Learn More About Irregular Heartbeat [Infographic]

Learn More About Irregular Heartbeat [Inforgraphic]

Learn More About Irregular Heartbeat [Inforgraphic]

Heart arrhythmias occur when there is a change to the normal sequence of electrical impulses that coordinate heartbeats. This can result in the heart beating too fast, too slow or irregularly, which can affect whether blood is being pumped effectively within the body.

Learn more about the symptoms and risk factors of heart arrhythmia below. If you begin experiencing these symptoms, it’s important to seek medical attention immediately.

Colon Cancer Risk Factors and Warning Signs

If you are experiencing an irregular heartbeat or palpitations, schedule an appointment with a health care provider or learn more about available health screenings

Is Your Mammogram Doing Double Duty?

Is Your Mammogram Doing Double Duty?

Routine screenings for breast cancer can help identify calcium buildup — a sign of potentially serious coronary artery disease.

Calcium deposits can collect over time and block your coronary arteries, leading to heart attack and impaired heart function. These deposits are generally detected through coronary calcium scans — detailed imaging of the heart arteries. Now, researchers have found that women whose mammograms reveal calcium deposits in their breast tissue may benefit from talking with their doctors about their coronary artery health.

Research Reveals Link

In a 2016 study published by JACC: Cardiovascular Imaging, nearly 300 women were evaluated for calcium buildup in their hearts and breasts. Researchers found that seven out of 10 women with calcium buildup in their breast arteries also had calcium buildup in their hearts.

Dr. Brian Mattingly“Research is the first step to understanding the connection between breast artery calcification and coronary artery calcification,” said Brian Mattingly, MD, breast imaging radiologist with Medical Center Jewish East, part of KentuckyOne Health. “This could give us another tool for identifying coronary artery disease and helping patients who suffer from it.”

Next Steps

Risk factors for coronary artery calcification include advanced age, diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol and a history of smoking. Coronary artery calcification can take years to develop and is often a symptom-free condition until it is advanced.

Mammogram results that include signs of breast calcium buildup can help start conversations about heart disease before the condition becomes serious. If calcium buildup is discovered, doctors can perform further screenings to determine if patients also have other known risks of heart disease, such as high cholesterol, or if the buildup is a symptom of more advanced coronary artery disease.

“Mammograms are already a useful tool and could prove even more beneficial once additional studies tell us more about their potential for identifying coronary artery disease,” Dr. Mattingly said. “We’re excited to see where this research leads and about carefully applying it to our patient population once more evidence and best practices are established.”

To schedule your digital mammogram today, find a location near you or call 502.587.4327.

This article originally appeared in the 2017 Fall edition of One Health Magazine. Sign up for your free subscription.

Get Heart Smart

Get Heart Smart

Get Heart Smart

Your vascular system carries blood to and from the heart. Vascular disease can take many different forms. It ranges from diseases of the veins, arteries and lymph vessels to blood disorders.

Poor vascular health can cause arteries to become thick and stiff (a condition known as atherosclerosis), create blood clots that can block blood flow to the heart or brain, and weaken blood vessels to the point of bursting.

Dr. Stephen Self“Many of the vascular diseases are silent and often go unnoticed until they eventually lead to major problems,” said Stephen Self, MD, vascular surgeon at KentuckyOne Health Vascular Surgery Associates. “It’s crucial that people are aware of the risk factors and become proactive about their health.”

Knowing the Risk Factors

 

Despite the sly nature of many vascular diseases, there are some controllable and uncontrollable risk factors you should know about, including:

  • Age — People 50 and older are at greatest risk.
  • Smoking — Smoke inhalation increases vascular damage.
  • Lack of exercise — Contributes to fat storage, muscle loss and low energy
  • Obesity — A common sign of poor vascular health
  • Unhealthy diet — Poor diets can increase bad cholesterol levels and high blood pressure.
  • Genetics — Your family medical history can help define your risk.
  • Diabetes — Diabetes is linked to several vascular diseases, including atherosclerosis, stroke and peripheral artery disease.

Protecting Yourself

 

“I recommend people with increased risk of vascular disease, such as those who smoke or have high blood pressure or high cholesterol, and anyone over the age of 50, get vascular screenings,” Dr. Self said. “They are completely painless and can ultimately save your life.”

Because vascular disease symptoms are sometimes silent, people may not recognize there is an issue until it worsens. Why take the chance? In just 30 minutes, a vascular screening can assess your risk and help you start reducing it.

To speak with one of our vascular experts, call KentuckyOne Health Vascular Surgery Associates at 844.318.1676.

To schedule a vascular screening, call 844.318.1688 (select option 2 and then 1).

This article originally appeared in the 2017 Summer edition of One Health Magazine. Sign up for your free subscription.

Other articles you may be interested in:

Get Rhythm, Not the Blues

Get Rhythm, Not the Blues

Get Rhythm, Not the Blues

Abnormal heart rhythms can affect your health. Do you know the signs?

Each beat of your heart begins with a series of electrical impulses. These signals tell the heart muscle when to contract and when to relax, pushing blood into your arteries and keeping you alive.

When signals are disrupted or abnormal, an arrhythmia — an issue with the rhythm of your heart that affects its ability to efficiently pump blood — can result. An arrhythmia can cause your heart to beat too fast or too slow, skip beats, or take additional beats.

Increasing Your Risk for Stroke

Atrial fibrillation (AFib) is the most common type of arrhythmia that increases a person’s risk for stroke. Individuals with AFib may notice a fluttering in the chest and/or fatigue, although many do not experience symptoms.

