Cardiology - Heart Care
Cardiology treats and prevents diseases of the blood, heart and blood vessels. Most commonly, heart disease stems from constricted arteries that hinder healthy circulation. New technology aims to minimize incisions by using robotic implements, which improves recovery time.
Cardiology treatments and procedures help to treat medical travelers that suffer from coronary artery blockage with coronary artery bypass grafting, angioplasty and stents.
We offer a full menu of cardiac services which include:
- Coronary Angiogram (CAG)
- Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (CABG)
- Stem cell transplant for heart failure
- Valve Replacement
Call us at 1-888-974-2470 and start your journey towards a healthier you today!
Angioplasty is a done in order to treat a carotid artery that is narrowed or blocked. Every individual has an artery on each side of their neck called the carotid artery. This artery supplies blood to your brain and face. Fatty material called plaque can fully or partially block this artery which can result in a stroke if the brain does not get enough blood.
To begin the procedure the doctor will make a surgical cut to the patients’ groin. The doctor will then insert a catheter (a flexible tube) through the cut to an artery. The doctor will then guide the tube up to the neck to the blockage in your carotid artery. To view the artery the surgeon will use a live x-ray picture called fluoroscopy to view the artery. After the doctor views the artery they will pass a guide wire through the catheter to the blockage. A second catheter with a very small balloon on the end will be pushed over the guide wire and into the blockage. The balloon will then be blown up. The balloon presses against the inside wall of the artery. This opens the artery and restores proper blood flow to the brain. A stent (a wire mesh tube) may also be placed in the blocked area. The stent is inserted at the same time as the balloon is blown up. The stent is left in place to help keep the artery open and then the doctor removes the balloon.
Angioplasty is recommended to individuals who have persistent chest pain that medicine cannot control. It is also recommended to individuals who have one or more blocked coronary arteries. By having one or more blocked arteries it puts the patient at greater risk of having a heart attack.
A Coronary angiogram is a procedure that uses dye and x-rays to see the blood flow in the patient's heart.
Coronary Angiogram Procedure
Before the procedure the patient is given a mild sedative to help them to relax. The cardiologist usually numbs an area on the arm or groin of the patient where the anaesthetic is put and then passes a catheter through an artery and moves it up towards the heart. X-rays help the doctor to position the catheter. Dye is then injected into the catheter and x-ray images are taken of the dye to see how the blood flows through the patient's heart. This procedure usually takes 30 to 60 minutes to complete. This procedure will help the cardiologist to see if there is any blockage in the coronary arteries which may lead to future angina, chest pain, or heart failure.
Coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) bypasses clogged arteries in the heart to improve blood flow to the heart and prevent more serious heart problems.
At the beginning of this procedure the doctor will put the patient under general anaesthesia to put them asleep. The surgeon will then open the chest and breastbone in the middle so they can reach the patient's heart. Special tubes are then attached to the veins and arteries close to the heart. The blood is then rerouted from the heart to a heart-lung bypass machine which will take over the job of the heart and lungs while the heart is being worked on. The heart will then be chemically stopped so the doctor can work on the heart. The bypass machine will circulate the blood to ensure it is continually circulating. Veins taken from the legs or from arteries going to the chest wall are used to bypass the clogged arteries in the heart. Once the new vessels are connected, blood can flow through them much easier than the clogged arteries. This process of taking blood vessels and connecting them to another part of the body is called grafting. The decision on what kind of graft to use depends on how many arteries need bypassing and the quality of the blood vessels. After the graft is complete the surgeons will restart the heart and blood will then flow back through the heart again. Pacing wires are placed on the surface of the heart and will be hooked up to a machine called a pacer. The wires are usually pulled out a few days later. The doctor then restarts the heart and the breast bone is sutured together with the chest and leg incisions being closed.
Coronary artery bypass grafting is used to treat individuals who have serious coronary heart disease that could lead to a potential heart attack. It is also recommended for individuals who have heart damage following a heart attack but still has blocked arteries. Coronary artery bypass grafting may also be recommended if the individual have severe blockages in the large coronary arteries that supply a major part of the heart muscle with blood- especially if the patients heart's pumping action has already been weakened.
