Understand congenital heart defects (CDC)

Congenital heart defects are problems present at birth, which impact the structure of the baby’s heart and the way it functions. These heart defects can impact the way blood flows through the heart and reaches the rest of the body. Congenital heart defects vary from mild such as a small hole in the heart to extreme ones such as missing or poorly developed parts of the heart. These defects are the most common type of birth defects found in children.

Causes of Congenital Heart Defects

The exact cause of congenital heart defects in children is not known. Some babies have defects because of changes in their genes or chromosomes. However, in other cases, the defects are a result of a combination of genes, accompanied by other factors such as the environment, the diet of the mother, mother’s general health condition and medication during pregnancy, smoking during pregnancy, etc. Such as, in some cases, the expecting mother has diabetes or obesity, which can cause heart issues and defects in the child.

Types of Congenital Heart Defects

Atrial Septal Defect or ASD: This type of heart hole is present in the portion of the septum that separates the right and left chambers of the heart, causing oxygen-rich blood from the left chamber (atrium) to flow into the right chamber rather than flowing into the left ventricle as per normal process. This leads to oxygen-rich blood flowing back into the lungs instead of flowing into the body. ASD could be small or large depending on condition. A small ASD is often harmless and does not require any special treatment closes on its own as the child grows. Whereas a large ASD is caused more blood leakage and could cause potential harm to the baby. These heart holes do not fill up on their own instead require special treatment and care. Most of the babies do not show any signs of a heart hole up until 30 years or later. But if a large ASD is not repaired in time, it might cause right heart failure, irregular heartbeats, stroke, pulmonary hypertension leading to severe complications.

Ventricular Septal Defect or VSD:  A VSD is a type of heart hole where there is an opening in the septum that divides the lower chambers of the heart – the ventricles. This heart hole causes the oxygen-rich blood from the left ventricle to flow into the right ventricle and mix up with the oxygen-poor blood, instead of flowing out of the body through the aorta. A baby might have more than one VSD but in most cases, VSD close as the baby grows up and do not cause any trouble. Large size VSD, however, might cause some symptoms and would require surgery if they do not close on their own. A large VSD could result in heart failure, growth failure, irregular heartbeats, and pulmonary hypertension.

Coarctation of the Aorta: This is a serious congenital defectwhich indicates a narrowing of the aorta. The aorta is the large blood vessel which branches off the heart to deliver oxygen-rich blood to the rest of the body. When a child develops Coarctation of the aorta, the heart is forced to pump harder to force the blood through the narrowed aorta, which tends to impact the efficiency and thereby, the general health of the child. The condition, usually present at birth, can be mild or severe, depending on the child. Some cases might go unnoticed until adulthood, depending on how much the aorta is narrowed. While the treatment for this condition is easily available and is successful but it requires life-long follow-up and precautions.

Double-outlet Right Ventricle (DORV): A serious congenital heart defect in which the aorta of the child’s heart, which is normally connected to the left ventricle (the chamber which pumps oxygen-rich blood to the body) is instead by default connected to the right ventricle (the chamber which oxygen-poor blood to the lungs). This causes both arteries to flow out of the right ventricle, which implies that oxygen-poor blood is circulated to the entire body, causing serious health issues.

D-Transposition of the Great Arteries: A serious congenital heart condition in which the aorta and the pulmonary artery of the child’s heart are switched from their normal position. This is in turn, causes the aorta to come off the right ventricle and pulmonary artery to come from the left ventricle. This implies that the oxygen-rich blood from the lungs goes back to the lungs, while the poor-oxygen blood from the body goes back to the body instead of heading to the lungs to be enriched with oxygen. 

Ebstein Anomaly: This is a rare congenital malformation of the child heart in which the valve between the right atrium and the right ventricle of the heart (known as a tricuspid valve) is the wrong place and its leaflets are of an incorrect shape than usual. This causes the valve to malfunction leading to leaking of the blood back to the valve and into the right atrium.

Hypoplastic Left Heart SyndromeA severe and complex type of defect which affects the normal blood flow of the heart. This condition happens when the baby’s left side of the heart does not develop properly during pregnancy. This leads the left-side incapable of pumping oxygen-rich blood to the rest of the body properly. A surgery or another medical treatment is required in such case, as soon as the baby is born and shows symptoms of the disorder.

Symptoms of Congenital Heart Defects

Symptoms and signs of heart defects in babies depend on the type of problem; in some cases, there may be no symptoms at all. However, some common signs include:

  • Blue-tinted nails
  • Blue lips
  • Tiredness when feeding
  • Sleepiness

Most congenital heart defects are detected during pregnancy; however, the others are detected post-birth or later in life during early childhood years or adulthood.