“Our primary goal when treating AFib is preventing stroke,” says Sameh Lamiy, MD, electrophysiologist with KentuckyOne Health Cardiology Associates in Lexington. “AFib symptoms may be uncomfortable, but having a stroke can be crippling. We use medications to control heart rhythm and rate, and blood thinners to reduce the risk of blood clots and stroke.”

Getting Back on Beat

If medications don’t manage an arrhythmia effectively, physicians may recommend a procedure, such as a pacemaker implantation (device to maintain heart rate) or ablation (use of heat or cold to destroy the area causing the heart rhythm problem). Regardless of the problem, the first step is to seek medical advice.

“Heart rhythm disorders can range from benign conditions to life-threatening problems,” said Rakesh Gopinathannair, MD, director of cardiac electrophysiology at Jewish Hospital, part of KentuckyOne Health. “If you have symptoms, have a heart rhythm specialist take a look. Simple tests can figure out if we need to intervene.”

Watch the video below to learn more about treating AFib.

Alternative to Blood Thinners for Patients with AFib

Now available at Jewish Hospital, part of KentuckyOne Health, the WATCHMAN™ device may eliminate the need for long-term use of blood thinners for some patients with nonvalvular atrial fibrillation (AFib).

“This is a therapy revolution for stroke prevention in these patients,” said Dr. Gopinathannair. “If you have been told you need to take blood thinners for the rest of your life because of AFib, this could be a great alternative.”

Call Jewish Hospital Heart Rhythm Care at 844.297.8981 to find out more information about the WATCHMAN procedure.

This article originally appeared in the Spring 2017 edition of One Health magazine. Receive more health and wellness news and information by signing up for your free subscription to One Health.

Solving Structural Heart Problems

Read Solving Structural Heart Problems

Solving Structural Heart Problems
When the valves and chambers in your heart aren’t working correctly, a specialized heart team with experience can make the difference.

Structural heart disease describes any defect with the anatomy of your heart or chambers. Whether it’s the valves that control blood flow, the chambers that make up your heart or a problem with the aorta, structural heart disease can lower your quality of life and put you at increased risk for potentially life-threatening heart health concerns, such as heart failure or stroke.

Some common structural heart problems include:

  • Valve stenosis (narrowing). When blood flows from one area of the heart or body to another, it passes through a valve, which acts as a gateway in or out of the heart. The aortic valve controls blood flow from the heart to the rest of the body. The mitral valve controls blood flow between the two chambers on the left side of the heart. And the pulmonary valve controls blood flow out of the heart and into the lungs. All can have narrowing. Left untreated, valve stenosis can cause irregular heartbeat, stroke, heart failure or loss of life.
  • Mitral valve regurgitation. When the mitral valve does not close properly, it can allow blood to flow backward, leading to heart failure and arrhythmia. Degenerative mitral regurgitation (wear and tear) along with mitral valve regurgitation caused by other conditions, such as coronary artery disease or heart muscle problems, are common causes of mitral regurgitation. If severe enough, mitral valve regurgitation can cause heart failure.
  • Atrial septal defect (ASD). A wall of tissue separates the upper chambers of the heart. An ASD is a hole in the tissue that allows oxygen-rich blood to flow into the oxygen-poor part of the heart. Symptoms vary depending on the size of the hole.

Treatment Requires a Skilled Team

Although medications can sometimes be used to manage symptoms of structural heart problems, surgery or a minimally invasive procedure may be the best treatment option.

“This subset of heart disorders is very complex and requires a collaborative team approach to address effectively,” said Nezar Falluji, MD, MPH, FACC, FSCAI, board-certified interventional cardiologist with KentuckyOne Health Cardiology Associates–Lexington. “At KentuckyOne Health, we offer a comprehensive, multidisciplinary approach. We combine the skills of interventional cardiologists, who specialize in structural heart disease, with those of cardiovascular surgeons to provide the best evidence-based pharmacologic, minimally invasive and surgical intervention care.”

A Minimally Invasive Approach to Treating AVS

If you are dealing with aortic valve stenosis (AVS), you know how exhausting the condition can be. For patients with severe AVS who are not ideal candidates for surgical replacement, implanting a prosthetic aortic valve using a minimally invasive approach saves lives and improves quality of life. This approach is known as transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR).

At Saint Joseph Hospital and Jewish Hospital, both part of KentuckyOne Health, physicians use a catheter to place the replacement valve within the old, damaged valve, almost like a stent. The new valve takes over, and normal blood flow is restored. At KentuckyOne Health, TAVR is performed under conscious sedation, which improves patients’ recoveries and decreases hospital length of stay.

“The quality of life prior to aortic valve replacement is poor, and patients with aortic valve stenosis can’t do any type of activity that requires exertion — climbing the stairs, walking more than a block or doing things they want to do become impossible,” said Michael Flaherty, MD, PhD, board-certified interventional cardiologist, associate professor of medicine and physiology at the University of Louisville and director of adult structural heart disease at Jewish Hospital.“Fixing the valve not only improves patients’ quality of life, but is lifesaving. All those limitations are gone. When we perform the replacement with a catheter and use conscious sedation, patients are up and walking around the day of the procedure and go home the next day.”

Fixing Blood Flow Without Surgery

Patients with mitral valve regurgitation also face exhaustion, extreme fatigue and shortness of breath. If you have severe leakage but are not a candidate for surgery, the MitraClip system can help.

Available at Saint Joseph Hospital and Jewish Hospital, this system uses a nonsurgical puncture and a catheter to place a clip on the mitral valve. MitraClip allows the valve to close more completely, reducing the backflow of blood.

This article originally appeared in the Winter 2017 edition of One Health magazine. For more stories like this one, subscribe to One Health today