Dr. Giovanni B Ciuffo


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...

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...

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...

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...