July 2019

Can Your Heart Stand the Heat?

When blood is redirected to the skin to cool the body, it may compromise the heart's blood supply. Dehydration from fluid loss due to sweating causes the heart to pump faster and work harder and may increase the tendency for blood to clot. Add high humidity, which further interferes with the body's cooling mechanisms, and you could have a potentially dangerous situation for anyonewith heart disease.   More...

In The News: July 2019

If you use sleeping pills and have hypertension, you may find it increasingly difficult to control your blood pressure. A study of older adults found an association between regular use of sleeping pills and the need for more antihypertension medication. Researchers enrolled 752 participants between 2008 and 2010 and followed them through 2012 and 2013. At the start of the study, 37 percent of the participants said they slept poorly, and 16.5 percent used sleeping pills on a regular basis. The mean number of antihypertension drugs used was 1.8. During the study, almost 20.7 percent of the participants increased the number of blood pressure medications they took. As reported online March 25, 2019, in Geriatrics & Gerontology International , the researchers found no connection between difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep and change in the use of blood pressure medication. However, they did find consistent use of sleeping pills was connected to higher risk of needing to add additional antihypertension medications to control blood pressure.   More...

How to Protect Yourself Against Heart and Vascular Disease

Subscribers Only — Individually, each risk factor had less of an impact on the ability to predict a heart attack or other CV event as the participants grew older. However, high SBP and high cholesterol were so prevalent that their contribution could not be overlooked. The researchers determined that if every participant had lowered their SBP to normal and their LDL cholesterol by 30 percent, the number of heart attacks would have dropped substantially.   More...

The Advantages of Robotic Surgery for Valve Disease

Subscribers Only — "Robotic technology is critical to our goal of treating disease with as little collateral injury as possible," says Cleveland Clinic thoracic surgeon Sudish Murthy, MD, PhD, who specializes in minimally invasive surgery for lung and esophageal cancer.   More...

Sound Waves Can Help Doctors See Inside Your Coronary Arteries

"Angiography is a two-dimensional imaging technique, which has limitations. It tells us whether a coronary artery is narrowed or blocked, but it cannot reveal the true extent of the blockage, the size of the lumen or vessel dimensions, nor whether the plaque is soft, hard or mixed. It also does not show the degree of calcium around the circumference of the artery. IVUS can do all this," says Cleveland Clinic interventional cardiologist Rishi Puri, MD, PhD.   More...

What Type of Cardiologist Should You See for Specialized Care?

Subscribers Only — After medical school, cardiac surgeons traditionally complete a five-year residency in general surgery, followed by two to three years of cardiothoracic (heart and lung) surgery fellowship. Some programs now offer four years of general surgery plus three years of cardiothoracic surgery. Other programs combine general and cardiac surgery into a single six-year program. The subspecialty of heart transplantation requires one additional year oftraining.   More...

Heart Specialists

Subscribers Only — Heart Failure Specialists: Due to the complex nature of heart failure, patients with this disorder may benefit from seeing a heart-failure specialist. These specialty cardiologists have experience and expertise in managing symptoms and delaying the progression of heart failure. When symptoms reach a certain degree of severity, a heart failure specialist will provide counsel on sophisticated treatments such as a left ventricular assist device or heart transplantation.   More...

Ask The Doctors: July 2019

In a 2016 study of 23,000 patients, opioid users were twice as likely to die from cardiovascular (CV) and respiratory problems than from an overdose. A 2019 study found that at 90 days after discharge, there was a slight increase in the death rate among heart patients, mostly from breathing difficulties during sleep, heart rhythm irregularities and other CV complications. Opioids can exacerbate sleep apnea, increase mortality from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and depress heart muscle function when combined with benzodiazepines such as Valium.   More...