Cardiac Surgery

Cardiology is a branch of medicine dealing with disorders of the heart as well as parts of the circulatory system is also known as cardiac surgery. The field includes medical diagnosis and treatment of congenital heart defects, coronary artery disease, heart failure, valvular heart disease and electrophysiology. Physicians who specialize in this field of medicine are called cardiologists, a speciality of internal medicine. Pediatric cardiologists are paediatricians who specialize in cardiology. Physicians who specialize in cardiac surgery are called cardiothoracic surgeons or cardiac surgeons or cardiologists, a speciality of general surgery.

Although the cardiovascular system is inextricably linked to blood, cardiology is relatively unconcerned with haematology and its diseases. Some obvious exceptions that affect the function of the heart would be blood tests (electrolyte disturbances, troponins), decreased oxygen-carrying capacity (anaemia, hypovolemic shock), and coagulopathies.

What are heart diseases?

Any condition that affects the various parts of the heart belongs to this group of illnesses. They may be congenital(present since birth) or acquired (develops later on in life). Acquired heart disease can be broadly classified into the following.

1 )Coronary artery disease
2) Valvular heart disease
3) Myocardial diseases and Cardiomyopathies
4) Diseases of the conduction system (Arrhythmias)
5) Combination of above

What is a heart attack?

A heart attack occurs when blood clot forms and adheres to the internal lining of the coronary arteries(supplying blood to heart itself) and completely occludes the vessel and resulting in damage to the muscle supplied by that vessel.

Consequences of heart attack:

Heart attack can have disastrous consequences including death, heart failure and fatal arrhythmias.

What are the symptoms of a heart attack?

Severe pain in the centre of the chest(it may be heaviness, burning, choking) often going up to involve either/or jaw, left arm, shoulder blades or back, which lasts for more than 30 mins and is not relieved by rest. However, at the onset of the above symptoms, it is important to take the patient to the hospital as soon as possible and not wait for the 30 mins to lapse.

How do you treat a heart attack?

Time is vital, so it is imperative to take the patient to the hospital as soon as possible to diagnose and treat this fatal albeit curable disease. The most important to achieve flow in the artery which is occluded. This is possible by any of the two means:

1) Thrombolysis: Administration of blood clot removal injections.
2) Emergency angioplasty: mechanically removing the blood clot and achieving an open artery (PAMI-primary
angioplasty in acute Myocardial infarction).

How do we protect ourselves and our near and dear ones from these diseases?
Exercise :

Physical inactivity is an important risk factor for developing heart attacks. Incorporating some form of cardiovascular exercise in our daily routine be it jogging
cycling, swimming or walking on a treadmill is important. In fact, just brisk walking for 30-40 mins a day for about 5 days a week offers protection against heart disease.

Avoid unhealthy habits:

Avoid smoking at all costs. In our day-to-day clinical practice, most of us interventional cardiologists have seen very young patients with heart attacks and the common underlying factor in a lot of these patients is smoking. If you are overweight please lose weight because truncal obesity is an important modifiable risk factor. Avoid tobacco use and excessive alcohol consumption.

Regular health checkups:

Regular health checkups of your blood pressure, blood cholesterol levels, blood sugar levels and ECG is extremely important and may go a long way in early detection of heart problems and avoiding eventual catastrophic events. In fact, controlling your blood sugar and blood pressure will keep you healthy longer and prevent all their eventual complications. We have now several non-invasive tests available including CST (stress test), Myocardial SPECT (perfusion imaging) and CT Coronary angiography available for early detection of blockages. Treating these eventually will decrease the morbidity and mortality associated with these diseases.

Controllable Risk Factors :
  • Cigarette Smoking
  • Being Overweight by 30%
  • Hypertension — high blood pressure
  • High Cholesterol levels
  • Stressful lifestyle sedentary lifestyle