What is Palpitation?
Palpitation is a feeling of awareness of your own heart beat.
It is usually described as heart rate being either too fast (racing), too slow or a sensation of missing a beat.
Types of palpitations?
Normal (Benign) -
These palpitations occur as a response to physical or mental stress like exercise, fever, pain, fear, anxiety etc.
They are harmless and settle on their own once the precipitating factors disappear. They do not require any medical treatment.
These palpitations occur due to some underlying abnormality in either the structure of heart or the beating of heart.
These can be dangerous and at times life threatening. They may or may not settle on their own and require some medical treatment.
Warning signs that suggest palpitations are abnormal?
Palpitations are abnormal if they are associated with chest heaviness, chest pain, uneasiness, sweating, weakness, giddiness, feeling of black out, fainting, nausea, vomiting, seizures.
Palpitations are more likely to be abnormal In people who have some existing heart disease and these patients should report to their doctor at the earliest.
What to do during palpitations?
Call for help. (If u are alone avoid driving, use a taxi or auto) Go to your nearest hospital/doctor and try to get an ECG during the palpitations. If you are helping someone having palpitations, if they faint, call for help, start CPR if they remain unresponsive and take them to the nearest hospita
Which doctor can treat palpitations?
Which investigations are used to diagnose palpitations?
ECG - Taken during palpitations and when the patient is normal is a very helpful tool.
Holter - Externally applied recorder which continuously records heart rhythm for 24 hrs.
ELR - Extended looper recorder, is like holter, but it records rhythm for longer durations.
ILR - Internal loop recorde is attached within the body for recording rhythm for long duration.
EPS - Electrophysiology study, is the most sure shot test to diagnose, identify and treat
What is EPS?
EPS stands for Electrophysiology study. By this test a trained electro-physiologist studies the conduction and formation system of heart beat, to understand the source, cause and type of palpitation.
It is a simple and safe procedure of 2-3 hours and can be done as a day care procedure (by admitting the patient for a few hours in hospital, with discharge on same day).
It requires fasting for 4 hrs, some standard blood investigations and is done with local anaesthesia and if required it can be combined with treatment like ablation in the same sitting.
In the procedure electro-physiologist take catheters into your heart to study and stimulate the palpitations and understand them. Once found they can use various techniques to stop the palpitations, the techniques are called Ablation.
What are the treatment options available for palpitations?
There are many options depending upon the nature of palpitations and condition of the patient -
Cardioversion - where either a drug or electric shock is given to stop palpitations immediately.
Ablations using many sophisticated computer softwares
Device Therapy like ICD (Internal cardiac defibrillator)
Combination of all the above therapies.
Your Electrophysiologist and you as a team can make a choice about the options that will be best for you.
Heart failure is a condition in which the heart can't pump enough blood to meet the body's needs. Heart failure does not mean that your heart has stopped or is about to stop working. It means that your heart is not able to pump blood the way it should. It can affect one or both sides of the heart.
The weakening of the heart's pumping ability causes:
Common causes of heart failure are coronary artery disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. It is more common in people who are 65 years old or older, African Americans, people who are overweight, and people who have had a heart attack. Men have a higher rate of heart failure than women.
Your doctor will diagnose heart failure by doing a physical exam and heart tests. Treatment includes treating the underlying cause of your heart failure, medicines, and heart transplantation if other treatments fail.
An arrhythmia is a problem with the speed or rhythm of the heartbeat. Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common type of arrhythmia. The cause is a disorder in the heart's electrical system.
Often, people who have AF may not even feel symptoms. But you may feel
Doctors diagnose AF using family and medical history, a physical exam, and a test called an electrocardiogram (EKG), which looks at the electrical waves your heart makes. Treatments include medicines and procedures to restore normal rhythm.
Lipid profiling since 20 can prevent heart ailments: doctors
Lipid profiling -- blood tests that screen for abnormalities in lipids, such as cholesterol and triglycerides from the age of 20 years can help detect heart ailments at an early stage.
