Minimally Invasive Heart Surgeons: How to Choose

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 know 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?...

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...

Benefits of a Low Sodium Diet

Benefits of a Low Sodium Diet Anyone who has a family history of hypertension has heard the term “low sodium diet.” It sounds like a bland way of eating that deprives the eater of flavor and interest in food, but it doesn’t have to be that way. As Americans, we consume a constant stream of processed foods, but given the chance, it’s possible to retrain ourselves to enjoy a wider range of flavors. Low Sodium Diet While at first, the idea of reducing one’s salt intake may imply the loss of flavor, the exact opposite is true. In processed foods, salt is used to mask the flavor of chemicals and to replace the natural flavors lost in the cooking and preservative processes. When salt is reduced in our diets, those flavors have a chance to emerge, and our tastes adjust to enjoy the natural flavors in foods once again. Choosing a low-sodium diet isn’t just better for your overall health, it opens up new vistas of enjoyment in your eating that will make you fall in love with food again. Blood Pressure The American Heart Association has known for decades that a diet high in sodium content is one of the factors that contributes to hypertension, a leading cause of heart disease. High blood pressure puts a strain on the heart and vascular system and can cause irreversible damage. Getting blood pressure under control takes more than just a change in the diet. A fitness routine and increased activity level, as well as reducing overall stress and engaging in more enjoyable activities like hobbies will help reduce blood pressure...

What is a Heart Murmur and What are the Signs?

What is a Heart Murmur and What are the Signs? A heart murmur is an unusual sound in the heartbeat’s cycle that’s caused by blood moving improperly through the valve system of the heart. The normal “lub-dub” sound that can be heard through a stethoscope is the sound of the heart valves opening and closing as they guide the blood through the heart during normal circulation. A murmur occurs when the valves aren’t doing their jobs properly and blood is flowing backward through the heart instead of following the normal pathways. Symptoms A heart murmur can cause poor circulation, which may result in cold or bluish extremities, especially the fingertips, toes, and lips. A victim may also experience swelling and weight gain, heavy sweating with minimal exertion, dizziness and fainting, chest pain, chronic cough, or shortness of breath. In young children and infants, symptoms may also include a poor appetite and a failure to grow normally. Any of these symptoms should be a sign that it’s time to talk to your doctor about underlying causes for your symptoms. Types of Heart Murmurs There are two types of heart murmurs; “innocent” and “abnormal.” An innocent heart murmur is caused by blood flowing more rapidly than normal through the heart. This can be caused by physical activity, pregnancy, fever, anemia, and even rapid growth phases during development. Innocent heart murmurs may disappear over time or stay with the patient their entire lives without causing further complications. Abnormal heart murmurs may be caused by a variety of reasons, like disease, surgery, trauma, congenital heart problems,  or other medical conditions, and are more...