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THE BEST HEART SPECIALISTS IN BANGALORE Angioplasty Balloon dilatation of coronary artery stenoses was first performed in the late 1970s by Andreas Grunzig. The technique has undergone many refinements and is now widely used for the treatment of angina not responding to medical treatment. Angioplasty has not been shown to improve the prognosis of patients with stable angina. Coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) has similarly not been shown to prolong life for most stable angina patients. However, both treatments are very successful in relieving the symptoms of angina. The COURAGE Trial compared optimal medical treatment of angina with angioplasty but excluded patients with symptoms refractory to medical treatment.1 Not surprisingly, this group of stable mild angina patients had a similar outcome with angioplasty and medical treatment. The trial suggests that compared with optimal medical treatment, angioplasty is a safe and slightly more effective treatment for stable angina. Patients can make an informed choice between these two treatments. The majority of patients treated with angioplasty in Australia have acute coronary syndromes and here there is good evidence of prognostic benefit with angioplasty compared with medical treatment. In many centres one-, two- and complicated three-vessel disease are managed this way. It has been shown to be as effective as coronary surgery for these patients but at the price of a higher rate of re-intervention. This is because the greatest limitation of angioplasty is the rate of restenosis in vessels that have been dilated. Restenosis
THE BEST CARDIOLOGISTS IN YELAHANKAMedical treatment of stable angina Treatment of any disease must begin with a thorough explanation of the likely diagnosis, severity and prognosis. The possible investigations required and steps to be taken if symptoms persist despite treatment should be outlined. A warning (firm, but not alarming) should be given that a prolonged episode of chest pain (more than about 15 minutes) should prompt the patient to get to a hospital without delay. This may also be the first opportunity to speak to the patient about the control of risk factors (e.g. smoking, hyperlipidaemia) that will be important for the long-term prognosis. Risk factor assessment should form part of this initial consultation and include a request for measurement of the serum lipids . a b (a) An MDCT scan of a diseased right coronary artery and the corresponding coronary angiogram (b) An MDCT reconstructed image of the heart and great vessels 140 PRACTICAL CARDIOLOGY A patient with symptoms typical of angina but who seems stable enough not to need admission to hospital should be started on treatment while awaiting investigations to confirm the diagnosis (usually stress testing). Treatment should aim to improve symptoms and, if possible, improve the prognosis (i.e. reduce the risk of unstable angina, infarction or death). Some drugs that help control the symptoms of angina may also improve the prognosis; other treatment may help the longer-term outlook by improving risk factors. Anti-platelet
CCARDIOLOGIST IN DODDABOMMASANDRA, BANGALORE ardiac drugs A detailed drug history is essential. Ask about anti-anginal and anti-failure drugs. It is important to attempt to ensure that the patient gets these drugs on the day of the operation. This applies most of all to beta-blockers. Withdrawal of beta-blockers used for angina can precipitate unstable angina or an infarct. There is also evidence that the use of beta-blockers in the peri-operative period reduces the risk of significant ischaemic events.36 This is probably not the case for nitrates and calcium antagonists. Aspirin used for any patient with ischaemic heart disease should be stopped for the shortest possible period before surgery (about three days) . Warfarin, when used for protection against embolic events for atrial fibrillation, can usually be stopped four or five days pre-op and begun again soon afterwards. A possible exception is a patient with atrial fibrillation and a recent embolic event or a left atrial thrombus seen on echo. These patients may need to change to heparin, as detailed below. A history of infective endocarditis, known valvular heart disease (even if mild) or the presence of a prosthetic cardiac valve may be an indication for antibiotic prophylaxis. Patients with a prosthetic heart valve who are taking warfarin need careful management. If the valve is in the aortic position and it is a modern disc valve, it may be safe to allow the INR to fall moderately (to 1.8 or so) by the day of surgery and then to resume warfarin as soon as the patient can swallow. If the surgeon requires the INR to have fallen to normal or the patient has a valve in the mitral position, then cessation of warfarin and use of heparin is necessary. Normally the patient omits a warfarin dose and then is admitted to hospital three or four days before surgery. Intravenous heparin is begun and the APPT adjusted to 2 or 2.5 times normal. The heparin is stopped some hours before surgery and begun as soon afterwards as the surgeon allows. It is now possible, however, to use low molecular weight heparin instead
HEART DOCTORS IN YELAHANKA NEWTOWN, BANGALORE Management of ACS (NSTEACS) Patients with this diagnosis represent a rather heterogeneous group. Some have had the recent onset of angina at the extremes of exercise, others have angina at rest associated with ECG changes. This variation has made attempts to study the effects of different treatment rather difficult. Although the majority of patients with myocardial infarction have a preceding period of unstable angina, only about 5% of all patients admitted to hospital with a diagnosis of an ACS go on to infarct during that admission. The in-hospital mortality for these patients is low. Mortality rates of less than 2% are usual. Nevertheless, there is a real short-term and longerterm risk of infarction, recurrent admission with unstable symptoms and death which is higher than that of patients with stable angina. The diagnosis should therefore lead to admission to a CCU. The cardiac enzymes are, by definition, not elevated in these patients but the newer, more sensitive tests for troponin T and troponin I may be abnormal and indicate a worse prognosis . In the CCU, bed rest, oxygen and ECG monitoring are routinely enforced and any mobile phones taken away (allegedly to protect the monitoring equipment). Recurrence of chest pain can be assessed quickly and ECGs performed to look for changes suggesting infarction. The cardiac biomarkers can be checked regularly. All patients should receive aspirin (300 mg) unless there is a contraindication. Patients with an intermediate or a higher risk should also be given clopidogrel (usually a 300–600 mg loading dose). The use of intravenous heparin has become standard treatment. A typical starting dose is 5000 units as a bolus followed by 24, 000 units over 24 hours. The activated partial thromboplastin time (APPT) should be measured after about six hours of treatment and the infusion rate of heparin adjusted to maintain this at about twice normal. Heparin is generally safe when used in this way. Bleeding problems may sometimes occur and the platelet count should be checked every few days so that heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HITS), a rare but serious complication, can be detected early. Low molecular weight heparins are at least as effective as unfractionated heparin. These drugs have some advantages over heparin. Their dose response effect is more predictable and they cause less thrombocytopenia. They are effective given subcutaneously without APPT monitoring and are now cheaper than IV heparin when savings on APPT monitoring and the use of infusion sets are considered. A standard twice-daily dose is given according to the patient’s weight—1 mg/kg for enoxaparin (Clexane). The dose is reduced by half for those with moderate or severe renal impairment and for those over the age of 75. Additional treatment should include beta-blockers unless these are contraindicated. These drugs reduce the number of ischaemic episodes and probably the risk of myocardial infarction. Nitrates can be a useful adjunctive treatment. They may be given orally, topically or intravenously. The IV dose can be titrated up or down depending on the amount of pain the patient is experiencing and the severity of side effects such as hypotension and headache. The problem of tachyphylaxis with nitrates can be overcome by steady increases in the IV dose if necessary. Calcium antagonists are appropriate treatment for patients intolerant of beta-blockers and may sometimes be added to beta-blockers. Nifedipine, especially in its short-acting form, should not be used for patients with acute coronary syndromes unless they are already taking beta-blockers. Thrombolytic drugs have been disappointing when used for NSTEACS. In trials where they have been used for patients with ischaemic chest pain but without ST elevation there has been a trend towards an adverse outcome. This may be related to the rebound hypercoagulable state that can occur after their use. In general they should not be used for the treatment of NSTEACS. Glycoprotein IIb/IIIa inhibitors (p. 198) should be given for high-risk patients,
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.
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