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CARDIOLOGY DOCTORS IN HOSUR ROAD Pulmonary embolism This is not quite a cardiac condition and not quite a respiratory condition but it is often managed by cardiologists. Modern CT pulmonary angiography is very sensitive and specific for the diagnosis of PE. A negative scan that is of good quality effectively excludes the diagnosis. The scans are so sensitive that small distal emboli may be detected in patients who do not have convincing symptoms of embolism. This poses a therapeutic problem that may be avoided if scans are not ordered inappropriately. Some patients cannot have a CTPA, usually because of renal impairment that would make the injection of contrast risky. A V/Q nuclear scan is then a reasonable alternative to a CTPA. These scans are less accurate than CT pulmonary angiography but the clinical suspicion of PE and a lung scan reported as intermediate or high probability is an indication for treatment. Patients should be admitted to hospital and treatment begun with intravenous heparin or subcutaneous low molecular weight heparin. The latter has the advantage that the dose is determined by body weight and repeated measurements of clotting times are not required. In some cases it may be possible to treat patients with small pulmonary emboli at home with supervised low molecular weight heparin. Either way, soon after diagnosis patients should be started on oral anticoagulation treatment with warfarin. A stable INR may often be achieved within five days or so, the heparin ceased and the patient discharged. Most patients with dyspnoea as a result of PE begin to feel better within a few days of starting treatment. It is often difficult to know how long to continue treatment with warfarin. The usual recommendation for an uncomplicated first PE is three to six months. Recurrent PE may be an indication for lifelong treatment. It also suggests a need to investigate for clotting abnormalities (e.g. anti-thrombin III deficiency, protein S and protein C deficiency, abnormal Factor V and anti-nuclear antibody). A very large and life-threatening PE which is associated with the sudden onset of severe dyspnoea and hypotension may be an indication for thrombolytic treatment. An echocardiogram may show abnormal right ventricular function in these ill patients and help in the decision. Experience with this is limited and the optimum regimen is not really known. Tissue plasminogen activator (TPA) is now indicated for this purpose and current recommendations are for a 10 mg bolus over two minutes followed by 90 mg over two hours.
THE HEARTDOCTORS IN BANGALORE Pulmonary embolism This is not quite a cardiac condition and not quite a respiratory condition but it is often managed by cardiologists. Modern CT pulmonary angiography is very sensitive and specific for the diagnosis of PE. A negative scan that is of good quality effectively excludes the diagnosis. The scans are so sensitive that small distal emboli may be detected in patients who do not have convincing symptoms of embolism. This poses a therapeutic problem that may be avoided if scans are not ordered inappropriately. Some patients cannot have a CTPA, usually because of renal impairment that would make the injection of contrast risky. A V/Q nuclear scan is then a reasonable alternative to a CTPA. These scans are less accurate than CT pulmonary angiography but the clinical suspicion of PE and a lung scan reported as intermediate or high probability is an indication for treatment. Patients should be admitted to hospital and treatment begun with intravenous heparin or subcutaneous low molecular weight heparin. The latter has the advantage that the dose is determined by body weight and repeated measurements of clotting times are not required. In some cases it may be possible to treat patients with small pulmonary emboli at home with supervised low molecular weight heparin. Either way, soon after diagnosis patients should be started on oral anticoagulation treatment with warfarin. A stable INR may often be achieved within five days or so, the heparin ceased and the patient discharged. Most patients with dyspnoea as a result of PE begin to feel better within a few days of starting treatment. It is often difficult to know how long to continue treatment with warfarin. The usual recommendation for an uncomplicated first PE is three to six months. Recurrent PE may be an indication for lifelong treatment. It also suggests a need to investigate for clotting abnormalities (e.g. anti-thrombin III deficiency, protein S and protein C deficiency, abnormal Factor V and anti-nuclear antibody). A very large and life-threatening PE which is associated with the sudden onset of severe dyspnoea and hypotension may be an indication for thrombolytic treatment. An echocardiogram may show abnormal right ventricular function in these ill patients and help in the decision. Experience with this is limited and the optimum regimen is not really known. Tissue plasminogen activator (TPA) is now indicated for this purpose and current recommendations are for a 10 mg bolus over two minutes followed by 90 mg over two hours. 7
POPULAR CARDIOLOGIST IN AMRUTHA HALLI , BANGALORE Assessment of patients with hypertension A patient with definite or possible newly diagnosed hypertension needs at least a basic clinical assessment to look for possible aetiology, severity and signs of complications. The history Questioning should be directed towards the following areas. 1 Past history. Has hypertension been diagnosed before? What treatment was instituted? Why was it stopped? 2 Secondary causes. Important questions relate to: • a history of renal disease in the patient or his or her family, recurrent urinary tract infec-­ tions, heavy analgesic use or conditions leading to renal disease (e.g. systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)) • symptoms suggesting phaeochromocytoma (flushing, sweats, palpitations) • symptoms suggesting sleep apnoea • muscle weakness suggesting the hypokalaemia of hyperaldosteronism • Cushing’s syndrome (weight gain, skin changes) • family history of hypertension. 3 Aggravating factors: • high salt intake • high alcohol intake • lack of exercise • use of medications: NSAIDs, appetite suppressants, nasal decongestants, monoamine oxidase inhibitors, ergotamine, cyclosporin, oestrogen-containing contraceptive pills • other: use of cocaine, liquorice, amphetamines. 4 Target organ damage: • stroke or transient ischaemic attack (TIA) • angina, dyspnoea • fatigue, oliguria • visual disturbance • claudication. 5 Coexisting risk factors: • smoking • diabetes • lipid levels, if known
