What Is an ICD?

Uncategorized | Monday, February 28th, 2011 | 1 Comment

An implantable cardiverter defibrillator (ICD) works much as a pacemaker in that it regulates heart rhythm and corrects arrhythmias. The difference between an ICD and a pacemaker is that an ICD regulates your heart if it starts beating too fast, a condition called tachycardia. The device can be a lifesaver, since it uses electrical pulses to help control irregular heartbeats, especially those that cause sudden cardiac arrest. Ventricular arrhythmias prevent the heart from pumping blood effectively. The condition is serious, and can cause death within minutes if not treated. Heart and Family Health Institute

The ICD monitors your heart rhythm and uses low-energy pulses to correct an irregular heartbeat and restore a normal rhythm. If the lower intensity pulses fail to do the job, the ICD switches to high-energy electrical pulses that shock the heart.

If the heartbeat is corrected and becomes too slow as a result, the device can help manage that condition as well. ICDs also allow your doctor to conduct testing on your heart and view a history of any arrhythmic events that have occurred.

Minimally invasive surgery is used to implant the device under the skin below the left collarbone. Electrodes are inserted into a vein that leads into the heart. The newer devices are smaller than before and about the size of a standard 9-volt battery.

At the Heart and Family Health Institute of Port St. Lucie, cardiac care is one of our specialties. If you have had an episode of a dangerous and abnormally fast heartbeat, you may be a good candidate for an ICD. Also, people with coronary artery disease, heart failure or structural problems with the heart may need an ICD. Talk to your doctor to find out if the device is right for you.

For information about diagnostic heart testing and general heart health, visit us online. Call Consult-A-Nurse at 1-800-382-3522 to speak to one of our registered nurses and receive a doctor referral.

Sources:

American Heart Association

National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute

American Heart Association

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Doppler for the Heart

Main | Tuesday, February 1st, 2011 | No Comments

To call more attention to the growing number of Americans with cardiovascular disease, February is American Heart Month. Health experts hope to raise awareness of preventing heart disease and stroke. Screenings and diagnostic testing are more advanced than ever, and your doctor can accurately pinpoint cardiovascular disease using various tests.

One of the diagnostic imaging tests cardiologists rely on to diagnose conditions in the heart is an echocardiogram that involves a Doppler. If you watch the evening news, you’ve heard the term Doppler used in relation to the radar that provides weather data. The same sort of technology that allows ultrasound waves to detect objects is used in medicine. It was named after Christian Doppler, an Austrian physicist who discovered the effect.

During the echocardiogram examination, the Doppler is used to evaluate the size and movement of the heart structures by displaying the blood flow into and out of the heart as it pumps. Doppler follows the direction and velocity of blood flow. The images and noises from the Doppler study demonstrate the following:

  • Thickness of the heart walls006684-HeartandFam_Photo_2_1_011
  • Stiffness of left and right ventricle walls
  • Enlargement of the ventricles
  • Pumping function
  • Valve function
  • Blood volume
  • Measurement of blood flow to the legs

There are several kinds of Doppler ultrasounds:
Color Doppler: Used to estimate the average velocity of flow within the heart by color-coding the information.

Pulsed Doppler: This displays a graph of the range of blood velocities within the volume versus the time of the study.

Power Doppler: This device allows better visualization of small blood vessels.

The procedure can identify whether a condition such as cardiomyopathy or another disease is causing poor heart function. The test normally takes about 25 minutes and is not painful or uncomfortable. During the procedure, you will lie on a table while electrodes are attached to your chest and shoulders. These record some of the findings during the exam. A gel helps move the transducer over your chest and allows several views of your heart. Your doctor will go over your results with you and may require another diagnostic test or may have a diagnosis based on the findings.

The Heart and Family Health Institute of Port St. Lucie has been a significant presence in the community when it comes to preventing and treating heart disease. For information about the diagnostic services and care we offer, visit us online. To speak with one of our registered nurses, call Consult-A-Nurse® at 1-800-382-3522. We are here to answer your questions and provide free doctor referrals.

Sources:

American Heart Month

Medicine Net

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