Image for representational purpose only
Lipid profiling -- blood tests that screen for abnormalities in lipids, such as cholesterol and triglycerides from the age of 20 years can help detect heart ailments at an early stage, revealed doctors on thursday.
According to them, a person may be at high risk of heart attack if the levels of high-density lipoproteins (hdl), low-density lipoprotein (ldl) and triglycerides -- causes of heart ailments -- are high.
These should be screened early, especially if the person is a smoker, obese, has blood sugar level on the higher side or there is a family history of heart ailments.
This blood test (lipid profiling) indicates results of the levels of hdl, ldl and triglycerides. An annual frequency of the test is recommended for people with diabetes or heart issues.
According to the world health organization, cardiovascular diseases would be the largest cause of death and disability in india by 2020. By 2030, it is expected that 23 million people will die from cardiovascular diseases annually.
Medical science says that lipid profile also helps in diagnosis and making decisions about what treatment would be best if there is borderline or high risk, if found positive for heart ailments. Monitoring and maintaining healthy levels of these lipids is important in staying healthy.
Chabbra urged people to maintain the body mass index (bmi) within the normal range (19 to 25), as it could determine the risk for developing obesity, another cause for heart ailments.
According to the world heart federation, at least 80 per cent of premature deaths from heart diseases and stroke could be avoided if the main risk factors tobacco, unhealthy diet and physical inactivity are controlled.
If you had to choose between living a life of restrictions and a life of freedom, you'd choose the latter right? This is a decision most patients have to take when diagnosed with heart disease. However, thanks to medical advancements such as the pacemaker, they get to choose a life of freedom too, just like you.
In simple terms, a pacemaker is a tiny device helps people with irregular heart rhythms to quite effectively, maintain the 'pace' of their normal lifestyle. It is best suited for patients suffering from arrhythmias or the abnormal beating of the heart and heart block as well. As a matter of fact, for many people who have had a pacemaker fitted, things such as fainting, dizziness and other undesirable symptoms which have been known to be part and parcel of arrhythmias have become a thing of the past.
How it Works?
A pacemaker provides for the regular beating of the heart by providing electrical impulses which have a low intensity to the heart so as to induce it to beat in a normal manner. It is a small device which is composed of a battery whose energy works to power a computerized generator and a small albeit intricate system of wires attached to sensors, which are alternatively known as electrodes which observe the functioning of the heart.
For those who are planning to have a pacemaker implanted, it would be reassuring to know that there is a lot of due diligence which is a part of installing a pacemaker. The minor surgery which is required for it to be installed is completed in the span of a few hours.
It is to be noted that even after the installation is complete, a patient will have a day or so spent under the careful and watchful observation of the doctor and nurses so as to make sure that the pacemaker is functioning all but perfectly.
Post Op. Care:
There is a short period of recovery following which a person can resume his or her normal activities. But just as the pacemaker goes a long way in making its wearer's life easier, the wearer has a few responsibilities but there needs to be minimal concern with respect to its maintenance.
The batteries of pacemakers last about six to seven years, and for some pacemakers which are not that active, the battery need not be replaced till about fifteen years after the date of implantation.
Another precaution patients with patients need to take is that they stay out of zones of high magnetic energy, especially for sustained periods.
Besides these minor safety measures there are tremendous benefits of installing a pacemaker. It is truly life changing in every sense of the term. It helps you live life with a dose of renewed vigour, allowing you to indulge without regret!
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
Many children are born with Atrial Septal Defect, a condition which is popularly known as holes in the heart. It is a major concern for most parents, but, thankfully it can be treated very easily. None of the parents want their child to undergo hospitalization and the resulting pain that treatments might incur. However, the good news is all kinds of heart holes do not need to be closed by surgery at all. Many a time the holes are filled over time naturally and the child only needs to be under medical observation that’s all.
In case a surgery needs to be performed, given the hole(s) in your child’s heart is medium to large sized, the surgeon makes sure that the procedure is painless. One of the commonest surgeries is one that involves the use of a catheter. Here, a catheter is attached to an umbrella-shaped device (a disk) and the apparatus is inserted through the groin region. The device is designed to reach your child’s heart and attach a disk to the hole, thereby filling it. When the process reaches completion the catheter is taken out of the body. The good thing about this surgery is that by six months natural tissues grow over the surgical site and re-operation is not required.
