The trend today, and it’s about time, is the increased us of non-invasive procedures and techniques.
And for “traditional” medicine this is perhaps most evident when it comes to treating heart disease. In fact, the focus on prevention by using cutting edge techniques to discover possible health risks before they become life threatening has saved countless lives.
And one such technique is cardiac catheterization.
For someone like me with a family history of heart disease, this is good news indeed.
Cardiac catherterization, angiography and stenting
Cardiac catheterization is a non-invasive technique that is used to detect for blockages of the coronary arteries.
Valve function and heart function can also be assessed using this technique.
The procedure involves passing a long, thin tube (catheter) through an artery in the leg or wrist to your heart, where a dye is injected and X-Rays are taken. This allows for very accurate assessment of any blockages that may be present. Ultrasound is sometimes used as well during cardiac catheterization in order to detect any blockages in your coronary arteries.
The procedure generally takes 20-30 minutes and is performed in a clinic.
Light sedation and a local anesthetic are usually administered to keep you comfortable during the procedure.
There are rarely any complications using this procedure.
Coronary stent placement and balloon angioplasty
Should any blockages be found at the time of cardiac catheterization these can frequently be treated using less invasive methods, such as coronary stenting.
Once a blockage is identified, a balloon is inserted into your artery until it reaches the blockage. Once there it is inflated in order to stretch open the narrowed artery. A stent (a tiny metal tube used to scaffold the artery) is frequently implanted following balloon angioplasty to keep the artery from collapsing.
There are 2 basic types of stents that are used, bare metal and drug-coated.
Drug-coated stents are preferred as they are 50% less likely to re-narrow. Drug-coated stents require you to take a special blood thinner (Plavix or Effient) for at least a year following the procedure to make sure that no blood clots form inside the stent.
The goal is to prevent heart attacks from happening in the first place.
And each technique mentioned here in the article does just that in a non-invasive manner, without complicated surgery or lengthy hospital stays.
They say that high blood pressure is the “silent killer.”
Well, the same could be said for plaque buildup in your arteries.
And though our blood pressure is checked during routine checkups, the same cannot be said for testing your coronary arteries for possible blockages. Should you or a loved one have a family history of heart disease, perhaps it’s time to schedule an appointment today.
Schedule a medical assessment today
Perhaps now is the best time to schedule an appointment with your doctor regarding your heart health.
And if you’re looking for Connecticut Cardiology clinics or services, consider HeartCare Associates. They have 6 convenient locations in the greater New Haven area, and provide comprehensive medical assessments and services that are designed to improve quality of life and to optimize treatments that improve survival rates.
In fact, their focus is on early detection and prevention.
For more information visit them online at www.heartcareassoc.com.
And for readers in other parts of the country take the time to locate a clinic near you that can help you identify specific risk factors for heart disease.
This is, after all, the best way to prevent a heart attack from happening in the first place.