BEST CARDIOLOGY HOSPITALS IN BANGALORE Cardiac failure Cardiac failure is an increasingly common condition affecting about 1% of the population but much higher proportions of older people. It is responsible for an increasing number of hospital admissions. The various aetiologies have been discussed above, but the most common cause is now ischaemic heart disease rather than hypertensive heart disease. This reflects the improved modern management of hypertension in the population. The definition of heart failure has always included reference to the inability of the heart to meet the metabolic needs of the body. The earliest concepts of heart failure were of inadequate cardiac pump function and associated salt and water retention. Treatment was aimed at improving cardiac contractility and removing salt and water from the body. In the 1970s the concept of after-load reduction was introduced. This was based partly on the realisation that vasoconstriction was part of the problem. This has led to the modern neuro-hormonal concept of heart failure. It is clear that many of the features of cardiac failure are a result of stimulation of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system and sympathetic stimulation. These responses of the body to the fall in cardiac output temporarily increase cardiac performance and blood pressure by increasing vascular volumes, cardiac contractility and systemic resistance. In the medium and longer term these responses are maladaptive. They increase cardiac work and left ventricular volumes and lead to myocardial fibrosis with further loss of myocytes. Most recently it has become clear that heart failure is also an inflammatory condition, with evidence of cytokine activation. Work is underway to establish a role for treatment of this part of the condition. Current drug treatment has been successful in blocking many of the maladaptive aspects of neuro-hormonal stimulation. Many of these treatments have become established after benefits have been ascertained in large randomised controlled trials. These trials have also led to the abandoning of certain drugs (often those that increase cardiac performance) that were shown to have a detrimental effect on survival (e.g. Milrinone). The principles of treatment of heart failure are as follows: 1 Remove the exacerbating factors. 2 Relieve fluid retention. 3 Improve left ventricular function and reduce cardiac work; improve prognosis. 4 Protect against the adverse effects of drug treatment. 5 Assess for further management (e.g. revascularisation, transplant). 6 Manage complications (e.g. arrhythmias). 7 Protect high-risk patients from sudden death.
POPULAR CARDIOLOGIST IN KATTIGENAHALLI, BANGALORE Cyanotic congenital heart disease Some of the more common cyanotic lesions are discussed below. There are, however, a number of problems common to patients with cyanotic heart disease. 1 Erythrocytosis. Chronic cyanosis causes an increase in red cell numbers as a way of increasing oxygen carrying capacity. The platelet count is sometimes reduced and the white cell count normal. The increased blood viscosity associated with the high red cell mass causes a slight increase in the risk of stroke.37 Most patients have a stable elevated haemoglobin level, but venesection is recommended if this is greater than 20 g/dL and the haematocrit is greater than 65%. Levels as high as this can be associated with the hyperviscosity syndrome: headache, fatigue and difficulty concentrating. Recurrent venesection can cause iron depletion and the production of microcytic red cells, which are stiffer than normal cells and so increase viscosity further. 2 Bleeding. Reduced platelet numbers, abnormal platelet function and clotting factor deficiencies mean these patients have an increased risk of haemorrhage. The most dangerous problem is pulmonary haemorrhage but bleeding from the gums and menorrhagia are more common. The use of anticoagulation must be restricted to those with a strong indication for treatment. 3 Gallstones. Chronic cyanosis and increased haem turnover are associated with an increased incidence of pigment gallstones. 4 Renal dysfunction and gout. Congestion of the renal glomeruli is associated with a reduced glomerular filtration rate and proteinuria. This and the increased turnover of red cells lead to urate accumulation and gout. 5 Pulmonary hypertension. Lesions associated with increased flow through the pulmonary circulation (e.g. a large atrial septal defect) can lead to a reactive rise in pulmonary arterial resistance. This is more likely to occur if the left to right shunt is large. Eventually these pulmonary vascular changes become irreversible, pulmonary pressures equal or exceed systemic pressures, and central cyanosis occurs because the intra-cardiac shunt reverses (Eisenmenger’s syndrome). Flow is now from right to left. There is then no benefit in attempting to correct the underlying cardiac abnormality. Earlier and more successful treatment of children with congenital heart disease has reduced the number of patients with this inexorable disease. Careful management of these conditions can nevertheless improve patients’ symptoms and survival. Reasonable exercise tolerance is usually maintained into adult life for most patients but progressive deterioration then occurs. Haemorrhagic complications, especially haemoptysis, are common. Thrombotic stroke, cerebral abscess and pulmonary infarction can also occur.
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