Open Heart Surgery
Another type of surgery that is performed to treat Atrial Septal Defect is an open heart surgery. This is only carried out only when the condition is serious. In this surgery too, the child is given medications that allow him/her to sleep throughout the procedure. Using a bypass machine the surgeons opens the heart and while the surgery is on, this machine imitates the pumping of the heart. The surgeon then uses a patch like a device to seal off the hole(s). Post surgery the child is discharged from the hospital within a week. There will be some guidelines that the concerned doctor might acquaint you with pertaining to the post-treatment care of the child. He/she might prepare a diet chart for your child.
Ventricular Septal Defect
Ventricular Septal Defect is a condition where a hole develops around the wall which separates the lower chambers of the heart. In most cases, the hole closes in on its own. If the hole is medium or large sized, a surgery will be performed. With surgery, your child would go back to leading a normal life. It is just that you need to take special care of his/her diet. The doctor might recommend foods that are high in calories. Make sure you follow the doctor’s advice properly and watch your child going back to bounding and playing like other children in no time.
Heart diseases are the number one killer in the U.S. They are also a major cause of disability. If you do have a heart disease, it is important to find it early, when it is easier to treat. Blood tests and heart health tests can help find heart diseases or identify problems that can lead to heart diseases. There are several different types of heart health tests. Your doctor will decide which test or tests you need, based on your symptoms (if any), risk factors, and medical history.
Echocardiography, or echo, is a painless test that uses sound waves to create moving pictures of your heart. The pictures show the size and shape of your heart. They also show how well your heart's chambers and valves are working. Doctors use an echo to diagnose many different heart problems, and to check how severe they are.
For the test, a technician applies gel to your chest. The gel helps sound waves reach your heart. The technician moves a transducer (wand-like device) around on your chest. The transducer connects to a computer. It transmits ultrasound waves into your chest, and the waves bounce (echo) back. The computer converts the echoes into pictures of your heart.
An electrocardiogram, also called an ECG or EKG, is a painless test that detects and records your heart's electrical activity. It shows how fast your heart is beating and whether its rhythm is steady or irregular.
An EKG may be part of a routine exam to screen for heart disease. Or you may get it to detect and study heart problems such as heart attacks, arrhythmia, and heart failure.
For the test, you lie still on a table and a nurse or technician attaches electrodes (patches that have sensors) to the skin on your chest, arms, and legs. Wires connect the electrodes to a machine that records your heart's electrical activity.
Stress testing looks at how your heart works during physical stress. It can help to diagnose coronary artery disease, and to check how severe it is. It can also check for other problems, including heart valve disease and heart failure.
For the test, you exercise (or are given medicine if you are unable to exercise) to make your heart work hard and beat fast. While this is happening, you get an EKG and blood pressure monitoring. Sometimes you may also have an echocardiogram, or other imaging tests such as a nuclear scan. For the nuclear scan, you get an injection of a tracer (a radioactive substance), which travels to your heart. Special cameras detect the energy from the tracer to make pictures of your heart. You have pictures taken after you exercise, and then after you rest.
Cardiac catheterization is a medical procedure used to diagnose and treat some heart conditions. For the procedure, your doctor puts a catheter (a long, thin, flexible tube) into a blood vessel in your arm, groin, or neck, and threads it to your heart. The doctor can use the catheter to
A cardiac CT (computed tomography) scan is a painless imaging test that uses x-rays to take detailed pictures of your heart and its blood vessels. Computers can combine these pictures to create a three-dimensional (3D) model of the whole heart. This test can help doctors detect or evaluate
Before you have the test, you get an injection of contrast dye. The dye highlights your heart and blood vessels in the pictures. The CT scanner is a large, tunnel-like machine. You lie still on a table which slides you into the scanner, and the scanner takes the pictures for about 15 minutes.
