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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...

All About LIMA LAD

LIMA LAD is a life-saving procedure for your heart. What LIMA LAD does is open your heart’s blood flow by involving two different arterys. These are the left internal mammary artery and the left anterior descending artery, or LIMA LAD for short. This minimally invasive procedure results in a tiny scar that hides under the fold in your breast. What Do The LIMA LAD Organs Do? Your LAD is meant for being able to carry your blood around the heart. It does this by traveling between your right ventricle at the front of your heart and the left as well. When blocked, blood can’t make its way to its appropriate destination. When this happens, it means your heart struggles as well. The LIMA, on the other hand, is on the heart’s left side. When blockages settle in the vessels around your heart due to heart disease, it puts a strain on your heart. That, in turn, will keep your heart from pumping the way that it should. When you can receive a heart surgery that is both bloodless and invasive on a minimal level, it will create a new route for your blood to flow. A catheter will be placed into the area of the blockage, and it has a balloon tip. The balloon is inflated to stretch the vessel gently. When it does this, it will release the blockage.   What Benefit Do We Receive from a Minimally Invasive Surgery? When you have minimally invasive surgery, particularly a bloodless one, the procedure is low impact and one of the best options. With these new techniques being adopted, the...

Bloodless Heart Surgery Recovery

Heart surgery is one of the most sophisticated and complex types of surgery. It is demanding and requires an excellent team of physicians, assistants, and support personnel. Minimally invasive heart surgery significantly decreases the amount of trauma and damage to the patient and makes for a much easier recovery. What is Bloodless Heart Surgery? Related to advances in heart surgery, bloodless surgery has made great strides since the 1990s. Instead of using transfusions to replace blood lost during surgery, great efforts are made to reduce bleeding during surgery and harmonic scalpels clot blood while cutting tissue. Hemostatics stop bleeding before, during, and after surgery. Bleeding vessels can be sealed by an argon beam coagulator. Also, what blood is lost during the procedure is collected and returned to the patient’s circulatory system. Bloodless surgery avoids complications of transfusion, including disease (negligible risk), depression of immune system function, allergic reaction to additives in stored blood, and inflammatory response. Avoiding transfusions can make for a better recovery after heart surgery. Combining minimal blood loss with minimally invasive heart surgery can give excellent results for recovery, even with elderly or frail patients, who would have been a poor risk with earlier kinds of techniques. Still, the doctor’s skill and experience are important factors in how well the surgery, and the recovery, go. Does This Surgery Cause Scarring? Usually, minimally invasive heart surgery is done with a two-inch incision between the ribs. So, unlike earlier versions of heart surgery, bones do not have to be broken to gain access to the heart. Given time after surgery, the scar can fade to where it is...

Coronary Bypass Surgery: Past, Present, and Future

Although some have described cardiac surgery as a dying specialty, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Cardiac surgery today is seeing astronomical growth with innovations in minimally invasive procedures. Therefore, cardiac surgery is not sliding into obsolescence; it’s simply becoming safer and less invasive. One area of cardiac surgery – coronary artery bypass – has seen significant growth in the past decade. From minimally invasive procedures to hybrid revascularization, coronary bypass surgery is becoming increasingly safer and more effective. It is also becoming far less painful and time-consuming than open-heart coronary artery bypass graft surgery (CABG). A Bit of History  In the 1950s, the advent of cardiopulmonary bypass was revolutionary for the field of cardiac surgery. The first successful open heart surgery utilizing a heart-lung machine was performed in 1953. The heart-lung machine – also known as a “pump” – allows for the heart to be stopped during surgery, as it circulates and oxygenates blood for the surgeon to work on a still heart that is empty of blood. However, what seemed to be an unending supply of patients contributed to what may have been innovative complacency. In due time, this self-assurance was shattered by the advent of percutaneous coronary intervention (non-surgical procedures that improve cardiac blood flow). These procedures were able to provide the same effects as CABG and greatly reduced the volume of coronary artery bypass surgeries. It also resulted in a decline in trainees in the field. These advances have been largely consumer-driven by a society that’s always on the go, so less invasive procedures mean faster recovery times. Coronary Bypass Surgery Today  While the...

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...