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....

General Thoracic Diseases

General Thoracic Diseases General thoracic diseases are those that affect the lungs, esophagus, or chest. Specialists in thoracic disease treat these diseases. The Society of Thoracic Surgeons defines the list of diseases and regulates surgeons that specialize in this area of medicine. If you or a loved one is suffering from one of these diseases, a specialist may be able to provide life-saving care. Thoracic Diseases Thoracic diseases are those centered in the upper chest. These include lung and esophageal cancers, gastroesophageal reflux disease, Barretts Esophagus, tumors in the chest wall or mediastinal tumors that occur in the chest cavity. Also included are achalasia and esophageal motility disorders, which affect the muscles of the esophagus and make it difficult to swallow, and pleural disease.   General Thoracic Disease These diseases have one thing in common- they all affect the chest, esophageal, and heart and lungs. A diagnosis that affects such critical structures of the body can be terrifying. Fortunately, a qualified surgeon can help you understand what you’re facing as well as the various treatment options. Don’t let thoracic disease steal your peace of mind or reduce your quality of life. Thoracic Disease Treatment Dr. Ciuffo is dedicated to helping you understand your thoracic disease and to choose the treatment that’s best for you or your loved one. Minimally invasive, bloodless heart surgery may provide you with a solution even if your condition has been deemed inoperable by other surgeons. Don’t be afraid to seek a second opinion on your thoracic disease treatment. Dr. Ciuffo’s techniques have helped many patients live a full life. Call for a consultation...

Inoperable Diagnosis? Get a Second Opinion

Inoperable Diagnosis? Get a Second Opinion Many patients come to us for a second opinion after receiving an inoperable diagnosis. Inoperable heart surgery may be made possible by new and advanced techniques. Don’t hesitate to seek a second opinion. Dr. Ciuffo may be able to help when other doctors have decided the risks are too high. Inoperable Heart Surgery Many patients are diagnosed as high risk because of factors like age, frailty, or other diseases. Some patients with factors prohibiting heart surgery can receive successful life-saving procedures with minimally invasive techniques. High-risk patients should seek a second opinion on their inoperable heart surgery diagnosis. It’s impossible to say whether minimally invasive surgery is an option for you without a full examination and diagnosis, but the chances are good that minimally invasive techniques can help you or a loved one.   Inoperable Diagnosis An inoperable diagnosis is often based on the doctor’s opinion of the patient’s ability to handle the shock of traditional heart surgery. Traditional surgery often results in broken ribs and massive incisions that take weeks or months to completely heal. With the shock of the invasion of the body, combined with the risks of infection, traditional heart surgery is extremely difficult for even healthy patients. If age, other diseases, or frailty are factored in, it may seem like an inoperable diagnosis is sound. However, with minimally invasive techniques, the risks are significantly reduced. Second Opinion Don’t be afraid to question the doctor who has given you a diagnosis. Ask why the cardiologist believes the diagnosis is “inoperable,” and have them write down their answers. Ask what the...

Options for Jehovah’s Witnesses

Bloodless Options for Jehovah’s Witnesses Bloodless options make Jehovah’s Witness heart surgery possible. Dr. Ciuffo’s minimally invasive techniques aren’t just safer, they respect your religious views. Heart issues requiring surgery can sound like a death sentence to a Jehovah’s Witness. Fortunately, bloodless options are available that do not require you to accept blood transfusions. Not only are these options beneficial to the immune system, they adhere to the beliefs held by many faithful people from around the world.  Religious Views Jehovah’s Witnesses and others do not believe in accepting blood transfusions during surgery. This can pose a real problem for a surgeon, but Dr. Ciuffo has found ways to mitigate the need for additional blood during surgery. Blood transfusions can cause a shock to the already weakened system. Avoiding transfusions is beneficial to the immune system as well as respectful of religious views. Bloodless Options There are several bloodless options for heart surgery. Some of the techniques Dr. Ciuffo uses include: Extra corporeal circulation– a technique which keeps the blood in circulation at all times. Beating heart surgery – this technique helps stop bleeding after surgery. Blood salvage– By collecting, filtering, and reusing the patient’s own blood, the need for a transfusion is eliminated. Cell saving, recycling and rinsing – contributes to saving the patient’s blood Synthetic topical hemostatic products– are not derived from blood and help control bleeding during surgery Hypervolemic hemodilution– dilutes the blood supply during surgery Hypotensive anesthesia– reduces bleeding during surgery Intra-operative electro-cautery– minimizes blood loss during the surgery itself. Jehovah’s Witnesses Heart Surgery For Jehovah’s Witnesses heart surgery can present some unique challenges. Dr....