Thursday, 16 January 2020

Hypertension

Hypertension is a simple medical term where there is a continuous increase in blood pressure as the blood exerts high pressure onto the walls. The symptoms of high blood pressure might be a headache, fatigue, chest pain, etc.
In simple words, Hypertension is known as High Blood Pressure. It can sometimes lead to serious complications which increases the risk of heart failure. 

Acute Hypertension is called stress which is common in almost every individual. However, sometimes it can be caused due to any other diseases.

Normal blood pressure for a healthy human is 120/80 mmHg, but an individual suffering from hypertension might have a blood pressure of higher than 135/90 mmHg.
If not treated properly, hypertension may lead to stroke, heart attack or other heart-related problems.

Risk Factors of Hypertension:
  • Age: Hypertension usually is common in individuals above the age of 60 years since blood pressure tends to increases with the narrowing of arteries.
  • Weight: Hight amount of fat deposition or obese people are more prone to hypertension than normal individuals.
  • Health Condition: Certain Cardiovascular Diseases, Diabetes, irregular Cholesterol levels can also increase the risk of hypertension.
  • Sex: Though not proved scientifically, men are more subjected to be affected by hypertension at a younger age than women.
  • Unhealthy Habits: High-level smoking and alcohol use is one of the most common factors that are responsible for increased blood pressure.
How do we treat hypertension?


1. Lifestyle:

An individual's lifestyle plays a major role in his metabolic behavior. A small change in one's lifestyle can alter high blood pressure. This is considered to be the most standard method of treating hypertension.
Smoking, alcohol consumption and unhealthy eating habits increase the risk of hypertension. So better give up these habits and save your heart.




2. Physical Exercise:

An average of 70-120 mins of exercise is the minimum requirement to regulate one's blood pressure. Exercises may include in the form of walking, jogging, cycling, etc.





3. Yoga:

Yoga is the easiest method to reduce stress and to control hypertension. It is the most commonly used preventive measure for high blood pressure.
A simple breathing exercise every day can keep your heart in good shape. Some specialized yoga poses like the Bound Angle pose, Bridge pose, Corpse pose, etc have shown good results in reducing stress. So try it and let your heart relax.


To know in-depth about Hypertension, listen to our experts talk about it. 
Visit Advanced Heart 2020 and share your insights on Hypertension.


Wednesday, 11 December 2019

Heart Transplantation



Heart Transplantation has been a common therapeutic solution for individuals with higher risk or end-stage heart failure. It is a process of replacing a weakened heart with a healthy heart. A healthy heart is received from a donor.

Despite the emerging technologies in the treatment of heart defects, heart transplantation has been carried out on every 6 out of 10 patients each year. A heart transplant is required by those patients with severe heart failure. The process is recommended only when all other treatments fail to aid the heart.

A recipient who applies for a heart transplant, if eligible is usually put in a transplant waiting list due to the limited availability of donors. It is important to consider the compatibility of the donor's heart with the recipient's blood and tissue type. If the heart doesn't match, the immune system will reject the transplanted heart, a common complication for heart transplant patients. Therefore, heart transplant patients are subjected to various immunosuppressants after the surgery which might exhibit some side effects. The recovery process of a heart transplant is like every other heart surgery. The patient might need a rehabilitation program to kickstart the heart to work normally. They are constantly monitored to observe any abnormal reactions.

Procedure:
  • It is an open heart surgery that takes place for about 6-7 hours. The complexity of the surgical process depends on the history of the patient's previous heart surgeries.
  • General anesthesia is administered and the patient is connected to a heart-lung bypass machine. An incision is made on the chest and the rib cage opened to access the heart.
  • Then the diseased heart is removed and replaced with a healthy heart. The major blood vessels are attached and the new heart starts beating, restoring the blood flow.
Risks involved: 

There are various complications involved in cardiac transplantation like:
  • Donor heart Rejection
  • Side effects due to medications
  • Infection
  • Cancer
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Kidney failure
What is the future of heart transplantation?

Various developments have been observed in transplants like ex-vivo graft perfusion, where new preservation technologies have been introduced to minimize the risk of ischemic damage to the graft. In this process, an external device is used to preserve the heart under ex-vivo conditions. The heart remains in an oxygenated state by beating and being perfused. One of the advantages of ex-vivo perfusion is that this process provides time to expand transportation distances.

Death after circulatory death is a term used in executing heart transplantation. Usually, the heart is retrieved from a donor only after brain death is declared. Whereas in this process, once the cardiac function is stopped and the individual is declared dead, the heart is retrieved immediately. This is to avoid any possibility of cardiac ischemia or ventricular distention, thus retaining the energy of the heart. Although this process is widely used in some countries, it is yet to be implemented successfully worldwide.

Xenotransplants are yet another development in the field. With the growing demands of heart donors and the long waiting list of recipients, the use of xenografts has played a vital role. However, the major disadvantage is the rate of rejection. Researchers are currently working on cross-species transplants using immunosuppressant protocols and preservations to develop a genetically modified heart.