Heart Murmurs – Symptoms and Causes

Heart murmurs are typical whooshing or swishing sounds made by the blood in or near the heart during a heartbeat cycle. Generally, a heartbeat makes a ‘lubb-dupp’ sound upon the closing of the heart valves, which can be heard via a stethoscope. However, in a heart murmur, the sound of the heartbeat is abnormal.

Murmurs can be benign or could indicate a potentially serious heart condition. These could be present at birth (congenital) or can occur later in one’s life. However, heart murmurs are not a disease but can be an indication of an underlying issue. That said, most of the heart murmurs are harmless and do not require any form of treatment. However, in some cases, the condition would need to be monitored to check the underlying heart condition.

Causes of heart murmurs

Heart murmurs are vibrations or sounds of turbulence, caused by the blood when it flows through the heart. This happens when the valves, which typically make a valve sound, start to make a heart murmur because they do not open or close properly, thereby causing the blood to leak backwards or restrict going forward.

This can occur due to various causes, which also can be described as the type of murmur, such as:

Innocent heart murmur: This type is very common in newborns and children; the person with an innocent heart murmur usually has a normal heart. However, in this condition, the blood flows more rapidly than the normal speed through the heart, causing a murmur. Some factors which can trigger innocent heart murmurs include:

  • Physical activity or strenuous exercise
  • Pregnancy
  • Fever
  • Lack of healthy blood cells
  • Excessive levels of thyroid hormones in the body
  • Rapid growth phases, such as adolescence

Innocent heart murmurs can be temporary and go away on their own or could be life long, while not causing any further complications.

Abnormal heart murmurs: Abnormal heart murmurs in children are caused because of structural problems of the heart at the time of birth. These are also known as congenital heart defects. Some common congenital defects include:

  • Holes in the heart or cardiac shunts: Also called septal defects, the holes in the heart can cause abnormal heart murmurs and could potentially be serious. For cardiac shunts, the heart experiences an abnormal flow of blood between the heart chambers or the blood vessels, causing a murmur.
  • Heart valve abnormalities: Heart valve abnormalities can cause the valves to restrict the blood flow (known as stenosis) and in other cases, some valves do not close properly or cause a leakage, resulting in a murmur (called regurgitation).

That said, causes of abnormal heart murmurs in adults include infections and several other factors which damage the structure of the heart. Such as:

  • Valve calcification: This condition causes hardening and thickening of valves can happen as one age. This can cause the valves to become narrow, making it harder for blood to flow through the heart, thereby causing abnormal heart murmurs.
  • Endocarditis: This state is the one in which the inner lining of the heart and valves are infected because of bacteria and other germs from other parts of the body such as the mouth. These bacteria travel through the bloodstream and accumulate in the heart. The condition, if left untreated, can destroy the valves.
  • Rheumatic fever: This type of fever develops when a person with a strep throat infection is not treated properly. Rheumatic fever can permanently affect the heart valves and restrict the normal flow of blood through the heart, thereby causing abnormal heart murmurs.

Risk factors of heart murmurs

Some people are at more risk of developing heart murmurs than others. These risk factors include:

  • Family history of a heart defect
  • Certain medical conditions such as high blood pressure, rheumatoid arthritis, weak heart muscles, history of rheumatic fever, etc.
  • Illnesses during pregnancy
  • Taking illegal drugs or specific medications during pregnancy

Symptoms of heart murmurs

For people who have innocent heart murmurs, there may be no prominent symptoms or signs. These are harmless murmurs which do not need any specific treatment. Also, in case of an abnormal heart murmur, the major symptom would be the unusual sound of the heart, detected by the doctor with a stethoscope.

However, the below signs are also an indication of heart murmurs.

  • Blue-appearing skin, especially on the fingertips and lips
  • Swelling in the legs or abdomen
  • Sudden and unexplained weight gain
  • Enlarged liver
  • Chronic and consistent cough
  • Acute shortness of breath
  • Fainting
  • Lightheadedness
  • Dizziness
  • Heavy sweating without exertion or with minimal exertion
  • Enlarged neck veins
  • Poor appetite
  • Chest pain
  • Palpitations

That said, in a newborn baby, the symptoms of a heart murmur will include:

  • Difficulty in feeding
  • Stunted growth
  • Bluish skin during feeding or even while the minimal activity
  • Breathing problem
  • Cranky and fussiness

Diagnosis of heart murmurs

 Foremost, the doctor will study the symptoms and then check for abnormal sounds via a stethoscope. To confirm the analysis, further tests of the heart’s function including blood pressure checks, oxygen level determinant, pulse rate, etc. – will be conducted. Moreover, an echocardiogram will be done to obtain pictures of the heart valves.