Cardiac MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) is a painless imaging test that uses radio waves, magnets, and a computer to create detailed pictures of your heart. It can help your doctor figure out whether you have heart disease, and if so, how severe it is. A cardiac MRI can also help your doctor decide the best way to treat heart problems such as
The MRI is a large, tunnel-like machine. You lie still on a table which slides you into the MRI machine. The machine makes loud noises as it takes pictures of your heart. It usually takes about 30-90 minutes. Sometimes before the test, you might get an injection of contrast dye. The dye highlights your heart and blood vessels in the pictures.
A chest x-ray creates pictures of the organs and structures inside your chest, such as your heart, lungs, and blood vessels. It can reveal signs of heart failure, as well as lung disorders and other causes of symptoms not related to heart disease.
Coronary angiography (angiogram) is a procedure that uses contrast dye and x-ray pictures to look at the insides of your arteries. It can show whether plaque is blocking your arteries and how severe the blockage is. Doctors use this procedure to diagnose heart diseases after chest pain, sudden cardiac arrest, or abnormal results from other heart tests such as an EKG or a stress test.
You usually have a cardiac catheterization to get the dye into your coronary arteries. Then you have special x-rays while the dye is flowing through your coronary arteries. The dye lets your doctor study the flow of blood through your heart and blood vessels.
A person usually gets a heart attack when there is a blockage in the arteries of the heart. This is an emergency situation that can result in a fatality or death if it is not treated immediately. Not all heart attacks will have a crushing pain in the chest right in the beginning, there are a number of symptoms that can show the slow progression of this attack over a few hours. So how do you know if you are having a heart attack, and what kind of treatment will be required? This article seeks to answer all your questions.
Discomfort in the Chest: The patient will usually feel like there is some pressure and squeezing in the chest or pain or even fullness right in the centre. This pain can come and go every few minutes and it should not be ignored.
Pain and Discomfort in other Parts of the Body: There may be some amount of pain and discomfort in other parts of the body including the arms, the jawline, back, neck, stomach and even the teeth. This pain can also travel down to the abdomen above umbilicus. In case there is persistent pain along with the chest discomfort, then a doctor must be contacted immediately.
Other Symptoms: When you feel breathless without any reason or medical cause, and also when you experience symptoms like anxiety, indigestion, vomiting, nausea, light headedness, dizzy spells and fatigue, you may be suffering from a heart attack.
Immediate Treatment: Once you begin to experience these symptoms along with chest discomfort and chest pain, it is imperative to call the emergency unit of the nearest hospital or get in touch with a cardiologist. Until then, you will need to lie down and chew aspirin if you are not allergic to the same. This is usually more efficient that swallowing.
Diagnosis of heart attack: Heart attack is diagnosed if patient has 2 criteria out of following 3-
Pain or discomfort thought to be due to heart disease
ECG suggestive of heart attack
Elevated levels of cardiac enzymes (CK-MB and Troponin) in blood test (these levels start rising after 6 to 12 hours of heart attack)
Once you reach doctor an ECG should be done immediately along with blood pressure and pulse. If ECG shows heart attack then immediate action needs to be taken. Remember a normal first ECG does not rule out a heart attack. So a series of ECGs may be ordered by the doctor and at proper time blood test of cardiac enzymes may be done. Ruling out a heart attack may need an observation and testing up to 6 – 12 hours as cardiac enzyme test shows results only after that period.
Most of the symptoms of a panic attack are physical, and many times these symptoms are so severe that people think they’re having a heart attack. In fact, many people suffering from panic attacks make repeated trips to the doctor or the emergency room in an attempt to get treatment for what they believe is a life-threatening medical problem. While it’s important to rule out possible medical causes of symptoms such as chest pain, heart palpitations, or difficulty breathing, it’s often panic that is overlooked as a potential cause—not the other way around.
Once the heart surgery is complete, the initial recovery process from the wounds and incisions can take almost two months. The doctor will give you instructions on how to take care of yourself post-surgery so you recuperate faster and be back in the pink of health.
Road to recovery