The Cardiac world keeps expanding every day. In the near future, researchers are expecting a successful alternative for end-stage heart failure.


Are your research works related to heart transplantation? Then drop in your ideas and views at our conference. Visit Advanced Heart 2020




Sunday, 17 November 2019

Broken Heart Syndrome


Broken Heart Syndrome or Takotsubo Syndrome (TS) is simply a condition where the heart muscles start to weaken unexpectedly.

TS has various names such as Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy, Acute Stress-Induced Cardiomyopathy, and Apical Ballooning Syndrome.

When the heart muscles start to weaken, one of the heart's chamber becomes larger and starts to change its shape. That is, this part of the heart loses its function of pumping blood to the rest of the body.
It was noted that the heart of the affected individual was shaped pot with a round bottom and long narrow neck. Hence the name Takotsubo meaning pot in Japanese.

This syndrome is not age-specific and can develop at any age. However, it is more prone to women than men. TS is not an inherited heart condition.

Symptoms:
They often show symptoms of a heart attack like:
  • Angina
  • Dyspnea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Palpitations
  • Weakening of body
  • Changes in ECG waves
Causes:
The causes of TS is still unknown, however, some possible causes may be physical or emotional stress or overwhelming happiness such as:
  • Depression
  • Trauma
  • Asthma attack
  • Extreme happiness
  • Acute illness
Diagnosis:
TS can be diagnosed by:
  • ECG/Angiogram
  • Echocardiogram
  • MRI scan
  • Previous medical history details
  • Blood test
Treatment:
Unfortunately, TS does not have any treatment methods or approaches to prevent the symptoms. Researchers and doctors are still trying to find a therapeutic solution. However, beta-blockers can be used to prevent the stress hormones from affecting the heart. It is known that affected patients tend to recover in about 1-2 weeks.

Let's find out experts theories on Takotsubo Syndrome at Advanced Heart 2020



Tuesday, 12 November 2019

Kounis Syndrome


Kounis Syndrome is a rare acute coronary syndrome caused by a strong immune or allergic reaction to drugs or other substances.

Symptoms:
  • Chest, neck and arm pain
  • Skin discoloration
  • Nausea
  • Dyspnea
  • Excessive sweating
  • Very low blood pressure
  • Weakness
  • Syncope
  • Dysphagia
Signs:
  • Cardiorespiratory arrest
  • Bradycardia
  • Tachycardia
  • Palpitations
  • Arterial hypotension
What actually happens:
When an individual encounters allergy, the mast cells releases histamine, proteases, cytokines, and other inflammatory substances. This release results in the rupture of plaques of the coronary arteries which interferes with the blood flow to the heart muscle, leading to Kounis Syndrome.


Classification:
Kounis Syndrome is classified into 2 types:

  • Type I: observed among people without coronary artery diseases who have allergic acute coronary syndrome that leads to myocardial infection. Management: Treatment of allergic reactions by giving vasodilators, antihistamine, mast cell stabilizers, etc. 
  • Type II: observed among people with coronary artery diseases where the allergic reaction leads to coronary acute spasm or plaque erosion. Management: Corticosteroids, antihistamine, calcium channel blockers, etc are used. 
  • Type III: occurs among people involved in the setting of coronary stent thrombosis. Here, an aspirated thrombus is strained with hematoxylin-eosin and Giemsa to exhibit the presence of eosinophils and mast cells respectively. Management: Mast cell stabilizers along with antihistamine and steroids are administered. When allergic reactions are followed past stent implantation, desensitization measures must be applied.
Electrocardiographic findings:
  • Wide QRS wave
  • ST-segment elevation (or) descent
  • Sinus node tachycardia
  • Sinus node bradycardia
  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Negative or flat T-wave
Diagnosis:
There are no diagnostic tests specific to detect Kounis Syndrome. However, the common tests are:
  • Electrocardiogram
  • Laboratory tests
  • Vascular Biopsy
  • Arteriography
  • Echocardiogram
Treatment:
Like other coronary syndromes, Kounis syndrome doesn't have any treatment but can be managed by using:
  • Aspirin
  • Nitroglycerin
  • Beta-blockers
  • Morphine

Let's find out more about Kounis Syndrome at Advanced Heart 2020
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Thursday, 7 November 2019

Insights of Cardiovascular Diseases


Cardiovascular disease in general term is the condition of narrowing or blocked blood vessels that leads to fatal heart problems. The most common cardiovascular diseases are coronary artery disease, heart failure, heart attack, cardiomyopathy, etc.

                           

Now the question is: Are Cardiovascular Diseases genetic?

Yes! Some cardiovascular diseases are inherited. Genes can pass on the risk of cardiovascular diseases in families. There seem to be two types of genetic conditions:
1. Monogenic conditions, where mostly one genetic change causes diseases.
2. Polygenic conditions, which is common, where a number of genetic changes are the cause.

About 67 sites in the DNA sequence have been identified, which increases the risk of heart attacks. Higher the number of copies of these sites, the greater is the risk of the diseases.
There are various genetic testings to determine the risk of these diseases. However, they seem to be available only in high-income countries and is expensive to be executed globally.