Based on the test results and findings, the doctor will assign a grade to the heart murmur. The scale of grading is 1-6, where 1 is extremely mild and 6 is very loud murmur. Also, for murmurs which occur during the relaxation state, the grading scale is 1-4, where 4 is the maximum pitch.

In some cases, the doctor might also conduct a stress echocardiogram, chest X-ray and cardiac catheterization.

Overall, not all heart murmurs are serious and need treatment. However, they need to be consistently monitored and in cases of severity, appropriate treatment should be sought as per the underlying disease and the intensity of the problem.

10 lifestyle changes to protect your heart

The heart is roughly the size of a clenched fist and is located in the middle of your chest between tow lungs, tilted more to the left. This small, fist-size organ is one of the most critical organs of the body, the centre of the circulatory system and responsible for pumping blood and oxygen throughout the body. It also removes carbon-dioxide and waste products. With every breath that you take, you bring in fresh oxygen in the body through the lungs, the lungs                 deliver this oxygen to the blood and then the heart circulates the blood to the lungs and other body organs.

Structure of the Heart

The heart is made of three layers of tissues, namely:

  • Epicardium
  • Myocardium
  • Endocardium

These three layers are further protected by a thin outer lining known as the pericardium. It comprises of four chambers – two upper and two lower chambers, known as the atrium and the ventricles respectively. The right chambers including the right atrium and right ventricles are responsible for pumping blood to the lungs and supplying oxygen from the lungs to the left chambers of the heart consisting of left atrium and left ventricles. From the left chambers, the oxygenated blood is then pumped to the other parts of the body, enabling effective functioning. The cells from the other parts of the body return the blood (devoid of oxygen) to the right chambers of the heart, and then the process begins again. This whole functioning is referred to as the process of circulating blood in the body. The functioning is supported by blood vessels and valves, which collectively is known as the cardiovascular system. The cardiovascular system is the critical support of the body and hence, it is very important to ensure the heart is healthy and functioning well.

Heart problems and diseases are one of the primary causes of deaths in the country. One of the prime reasons apart from congenital or acquired heart diseases is the unhealthy lifestyle that leads to heart diseases or problems. An unhealthy lifestyle -involving lack of physical activity, consumption of excessive alcohol, smoking, high intake of fried food, obesity, drug abuse, lack of nutritional diet, etc. – is a very strong trigger for heart issues. It causes high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, and several other issues, which ultimately compromise the functioning of the arteries by blocking, narrowing or in many severe cases causing a leakage that disturbs the functioning of the heart.

That said, it is possible to protect the heart by adopting certain health lifestyle changes. No matter what age or gender, a healthy lifestyle is the major step to avoid all kinds of heart problems and diseases. Some of the healthy lifestyle habits that one must practice are:

Indulge in Healthy Eating: Food defines the age of the heart, hence it is very important to feed it the right stuff to ensure proper and healthy heart functioning. Foods that are high in saturated fat, trans fat, sodium, cholesterol, sugar, etc. should be avoided. Instead consumption of fresh fruits, green vegetables, fibre, whole grains, fish, nuts, etc. is extremely good for the heart and aids its running. Dairy products, red meat and poultry are also not a healthy option for the heart. Consume dry fruits and use less oil in cooking food. Also, the diet should be full of nutrition.

Increase Physical Activeness: One of the major causes of heart problemsis the lack of physical activity. No matter what age or gender, at least 30 minutes of any kind of physical activity is very essential to prevent heart issues. Medium to high workout level is critical to maintain the heart strength and burn that build up of plaque.

Get Regular check-ups done: A healthy lifestyle habit that should be implemented is to be aware about the heart’s health consistently by getting regular check-ups and examinations done. Heart-health screenings are necessary to keep a check on the level of blood glucose, cholesterol, blood pressure, heart rate, body mass index and more. If the results indicate any variation from the normal range, proper methods of lifestyle change need to be put into practice to ensure the values are within normalcy. Alongside, it is also necessary to consult the doctor, and speak about your diet, lifestyle, variation in values, and more.

