Conditions we treat
- Arrythmias (Heart Rhythm) Issues
- Coronary Artery Disease (Heart Blockage) Issues
- Congestive Heart Failure (Weakened Heart) Issues
- Valvular Heart Disease (Heart Valve) Issues
- Structural Heart Disease (ASD/PFO) Issues
Arrythmias (Heart Rhythm) Issues
What are Arrythmias Issues? Symptoms? Treatments?
Arrythmias are issues with your heart rate or rhythm. It may mean irregular heartbeats (Atrial Fibrillation), early or extra heart beats (PACs, PVCs), Fast heartbeats (Tachycardia) or Slow Heatbeats (Bradycardia) and everything in between. Typical symptoms range from no symptoms to passing out. Some people experience a “fluttering” sensation in the chest and others describe a lump in the throat or a hiccup with each early beat or even indigestion or lightheadedness. Symptoms vary from patient to patient. The diagnosis requires catching the abnormal heartbeat on a monitor. This may include an EKG, a heart monitor (Holter or Event Monitor) or even a new smart watch which can detect irregular heart rhythms. The key to diagnosis is to determine the heart rhythms which are more of a minor symptom nuisance versus those which are a danger. Treatment may be as simple as monitoring for symptoms to medications to reduce the events. Some patients benefit from more invasive treatments tailored for their condition. Contact us at info@texasC3.com to see what you qualify for.
Coronary Artery Disease (Heart Blockage) Issues
What is Coronary Artery Disease? Issues? Symptoms? Treatments?
Coronary artery disease is the buildup of cholesterol plaques in the arteries that supply the blood flow to the heart. The heart has 3 major arteries, the Left Anterior Descending (LAD, aka “the Widow Maker”), the Left Circumfles (LCx) and the Right Coronary Artery (RCA). Each of these have branches off of them. Blockage of mild to moderate degrees (up to 70%) can be managed with diet, lifestyle change and medications such as cholesterol medicines. Symptoms like chest pain, shortness of breath, fatigue and others typically occur when the blockage is >70% narrowed. This leads to a decrease in blood supply for increased demand, for instance when you are active. Walking, carrying bags, going up stairs and exertion worsen heart pain typically. However, symptoms of coronary artery disease may also occur at rest. Although a squeezing or pressure in the chest is often how people describe coronary artery symptoms, heart disease doesn’t read the textbook. In some patients it may be simply fatigue, or shortness of breath or indigestion. Evaluation usually requires a stress test. These can be done with a treadmill and an imaging portion (either a sonogram/stress echo) or a camera picture (nuclear stress) without exercising on a treadmill using an injection that simulates exercise for those who can’t walk on a treadmill. Both tests are extremely safe and are done in the office. If blockages are suspected, treatments range from prevention and diet control with cholesterol medications to cardiac stents (medicated metal sleeves placed in the artery with minimally invasive techniques) to open heart surgery. If you are concerned, contact us at info@texasC3.com
Congestive Heart Failure (Weakened Heart) Issues
What is Congestive Heart Failure? Issues? Symptoms? Treatments?
Congestive Heart Failure is the term for “weakened heart muscle” or systolic heart failure. There are multiple reasons the heart may weaken that include blockages and previous heart attacks leading to scar tissue on the heart (ischemic heart failure) or even viral syndromes that effect the heart (viral cardiomyopathy). Other forms of congestive heart failure include normal functioning heart function with inability for the heart to relax between beats, leading to a stiff heart called diastolic heart failure. The prognosis and outcome have become exceedingly good with the diagnosis of congestive heart failure with new medications which can help strengthen the heart and reduce hospitalizations. The symptoms typically include shortness of breath with exertion like climbing stairs or when worsening shortness of breath occurs when just lying flat. In addition, weight gain from fluid build up in the lungs and legs can occur over short periods of time, typically a gain of 5 pounds over a one week timeframe. Patients with CHF can reduce the symptoms or problems by taking their medications regularly and avoiding habits that increase fluid retention, like salt intake, etc. In addition, if blockages are the cause of the congestive heart failure, cardiac stents and other treatments may be necessary. Typical testing includes an echocardiogram (heart function test) to determine the ejection fraction (EF) percentage. A normal ejection fraction is between 50-70%. Contact us at info@texasC3.com if you are curious about your ejection fraction or have symptoms of CHF. We also have remote monitoring systems with BP cuffs, weight scales and smart watches to follow your condition wirelessly and as an outpatient between office visits to increase your connection to your doctors at C3.
Valvular Heart Disease (Heart Valve) Issues
What is Valvular Heart Disease? Issues? Symptoms? Treatments?
Heart valves are the cardiac structures, shaped like flaps, that open and close between heart chambers allowing blood to flow to the body’s organs from the heart with each heartbeat. The valves, when functioning normally, prevent backward flow of blood between the heart chambers. There are four major valves called the Aortic Valve, Mitral Valve, Pulmonic Valve and Tricuspid Valve. Aortic stenosis, one of the most common valve issues occurs when the aortic valve stiffens and calcifies with age and becomes narrowed and opens less than completely with time. Aortic Stenosis is a common condition which leads to symptoms of shortness of breath, chest pain and sometimes dizziness or passing out if it becomes severe. The sound of the blood going through a leaking or narrowed valve is heard by the cardiologist using a stethoscope and is called a heart “murmur”. As the valve gets narrower, the symptoms can worsen. The good news is that the treatment for critical aortic stenosis is now recommended with a stent valve replacement called TAVR or (Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement) instead of open surgery. The cardiologists at C3 have been performing TAVR procedures since 2012 and were involved in the original clinical trials testing the devices compared to surgery. Now, this procedure is done through a small incision in the groins instead of open surgery and recovery is typically one day instead of one week or longer. Other valves, such as the Mitral Valve which tend to leak more commonly than narrow, can also be treated with minimally invasive “clip” procedures such as the MitraClip instead of surgery as well. Contact the cardiologists at C3 at info@texasC3.com if you were told you may need heart valve surgery. There may be a less invasive option.
Structural Heart Disease (ASD/PFO) Issues
What is Structural Heart Disease? Issues? Symptoms? Treatments?
Patients may be born with a heart condition described as a PFO (Patent Foramen Ovale) or ASD (Atrial Septal Defect) also known as a “hole in the heart. These conditions are present at birth and the hole may have never closed normally as infants. The good news is that most of the PFO’s do not need treatment unless you have symptoms from them. Typical symptom would be from a small clot traveling across the hole and leading to a stoke or mini-stroke (TIA) or transient ischemic attack. If you or a loved one has a stroke at a young age, less than 50, you should be sure it was not caused by a PFO. This can be done with heart testing offered at Connected Cardiovascular Care Associates. Alternatively, ASD’s can lead to heart enlargement and may need to be fixed prior to becoming symptomatic with shortness of breath. Again, the treatment of both conditions is now done with minimally invasive treatments which include a “clam-shell” closure device which can seal the hole through a tiny groin incision done as an outpatient procedure avoiding open heart surgery. Dr. Das has performed over 1000 PFO/ASD procedures over the course of his career and is considered a national expert in their treatment. Many patients with a PFO do not need closure, so if you are seeking a second opinion on the topic feel free to contact us at info@texasC3.com with any questions.