In the last ten years cardiac procedures have evolved tremendously. Survivability has increased 10 fold with most cardiac diseases. With the advent of computers and research people now have options that people didn’t have 10 years ago. Prevention should be everyone’s top priority, if there is no problem then there is no need to cure it. However, when prevention is not enough there are procedures doctors can do to treat the problem.
For example in atrial fibrillation the wiring on the SA node is faulty. There could be many reasons for this a clot and damage to the heart muscle and wiring on the SA node would cause faulty wiring and atrial fibrillation. Preventing the clot would definitely make a difference, but that is not the case most of the time. Sometimes the wiring problem is inherited (passed down from family member to family member). In some cases cardiologists would perform a specific cardiac procedures such as cardiac ablation (burn part of the heart muscle around the SA node). The procedure is not surgery and there are risks, however doctors and nurses are trained to anticipate problems and are able extinguish them before the problem gets out of hand.
Angiogram is another cardiac procedure to physically look at coronary arteries to see a blood clot after a heart attack or chest pain. By inserting a catheter into an artery on the right side of the body either the arm or groin, they are able to feed it to the arteries of the heart while a continuous x-ray is done called fluoroscopy. This procedure is performed to determine the best treatment option if any. Sometimes the best treatment is not to do anything because if you try to fix it too much you might end breaking it.
Angioplasty is like the diagnostic angiogram however instead of looking at the problem you are inflating a balloon in the clot or narrowing and squeezing it against the wall of the artery opening the artery and allowing the normal blood flow to resume.
Stents are done like the angioplasty but instead of using a balloon to the artery they use tiny scaffolding to hold the clot back and open the artery and keep it open. The problem is that it provides a rough surface for platelets to stick to and creates more blood clots. Stents are not a permanent solution as they generally last about 10 years or so. The need for a blood thinner is paramount.
Watch the video on a Ross procedure that replaces a diseased aortic valve with a patients own pulmonary valve.
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