Avoid Smoking or even Passive Smoking: Smoke is one of the prime causes for disturbing the functioning of the heart. It damages the lining of the arteries causing fat to build up, which ultimately leads to narrowing of the artery and hampering of flow of blood in the body. Not just smokers but even non-smokers are highly subject to developing heart diseases due to prolonged exposure to smoke.

Reduce Stress: Today, stress is the cause of many health problems, especially the ones related with the matters of the heart. Stress increases heart rate and also shuffles the blood pressure, causing a lot of damage to the arteries. One could practice yoga, meditation or increase involvement in hobbies to reduce overall stress.

Maintain a Healthy Weight: Obesity is one the major reasons for heart diseases and problems; and needs to be completely sorted.It increases chances of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, insulin resistance, all of which have a very negative impact on the heart’s health. Instead workout each day, healthy eating, controlled calories intake, nutritional food helps maintain a healthy weight.

Limit Alcohol Intake: Excessive alcohol consumption increases chances of high blood pressure, cardiomyopathy, stroke, irregular heartbeats, etc. Too much alcohol is also a contributor for obesity, alcoholism and more.

A healthy lifestyle is best way to maintain a healthy heart. That said, a fit lifestyle should not be a choice, it should be the way of life. Create and sustain healthy cycling habits in yourself and your family. Be more active, prefer outdoor over indoors, take a walk when possible, and always be alert for a happy heart.

Chest Pain: Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment

Chest pain can be either a sharp stabbing pain or a mild consistent ache that makes you uncomfortable and often restless. It can also feel like burning or crushing, and could last for some time, depending on the severity of the case and the underlying cause. Sometimes, chest pain can also indicate a possible heart attack or a heart problem, while many other times these could be non-harmful conditions.

That said, no matter the intensity, a chest pain especially recurrent chest pain must be paid attention to and consulted with a specialist to know the cause. There can be multiple causes of chest pain; while some are life-threatening others may be mild.

Heart-related causes of chest pain

Chest pain caused by underlying condition of the heart is often accompanied by symptoms such as shortness of breath, dizziness and heart palpitations.  Some of the heart conditions that can potentially cause chest pain are:

Angina: A feeling of pressure or squeezing of the heart that causes extreme pain and dizziness. Angina is a fairly common heart problem that occurs due to reduced supply of blood to the heart muscle. It might feel like a heart attack but it is not so intense and does not cause permanent damage to the heart tissue. Angina occurring during a physical activity is relatively less worrisome; however angina occurring during sitting or relaxing mode is a serious cause of worry and need immediate medical attention.

Heart attack: Acute chest pain that might travel to cause pain in the left arm or jaw is categorically caused because of a heart attack. The pain is a sharp, stabbing feeling with tightness. Chest pain due to heart attack implies that there is blockage in one or more arteries causing lack of supply of blood to the heart. Chest pain that indicates a heart attack might be accompanied by shortness of breath, dizziness, excessive sweating, nausea, irregular pulse, feeling of choking, severe weakness and numbness.

Myocarditis: When the heart muscle is swollen due to reasons such as fever, it causes mild pain or pressure in the heart, known as myocarditis.Some other symptoms of the problem include shortness of breath, swelling in legs, palpitations, etc.The condition is not always alarming expect for severe symptoms.

Pericarditis: A common heart condition and often confused with a heart attack, a pericarditis occurs when there is inflammation in the watery sac surrounding the heart. The pain can be sharp or dull and begins from the centre then radiated to the left side of the heart, accompanies by fatigue, muscle ache, and mild fever. The inflammation is because of an infection or a previous heart surgery, and the symptoms tend to fade way in a week or so. In case not, medical help should be sought.

Valve Disease: Chest pain that appears with exertion can be caused due to a possible valve problem. Chest pain accompanied by murmur, breathlessness and fatigue are common sings of a valve disease.

Cardiomyopathy: A pain in the chest after eating or exercising can be because of cardiomyopathy which results in thickening or thinning of heart muscles, disturbing the pumping action of the heart. Chest pain along with swollen legs and ankles, heart palpitations, and irregular heart rhythm needs immediate medical help.

Aortic Rupture: Chest pain followed by sharp ache in the upper back can indicate an aortic rupture causing blood leakage due to a tear within the aortic walls.

Respiratory causes of chest pain

Sometimes the chest pain may indicate a possible problem with the respiratory system of the body.

Pulmonary Embolism: Chest pain caused because of pulmonary embolism can feel similar to a heart attack but is caused because of a blood clot in one of the arteries of the lungs, making it difficult to breathe.

