A comprehensive guide on pacemaker implantation

A comprehensive guide on pacemaker implantation
One of the most common diseases associated with mortality is cardiovascular problems. Due to the lack of physical activity, urbanized lifestyle, unhealthy eating habits, lack of nutrition, and various other socio-economic conditions - cardiovascular problems have steeply risen. While there are multiple medical treatments available for heart problems, a pacemaker remains one of the most important advances in providing care for patients. A pacemaker is not merely a device that cures heart problems, but is also essential in retaining the patient’s peace of mind, ensuring them a quality of life and providing assurance of safety. Technically, a pacemaker is a device that continuously monitors the heartbeat to record any erratic movements and sends electrical impulses to the heart muscle to maintain a healthy heart rate. Your doctor may recommend a pacemaker in conditions such as arrhythmia, fainting spells and congestive heart failure. Depending on the severity of the heart problem, an appropriate pacemaker from the three types is recommended: Single chamber: Carries electrical impulses to the right ventricleDual-chamber: Carries electrical impulses to the right ventricle and atriumBiventricular: Corrects abnormal electrical systems by stimulating lower chambers of the heart.  Purpose of a Pacemaker Implantation The main purpose of a pacemaker is to control the irregular heartbeat. These can be temporarily implanted to treat a slow heartbeat post a heart attack, surgery or a drug overdose. In other cases, permanent transplantation of a pacemaker is made to correct a prolonged irregular heartbeat or to treat heart failure. An implanted pacemaker mimics the natural action of the heart’s electrical system, and typically comprises of two parts: Pulse Generator: A small metal container which hosts the battery and electrical circuitry which regulates the electrical pulse rate sent to the heart. Leads (Electrodes): These are insulated wires which are placed in the chambers of the heart or in one particular chamber to deliver the electrical pulses to adjust the irregular heart rate. Pacemakers only function when needed. In case, the heart starts beating slowly, the pacemaker sends electrical signals to the heart to correct the beat. Also, recent advancements in technology have offered sensory pacemakers which detect the body motion and breathing rate and send signals accordingly. Risks of a Pacemaker Implantation Risks of complications from a pacemaker implantation surgery are very rare, but can include: Infection at the site of pacemaker implantationAllergy or reaction to the dye or anaesthesia used during the procedureSwelling, bruising or extensive bleeding at the siteDamage to the surrounding blood vessels and tissuesCollapsed lungs Preparation for a Pacemaker Implantation Before deciding the need and type of pacemaker required, the doctor will conduct several tests to know the cause of irregularity in the heartbeat. These tests include: Electrocardiogram (ECG)Holter monitoringEchocardiogramStress test The procedure of a Pacemaker Implantation Before the commencement of the procedure, the doctor will place an intravenous line to provide medication to ease pain and help the patient relax. The patient will mostly be awake during the procedure and will be administered with local anaesthesia to numb the incision...
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What is Stress Echocardiography? Know its Purpose, Procedure, and Results

