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...

Heart Healthy Foods for the Spring

Heart Healthy Foods for the Spring With the warmer weather, farmers markets and grocery aisles provide more fresh produce and better opportunities to eat fresh foods that are heart-healthy choices. With the influx of barbecue and heavy desserts comes opportunities to acquire fresh fruits and vegetables, so it’s a time to make heart-healthy choices for yourself as the warm months roll in. Nuts Snacking on nuts like almonds, peanuts, and seeds like pumpkin or sunflower seeds can help reduce inflammation, which is one of the markers for heart disease. They also help reduce the risk of blood clots and can help improve the health of the lining of the arteries. Packed with fiber, vitamin E, and protein, nuts are an excellent low-fat snack. Add nuts to dishes to add crunch and flavor, as well as making things like salads more filling and satisfying. Try a handful of walnuts in a crunchy apple salad for a sweet treat that’s not too heavy on sugar. Barley, Oats and Grains Fiber is your heart’s best friend, helping to clean cholesterol from the body’s storage systems and keeping your digestive health on track. Oats and other whole grains provide a slow-burning source of energy and carbohydrates. Unlike highly-processed foods and simple sugars, they don’t create a spike in your blood sugar, which can be hard on your heart. Instead, oats and other whole grains provide a slow, steady release of energy, keeping you feeling full longer and offering your body a longer-lasting source of energy. Fresh Fruits and Vegetables With the onset of spring comes the growing season, and a significant increase in...

5 Heart Healthy Tips- Canton, OH

Keeping your heart healthy is essential if you want prevent or lower your risk of heart disease. With small adjustments to your daily life, you can ensure that your heart and the rest of your body stays healthy. Here are 5 tips to keep your heart healthy: Avoid smoking and tobacco. Cigarettes and tobacco are some of the worst things for your body. In fact, smoking is one of the ways you can get heart disease. Tobacco contains certain chemicals that can cause your arteries to get smaller with all the plague building up inside them. This condition is called atherosclerosis and can cause other problems like heart attacks. Exercise. It’s recommended that you exercise for about half an hour for a majority of the days in the week. Maintaining a regular exercising schedule can do wonders for your risk of heart disease. When you exercise, you should work to get your heart pumping. It doesn’t have to be hard exercise, it just has to be something like walking the dog, doing some chores, or going on a bike ride to get yourself off the couch and moving around. Eat healthy. Diet is essential to maintaining a healthy heart. Lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat foods are a great place to start for food that keeps your risk of heart disease low.  Keep your weight at a healthy level. Excess weight can heighten your risk of heart disease. Not only does it make your heart work harder, but being overweight can also cause other problems like diabetes, high cholesterol or high blood pressure. Get enough rest. Not...