Collapsed Lung: Chest pain occurring while breathing in can indicate a collapsed lung which implies that there is air trapped between the chest wall and the lungs, pressurizing the lungs and making it difficult for them to expand while inhaling of air.

Pneumonia: The chest pain caused because of pneumonia begins with a sharp, stabbing pain and gets worse with breathing in.It will be accompanies by other symptoms such as fever, chills and severe cough, with phlegm. Schedule an appointment if you have mild symptoms and call emergency help in case the situation is intense.

Asthma: Asthma leads to inflammation in the airways that causes tightness and pain in the chest. Asthma can be diagnosed and treated effectively.

Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (COPD): A disease that restricts the inflow and outflow of air through the lungs due to inflammation. Chest pain worsening with physical activity or exertion can indicate COPD.

Other respiratory causes of chest pain that can indicate a possible health condition include pleurisy, lung cancer and pulmonary hypertension. Though rare, these factors can also result in recurrent chest pain.

Digestive causes of chest pain

Digestive problems that cause chest pain are basically because of dysfunctional digestive system and the esophagus. A chest pain that worsens while lying down and gets better with movement, exertion and physical activity – is a possible indication of a digestive problem such as:

  • Gastro Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) – Acid reflux disease causing burning sensation
  • Esophagitis – burning sensation and chest pain while swallowing
  • Esophageal Rupture
  • Dysphagia – Swallowing discomfort and pain
  • Gallstones
  • Pancreatitis
  • Hiatal Hernia

Other causes of chest pain

Apart from the above, the below situations or problems can also cause chest pain:

  • Extreme anxiety
  • Panic attack
  • Muscle strain
  • Injured rib
  • Costochondritis – inflammation of the rib cartilage

Diagnosis of Chest Pain

The doctor will conduct several diagnostic tests to find the actual cause of chest pain. These tests will include:

  • An electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) to record the heart’s electrical activity
  • Blood test to check the enzyme level
  • Chest X-ray to check the heart, lungs and blood vessels
  • An Echocardiogram to get moving images of the heart
  • An MRI to assess damage to the aorta or the heart
  • Stress test
  • An Angiogram to check for blockage in arteries

Treatment of Chest Pain

The treatment of chest pain depends on the underlying cause and the severity of the problem. The treatment can include medications, non-invasive procedures, surgery or a combination of these methods.

Treatments for heart-related chest pain include:

  • Medications
  • Cardiac catheterization which involves using balloons or placing stents to open the blocked or narrowed arteries
  • Coronary artery bypass grafting or bypass surgery which aims to repair the damaged or compromised arteries surgically

Treatment for chest pain caused by other reasons:

  • Lung re-inflation in case the chest pain is due to a collapsed lung
  • Antacids or other medical procedures to treat acid reflux and heartburn, along with their symptoms
  • Anti-anxiety medications that treat patients with chest pain due to panic attacks

Chest pains should not be ignored or taken lightly; one should consult the doctor and rule out probabilities of serious underlying condition and get timely help.

Understand Cardiology Emergency: Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment

A cardiology emergency is a condition in which a person experiences an acute and life-threatening issue such as a cardiac arrest or a heart attack. A cardiac arrest is a sudden loss of heart function, breathing, and consciousness. This condition occurs because the heart which generates and pumps blood in the body is disturbed and stops functioning leading to no flow of blood in the body particularly the brain and resulting in death. Cardiac arrest is abrupt, sudden, and different than a heart attack where the blood flow to a part of the heart is blocked; though a heart attack may lead to a cardiac arrest in some cases. 

On the other hand, heart attack is a condition where the heart stops working because it is starved of oxygen and nutrients (for a prolonged period of time) which are essential for its survival. The heart needs its consistent supply of oxygen and nutrients to ensure there is proper pumping of blood through the body.

Both the conditions have their own symptoms, diagnostic process and treatment mentioned below:

Symptoms of a cardiac arrest

Some of the general cardiac attack symptoms that people might experience are:

  • Abruptly racing heartbeat
  • Extreme anxiety
  • Dizziness
  • Dangerous heart rhythm
  • Fluttering ventricles
  • Frozen body temperature and numbness 
  • Sudden collapse
  • Painful and difficult breathing
  • Loss of pulse

Most of these symptoms occur very near to a cardiac arrest, whereas there are a couple of cardiac arrest symptoms that if paid heed to could signal the upcoming dysfunctionality. These might include:

  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue 
  • Weakness
  • Palpitations

However, you can always seek advance medical help to know if there are any irregularities in heart functioning. You should see a doctor if you experience any of these:

  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeats
  • Continuous unexplained wheezing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Extreme heart palpitations
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Dizziness and blurriness of sight

Most cardiac arrest symptoms are short timed and do not leave much time to act before the arrest, hence, the best way to save a life is to avoid all cardiac arrest causes and stay clear of reasons and factors that can trigger a cardiac arrest.

