply store quite inexpensively. Like resting heart rate, blood pressure should be taken at the same time each day, at a time when you can be at rest. Follow the instructions on the blood pressure monitor...

What is Pulse Deficit?

What is a Pulse Deficit? The concept of a pulse deficit can be both confusing and frightening if you’re not a member of the medical community, but it has a direct bearing on the health of your heart and can be life threatening if not treated properly and allowed to get worse. It sounds confusing, but is quite simple. When your heart beats, it sends blood through the arteries of your body. This produces a noticeable pulse which can be felt. Normally these two events are in synch, but it is when they are not in synch, the pulse and the beat of your heart, that problems can arise. What Causes a Pulse Deficit? There are several causes for a pulse deficit, some of which are not necessarily indicators of heart disease, such as heavy exercise. Other causes of a pulse deficit are not so innocent, however, and can include low blood pressure, periods of extreme anxiety or stress, extended periods of chronic pain, and bodily injury or trauma, including blood loss. What happens when there is a pulse deficit is that when the heart beats, but there is no pulse of blood that comes after. This creates a pulse deficit. How is it Treated? Observing that someone has a pulse deficit is fairly straightforward. A doctor or nurse listens to your chest with a stethoscope and notes the heartbeat, but when they attempt to take your pulse, do not notice the same number of pulse beats. The symptoms of pulse deficit include a noticeably decreased resting heart rate and a long-term consistent history of having a different resting...