|Paris P. Bransford, MD
Chief of Staff
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, someone has a coronary event every 25 seconds. Heart disease is nothing to ignore. It can strike both the young and old and is the leading cause of death among men and women in the United States.
Fortunately, everyone can take steps to protect their heart and their life or that of someone else. The key is seeking medical care as soon as possible. Heart attack victims can benefit from new medications and treatments unavailable in the past. Clot-busting drugs can stop some heart attacks in progress, reducing disability and saving lives. New, innovative surgical techniques allow physicians a variety of options for heart procedures, and early detection procedures allow physicians to understand a patient’s risk of having a cardiac event.
Know your heart procedures
You may have heard terms such as angioplasty and bypass surgery, but you probably are not exactly sure what they involve. These are just two of the treatment options medical specialists can use to repair heart problems. Here are various heart procedures and what they do:
Radiofrequency ablation. Special tubing with an electrode at the tip is steered through the veins to the heart, where radiofrequency energy destroys problem heart muscle areas in order to treat irregular heartbeats, or arrhythmias.
Coronary bypass surgery. The most common type of heart surgery, bypass involves taking a vein or artery from your chest, leg or other location and connecting, or grafting, it to a blocked artery. The graft acts as an alternate route for blood, allowing it to go around the blockage.
Angioplasty. A deflated balloon attached to special tubing is threaded up to the coronary arteries. The balloon is then inflated to widen blocked arteries and restore blood flow.
Stent procedure. Often combined with angioplasty, a stent (a tiny wire mesh tube) is inserted into an artery to prop it open.
Valve repair or replacement. To fix valves that do not open as wide as they should or close as tightly as they need to, a surgeon can repair or replace it with one from man-made material.
If you or a loved one need advanced cardiac care, you will find the resources you need at the Baptist Heart and Vascular Program. For referrals or for more information, call (409) 212-8287.
Paris P. Bransford, MD
Cardiologist, Southeast Texas Cardiology
Chief of Staff, Baptist Beaumont Hospital