Symptoms of a heart attack

Symptoms of a heart attack vary case to case and sometimes a person may not experience any symptoms. However, there are some classic symptoms that could indicate a possible heart attack.

  • Acute chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pressure or tightness in chest
  • Severe pain in back, jaw, left arm, right arm, shoulders or all areas
  • Excessive sweating
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Anxiety
  • Dizziness
  • Racing heartbeat
  • Variable blood pressure
  • Thready pulse
  • Pale and cool skin

The intensity of the pain and the resultant attack will differ for each person. A mild heart attack is also sometimes mistaken as heartburn and often does not cause any harm. Such a case also referred to as angina is a warning signal and does not cause any harm because the blood flow is restored soon after and the pain recedes quickly thereafter.

As stated, in multiple cases, a heart attack may occur without any previous warning signs. This phenomenon is referred to as “silent ischemia” where the heart tissue is damaged due to sporadic, pain-free, interruptions of blood flow to the heart. Chances of silent ischemia are very high amongst people suffering from diabetes. This condition can however be detected through an ECG. 

Further, women in many cases do not experience these classic heart attack symptoms; instead they feel a tightness and fullness in chest or pain in the neck, arm or jaw.

Diagnosis of Cardiology Emergency

Diagnosis of both a cardiac arrest and heart attack is foremost made based on the symptoms of the patient. However, to confirm the analysis, the below diagnostic tests and procedures are used:

Cardiac Catheterization:In this, a small, flexible, short tube is inserted into a vein or artery in the leg or arm.A guide catheter – a hollow, flexible tube is then inserted into the short tube to get pictures of the heart by guiding the tube to reach the heart via X-ray images on the monitor. The doctor then inserts a dye to get clear pictureof the heart blood flow, blood vessels, valves, etc. to detect any abnormalities or blockages.

Cardiac Computerized Tomography Scan (CT Scan): A CT scan uses a combination of X-rays and a monitor to get absolutely clear picture of organs, bones, and other tissues. It allows the doctors to take a deeper look than a regular X-ray.

Cardiac Magnetic Resonance Imaging:Cardiac magnetic resonance or a cardiac MRI uses strong magnetic field and radio waves to produce comprehensive and exhaustive pictures of the heart and its nearby blood vessels.  The tests can be used to check for heart and blood vessel functioning, proper structure, etc.

Apart from these blood tests and Electrocardiogram (ECG) can be used to detect a cardiac emergency.

Treatment of cardiology emergency

A cardiac emergency be it a heart attack or cardiac arrest requires immediate action and treatment such as:

CPR: Cardiopulmonary resuscitation is an emergency lifesaving technique that is performed when the heart stops beating. This procedure is performed immediately to keep the flow of blood and oxygen running through the body when the person’s heart and breathing have stopped due various reasons such as a cardiac arrest, heart attack, drowning, etc. CPR can be initiated by any person – untrained bystander or medical personnel – and involves basic chest compressions and rescue breathing. CPR has to be initiated in the order of CAB – Compressions, Airway and Breathing.

Defibrillation: Specifically administered in case of a cardiac arrest, defibrillation involves advanced care for a particular type of arrhythmia which can cause sudden cardiac arrest. It includes giving electrical shocks through the chest wall to the heart.

Medications: Once the patient reaches the hospital, the doctors will try to stablise the condition and treat a possible heart attack, heart failure, etc. Medications might include:

  • Thrombolytics to dissolve clots
  • Blood thinners to rejuvenate the blood flow by clearing clots
  • Antiplatelet drugs to prevent formation of new clots
  • Pain killers to reduce pain immediately

Long-term treatment: In case of a cardiac arrest that has resulted in a major heart attack, the doctors might have to perform surgeries to repair the damage and restore health.

  • Angioplasty can be performed to unblock the arteries by inserting a catheter (thin tube) through the artery that will open the blockage and restore flow of blood
  • A stent can also be placed in the heart to prevent the artery from closing again
  • Coronary artery bypass graft can be performed to reroute the blood flow to reach the blockage.
  • Corrective heart surgery to treat a congenital heart deformity

Complete care and proper precautions need to be taken to ensure there is no lapse and the blood to the heart is restored.

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