Heart Health


A Deep Dive into Aortic Valve Replacement

A normal functioning aortic valve has three leaflets, usually referred to as cusps, and is positioned at the end of the left ventricle. This valve is the main pump that delivers oxygenated blood to the entire body. An aortic valve replacement is required if someone suffers from Aortic Valve Stenosis or Aortic Valve Insufficiency. These two issues can cause a significant number of problems and can be life threatening. Understanding the components that are involved in an aortic valve replacement is important, especially if you are considering one. When to Consider Aortic Valve Replacement As already mentioned, there are two reasons as to why someone would need an aortic valve replacement. When suffering from aortic stenosis, the valve is narrow, causing it to be harder for the blood to go through. Basically, the muscle in the heart begins to thicken, causing a hissing sound, which is oftentimes confused with a murmur. With aortic valve insufficiency, the valve tends to “leak” when it is closed. This make the heart work twice as hard to make the blood flow correctly and into the right direction. To repair this, doctors have created a minimally invasive technique that is much safer and easier on patients.   What to Consider Aortic Valve Replacement Since the breastbone is not being cut into, this replacement procedure is called transcatheter aortic valve replacement, which allows for healing to begin and end much faster. Your doctor will make a small, approximately two inch, incision between the third and fourth rib bone on the right side of the body. From this point, your doctor can securely place the new...

Exercise and Improving Heart Health

Exercise isn’t just for achieving big muscles. Exercise impacts heart health in a very important and fundamental way. To keep your heart healthy, you can strengthen the heart muscle by doing exercises. Relatedly, exercises for your heart will help lower your blood pressure. Heart exercise is something that needs to become as regular, and as unconscious, as breathing. Best Exercises of the Heart Heart exercises can be tailored to individual situations and many factors are taken into consideration before picking the best one. These factors include medical history, lifestyle, abilities, and preferences. If you are in poor shape, the exercise program will take that into account. It may be that your first exercise routine is walking if that is your current limit. After time, it can proceed to jogging and maybe even running. Even more strenuous activities, like jumping rope or weightlifting, can be added. The optimal time to perform an exercise is 30 minutes per session at least five days a week. Exercise Impacts on Heart To complement the best exercise for your heart, stretching and warming up are good activities to adopt. They prepare your muscles for exercise and reduce injury and muscle strain. Generally, the best exercises for the heart are aerobic exercises. The larger muscle groups are used so your heart rate will be quickly elevated. Because of this, you need to consult with a physician about your target (or safe maximum) heart rate. One way to informally gauge whether or not your exercise routine is too strenuous is if you are able to hold a conversation while exercising. If not, you might want to...

Heart Surgeons and Minimally Invasive Heart Surgery

Minimally invasive heart surgeons perform procedures that cause less trauma and pain, resulting in quicker recovery times compared to open-heart surgery. These surgeons perform procedures using small incisions in your chest as a safer alternative to open-heart surgery. Rather than having to cut through your breastbone, minimally invasive heart surgeon qualifications allow them to operate between the ribs, resulting in less pain and faster recovery time. In fact, surgeons sometimes have a better view of certain areas of the heart than with open-heart surgery. The vast majority of minimally invasive procedures don’t require the surgeon to stop your heart. How do I know if I’m a good candidate for a minimally invasive heart procedure? Depending on various personal factors, minimally invasive surgery might be the perfect option for you. Other benefits may include: Lower risk of infections Less blood loss Reduced pain and trauma Shorter hospital or clinic stay Smaller and less noticeable scars It’s also very important that your minimally invasive surgeon strives for cohesion and clear, open communication within his team. It’s vital that the team knows your specific needs and whether or not minimally invasive surgery is for you. In addition, you want your heart specialists to exhibit those same characteristics with all your other healthcare providers. Other Preparation? Make sure you’ve had a recent physical examination, with a complete review of your medical history and blood analysis. There is a chance you may have to get your procedure done at a medical center. This decision is based on your physicians’ and specialists’ evaluation of your condition. What kind of minimally invasive heart procedures are available?...

Improving Your Heart Health in 2019

Improving your heart health in 2019 means seeking healthy habits for your heart, and taking steps to reduce high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Dr. Cuiffo is here to help you start 2019 out right. When you come in for your check-up, Dr. Ciuffo will assist you in discovering the healthy habits that will improve your heart health in 2019. Healthy Habits for your Heart Healthy habits for your heart begin with what you eat. Choosing more vegetables and whole grains, lean meats, and limiting your intake of fats, sugars, and sodium, is an excellent place to start. A healthy heart diet does not mean giving up favorites or flavors. It simply means making better choices and moderation. Indulge in more fresh fruits and vegetables, and load your plate with brightly colored, antioxidant-rich foods. Indulge in a fine filet of fish, baked with a flavorful dry rub or fried in heart-friendly olive oil, and plate it with brightly colored vegetables, following the meal with a dessert of fresh fruit. There are ways to enjoy your favorite comfort foods without overloading your diet with carbs, sodium, and heavy fats. Dr. Ciuffo will be happy to help you develop a diet plan that works for you. Other healthy habits for your heart include getting enough sleep, reducing stress, and developing a fitness program that fits into your lifestyle. Talk to Dr. Ciuffo about the changes you can make to your lifestyle to improve your heart health. High Blood Pressure High blood pressure is one of the most difficult challenges for your heart to overcome. When you lower your blood pressure, you...

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...