The other types of Cardiovascular Diseases are caused due to environmental factors such as tobacco, obesity, physical inactivity, etc. These types of diseases can be prevented by making changes in an individual's lifestyle.

The genetic approach to Cardiovascular Diseases is still uncertain as researchers find it difficult to identify the interaction between genes and environmental factors.

It is observed that genetic tests, with the objective of finding out the structure of diseases are comparatively more efficient in identifying Cardiovascular diseases than by any other means. Once our researchers find out the interaction between the factors, genetic tests can be used to predict these diseases more accurately than before.

Hopefully, in the future, emerging genetic findings might modify the therapeutic approach of Cardiovascular Diseases.

Let's find out what our experts have to say about this. Join Advanced Heart 2020 to know more.



Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Pacemaker


Pacemakers are small electrical devices used to regulate irregular heartbeats or arrhythmias. It is usually placed in the chest or abdomen. The heart experiences arrhythmias where the heartbeats might be too fast (Tachycardia) or too slow (Bradycardia). 

Purpose:
A pacemaker is required when the heart's biological pacemaker (Sinus node) stops functioning or has some complications. Therefore, when the sinus node fails, the pacemaker takes over to regulate the heartbeat by sending electrical impulses.

Components:
Modern pacemakers consist of 2 parts: Pulse generator and electrodes.
The pulse generator includes a battery to power the pacemaker and electrical circuits required to regulate the heartbeat. The other part is the electrode which is used to send electrical impulses/signals to the heart.

Category:
There are two common categories of pacemakers:
  • On-demand - where the electrical signals will be generated only when required.
  • Fixed-rate- where the electrical signals are generated continuously irrespective of the patient's condition.

Procedure:

The pacemaker is placed by administering local anesthesia. The process takes about 1-2 hours. A small incision is made near the shoulder. A thin wire is guided through the incision into the major vein near the collarbone. Then the wire is directed to the vein of the heart. The whole process is monitored with the help of an x-ray.

Using one end of this wire, the electrode is attached to the heart's right ventricle. The other end is connected to the pulse generator.
The pacemaker is then implanted under the skin near the collarbone and the incision is closed.


Recent advancements in pacemakers:
The new innovation in a pacemaker is the heart-powered pacemakers. A typical modern pacemaker runs with the help of lithium batteries. However, scientists have found a way to power a pacemaker by using the heart's muscular activities.

Interesting right? Let's find out in detail.

Although, this advancement has not yet reached and tested in humans. It is however tested on pigs. On average, a pacemaker battery is active for about 7-10 years. If natural ways can be used to power them, this could be very efficient and effective.

Once the heart-powered pacemakers are proved conveniently functional, it will be approved for commercial use. This advancement would be beneficial for both patients and cardiologists. Researchers believe heart-powered pacemakers would decrease the need for device replacement, thus reducing or preventing the risk of infection.

These pacemakers might take more than a decade to reach us, but once it does, it is going to be life-changing and super effective.


Do you know more about the recent advancements in pacemakers? Then hurry and share it with us.


Thursday, 31 October 2019

Brugada Syndrome


Brugada Syndrome is an inherited heart rhythm disorder. Affected individuals show an increased risk of ventricular arrhythmia (abnormal heart rhythm in the lower chambers) leading to sudden death.

Channels in the heart chambers are responsible for directing electrical impulses to generate a heartbeat. When these channels cease to function, abnormal or out of control heartbeats are observed. As a result, the heart does not pump blood effectively to the body.

Brugada Syndrome is usually diagnosed in adults than adolescents, while it is rare in children.

Symptoms:
Many people don't show any symptoms. However, few common symptoms may be,
  • Dizziness
  • Abnormal ECG patterns
  • Syncope
  • Palpitations,
  • Uncontrolled breathing

Types: Brugada Syndrome is detected by observing the changes in ECG patterns. There are 3 types of ECG patterns.



Type 1: Coved type ST elevation - Minimum 2 mm J-point elevation with gradually descending ST-segment followed by a negative T-wave. 

 


Type 2: Saddle Back Pattern - Minimum 2 mm J-point elevation and a minimum 1 mm ST-segment with a positive or bi-phasic T-wave. 

 

Type 3: Either Cove or Saddle Back Pattern - Less than 2 mm J-point elevation and less than 1 mm ST-segment.






Risk factors:
  • Sex: Men are more prone to Brugada Syndrome than women.
  • Race: Asians tend to be diagnosed frequently.
  • Family History: As Brugada Syndrome is inherited, the chances of off-springs getting affected are very high.

Complications:
  • Sudden Cardiac arrest
  • Syncope

Diagnosis:
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG): A non-invasive test to detect abnormal heart rhythms.
  • Electrophysiology test: An invasive method to detect the electrical signals running through the heart.
  • Genetic testing: Examination of DNA to reveal any type of mutations in genes. Recommended to determine whether other family members are affected.

Treatments:
  • Implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD)
  • Drug therapy 


Let us more about the diagnosis and prevention methods of Brugada Syndrome.
Join and discuss it with our experts.