Do you listen to your heart when it needs help? – Impact Feature News

Clipped from: https://www.indiatoday.in/impact-feature/story/do-you-listen-to-your-heart-when-it-needs-help-1864018-2021-10-12

When you feel fluttering in your chest, irregular heartbeat, rapid weight gain, chest pain, fatigue, shortness of breath, fever, dizziness, and fainting, or near fainting situations – all these conditions indicate that your heart needs help.

Note: This article was created with valuable inputs from Dr. T. S. Kler, Chairman, Fortis Heart and Vascular Institute, Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurugram

A healthy heart is essential for holistic health because this is the essence of one’s spiritual and emotional well-being. However, we often ignore our heart when it needs care and treatment. If reports are to be believed about the burden of heart diseases in India, Cardio Vascular Diseases (CVDs) account for 17.7 million deaths and are the leading cause. The results of the Global Burden of Disease study state an age-standardized CVD death rate of 272 per 100000 populations in India, which is much higher than that of the global average of 235. 1

What is valvular heart disease?

Commonly called Heart disease, but when any heart valve gets damaged or diseased this is called valvular heart disease. A normal heart has four chambers and four valves. During the heartbeat, a healthy heart valve leaflets fully open and close, but with a diseased valve, it doesn’t happen. Any valve can become defective however, it is often seen that the aortic valve gets affected. Most of the deaths occurring due to valvular heart diseases are caused by aortic valve disease. 2

When does your heart need help?

When you feel fluttering in your chest, irregular heartbeat, rapid weight gain, chest pain, fatigue, shortness of breath, fever, dizziness, and fainting, or near fainting situations all these conditions indicate that your heart needs help. However, when the blood vessels that provide blood and oxygen to the heart muscle become narrow and hard, the condition turns severe and surgery is required. Generally, open-heart surgery is performed to fix such a condition.

Moreover, to fix the aforementioned conditions, rather than opting for open-heart surgery, nowadays, heart valve replacement procedures are being used abundantly, wherein a minimally invasive procedure such as Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) is performed. This is a procedure which is performed to replace a narrowed aortic valve that often fails to open properly.

Knowing Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR)

Nowadays, Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) has been quite prevalent as it is a minimally invasive heart procedure that helps replace a narrowed aortic valve, which fails to open properly in patients with severe aortic valve stenosis. 3

A far as the treatment procedure of TAVR is concerned, this is not used for everyone suffering from valvular heart disease. Moreover, people who are at a medium to high risk of complications from surgical aortic valve replacement or have an existing biological tissue valve which is not working well can go for this option. 3

The Trans-catheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) has been found to be the safest and the most effective method of treatment. TAVR is a minimally invasive catheter-based angioplasty like technique during which the doctors thread a catheter commonly through an artery in the groin and into the heart so that a new aortic valve can be fitted inside the diseased valve without surgically opening the chest.

The TAVR has been increasingly becoming a preferred alternative to surgical valve replacement. The latest scientific data supports this technique as superior to surgery in low-risk patients with a near 50% reduction in risk of death, stroke, or re-hospitalisation in one year. 4

In addition to surgical procedures, we can prevent heart disease by eating healthy, getting active, managing a healthy weight, quitting smoking, controlling cholesterol and blood pressure besides managing stress levels.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the doctors are their independent professional judgment, and we do not take any responsibility for the accuracy of their views. This should not be considered as a substitute for physician’s advice. Please consult your treating physician for more details.

References:

[1] Sreeniwas Kumar A, Sinha N. Cardiovascular disease in India: A 360 degree overview. Med J Armed Forces India. 2020;76(1):1-3. doi:10.1016/j.mjafi.2019.12.005

[2] https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/valvular_disease.htm

[3] http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/More/HeartValveProblemsandDisease/What-is-TAVR_UCM_450827_Article.jsp#.VrUe2dj2aDY. Accessed Feb. 28, 2020.

[4] Jeffrey J. Popma Transcatheter Aortic-Valve Replacement with a Self-Expanding Valve in Low-Risk Patients. N Engl J Med 2019; 380:1706-1715

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