Pacemakers are devices that are used to treat arrhythmia which is a condition where the patient has problems with the rate or rhythm of their heartbeat. A heartbeat that beats too fast is called tachycardia, and a heartbeat that beats too slowly is called bradycardia. A pacemaker can relieve some arrhythmia symptoms as well as help a person who has an abnormal heartbeat lead a more active lifestyle.
Types of Electronic PacemakersThere are three different types of pacemakers that an individual can get inserted within them. These include:
- Single chamber pacemaker: Stimulates the atria or ventricles
- Dual chamber pacemaker: Stimulates both the atria and ventricles
- Rate responsive pacemaker: Uses special sensors that detect a need to increase and decrease your heart rate when necessary.
Pacemakers are recommended to individuals who have bradycardia and heart block. Bradycardia as states above is a slow then normal heartbeat. A heart block can occur from aging, damage to the heart from a heart attack or other heart conditions. A pacemaker may also be recommended to individuals who take certain heart medication, who have long QT syndrome or who have symptoms of a slow heartbeat. Pacemakers also may be beneficial to individuals who have certain types of congenital heart disease or it may be placed into someone after a heart transplant.
At the start of the procedure the doctor will give the patient a local anaesthetic to freeze the area in which the pacemaker will be inserted. The individual receiving the pacemaker will be awake but kept relaxed during the procedure. The pacemaker procedure usually takes 30 to 60 minutes to complete. When the pacemaker is getting set the individual probably will not feel any pain just a pressure sensation. After it is placed inside of the patient a few tests will be performed to ensure that the pacemaker is working properly. The pacemaker incision should only be three to four inches long.
Stem cells are located in adult bone marrow and fat, as well as other tissues and organs of the body. These cells have the ability to repair damaged tissue, but in individuals with degenerative diseases they are not released quick enough to fully repair damaged tissue.
Adult stem cells can be extracted from many areas of the body, including the bone marrow, fat, and peripheral blood. Once the cells have been harvested, they are sent to the lab where they are purified and assessed for quality before being reintroduced back into the patient. Since the stem cells come from the patient there is no possibility for rejection.
Fat derived stem cells not only can develop into new tissues but they also suppress pathological immune responses as seen in autoimmune diseases. Bone marrow stem cells are the most studied stem cell as they were discovered in the 1960's. They were originally used for leukemia's and hematopoietic diseases but now are also used for peripheral vascular disease, diabetes, heart failure, and other degenerative disorders.
Before the stem cell implantation for cardiovascular diseases the patient will go for blood tests at the clinic to undergo a full physical assessment. The patient will then have bone marrow collected from the patient's hip bone while they are under local anaesthesia. The stem cells are then processed from the bone marrow in the laboratory. These cells are capable of regenerating or repairing damaged heart tissue. The stem cells are then implanted back into the patient by angiography under local anaesthesia or intravenously in cases where angiography is not advisable. Once the cells have been implanted patients stay at the hospital overnight to be monitored overnight and the next day. They then can return home the next day.
Valve repair/replacement surgery is done to repair and replace diseased heart valves.
Valve Repair/Replacement Procedure
Before the surgery the patient will be given general anaesthesia so they are able to sleep and are unable to feel pain during surgery. The doctor will then make a surgical cut in the patient's breastbone so he/she is able to reach the heart and aorta. The patient will then be connected to a heart-lung bypass machine which will act as their heart while they are in surgery and as the doctors stop their heart.
If the doctor can cover the valve he/she may conduct a ring annoloplasty where he/she repairs the ring-like part around the valve by sewing a ring of metal, cloth, or tissue around the valve. He/she may also conduct a valve repair where the surgeon trims, shapes, or rebuilds one or more of the leaflets of the valve. The leaflets are the flaps that open and close the valve. If the doctor can't repair the valve because it's too damaged then the doctor will replace the valve. There are two different types of valves the surgeon can repair an old valve with. The two main types are a mechanical and biological valve. A mechanical valve is made up of man-made materials such as cloth, metal, or ceramic. These valves usually last the longest but the patient will need to take blood thinning medicine such as warfarin or aspirin for their entire life. A biological valve is made of human or animal tissues and lasts 12 to 15 years. With this type of valve the patient may not need to take blood thinners for your whole life.
This surgery is recommended for individuals who have a valve that does not work properly. A valve that leaks and does not close all the way or does not open all the way may also benefit from a valve repair or replacement.