What is Stress Echocardiography? Know its Purpose, Procedure, and Results
Stress echocardiography, also known as an echocardiography stress test or stress echo is a test that indicates the functioning of the heart and the blood vessels. This test uses ultrasound imaging to assess how efficiently the heart muscle is pumping blood in the body. It is very useful in determining the decrease in the flow of blood to the heart due to reasons such as narrowing or blocking of the coronary arteries. This test mainly evaluates how well the heart functions under stressful conditions. This stress could be triggered by exercising on a treadmill or through a medicine known as dobutamine. The medication is used in cases where the concerned person is unable to exercise; this medication imitates the effects of exercise on the heart.  However, in general cases, the test is performed while the patient is exercising on a treadmill or a stationary cycle. During this time, the doctor monitors the condition of the heart, including blood pressure and the rhythm. When the heart rate reaches its maximum, ultrasound images are used to evaluate if the heart muscles are receiving the required quantities of blood and oxygen, while exercising. Purpose of the stress echocardiography test A stress echocardiography test may be conducted in situations where the patient experiences chest pain which might be caused due to coronary artery diseases or in cases where a patient suffers myocardial infection (heart attack). The stress echocardiography test can also be used to determine the level and intensity of exercise that can be undertaken by a patient who is in cardiac rehabilitation. Additionally, the test is also used to assess the effectiveness of treatment, such as: Bypass graftingAngioplastyAnti-arrhythmic medicines The test is very safe and non-invasive with minimum or no complications; some rare complications might include an abnormality in heart rhythm, dizziness, lack of consciousness or heart attack.  Procedure of the stress echocardiography test The test takes about 45 to 60 minutes and can be conducted in the doctor’s office or at an echocardiography lab. It is a simple test with rare complications. Hence, to ensure there is no risk of problems in the test, the doctor might suggest a few measures to follow before the test, these include: No eating or drinking at least three to four hours prior to the testNo smoking on the day of the testCheck with the doctor before taking caffeine in any formCheck with the doctor for all medications that you might be regularly taking; certain medications can hamper the results of the test and create complications; thus those might be avoided on the day of the testWear running shoes and comfortable clothes. Once that is taken care of the actual procedure of the stress echocardiography test begins. The test is divided into three stages, including: Resting echocardiography: This is a critical step because this will help assess the functioning of the heart at rest and compare it with the functioning when stressed. In this step, the doctor first sticks small patches on the chest, known as electrodes...
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Cardiac Catheterization: Purpose, Procedure, Risks and Results

Cardiac Catheterization: Purpose, Procedure, Risks and Results
Cardiac Catheterization is a medical procedure used to assess the functioning of the heart and check for any cardiovascular problems. Cardiac catheterization is also known as cardiac cath, heart cath or a coronary angiogram. The procedure basically evaluates how well are the blood vessels of the heart functioning. A cardiac catheterization is done by inserting a catheter into an artery or a vein in the groin, neck or arm; a catheter is a long, flexible, narrow tube which is guided through the blood vessels (via special X-Ray machines) to the heart to assess its functioning. Once the catheter is in position, it can be used to run various diagnostic tests by injecting a contrasting dye through the catheter into the blood vessels. This dye enables the doctor to assess the valves, coronary arteries and chambers of the heart by creating X-Ray videos. Moreover, in certain cases, cardiac catheterization is also used in heart procedures such as a coronary angioplasty and coronary stenting. Technically, a cardiac catheterization is performed in an authorized medical specialty by a certified cardiologist, along with expert team of nurses, technicians and other medical professionals. Purpose of Cardiac Catheterization The main purpose of a cardiac catheterization is to assess the functioning of the heart and diagnose any heart conditions. However, in many cases, cardiac catheterization is also performed as a part of larger procedure to correct heart problems. Hence, cardiac catheterization is used both to find and fix heart problems and conditions. Some problems and issues that can be easily identified via cardiac catheterization include: Congenital heart defectsNarrowed, blocked or damaged blood vessels in the heartHeart valve problemsOxygen level and processing inside the heartHeart muscle functioning A cardiac catheterization can also be used to collect tissue to perform a biopsy. It is also a great method to assess and determine the need for further treatment. That said, cardiac catheterization is also used to fix some heart problems. Some of the procedures that can be performed via cardiac catheterization are: Angioplasty: In an angioplasty, a catheter is placed in the heart mounted with a tiny balloon. Once in place, the balloon is inflated that pushes the plaque out, causing the arteries to open and widen leading to effective flow of blood and oxygen. Repairing Heart Defects: Heart defects such as a hole in the heart or leakage in the valve - can be corrected through cardiac catheterization. Stent Placement: Stent placement is usually followed after an angioplasty, where a tiny mesh tube –known as stent – is placed in the narrowed or blocked artery to prevent it from narrowing or being blocked again. Heart Ablation: In this procedure, multiple catheters will be placed in the arteries and veins to direct the radiofrequency energy to correct abnormal heart rhythms. Valve Replacement: This procedure will involve the usage of catheter to implant an artificial valve in place of a narrowed heart valve. Procedure of Cardiac Catheterization Before beginning the procedure, the doctor will advise the patient on certain medications that...
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