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Cardiology Basics At Hand


What Is Cardiology?

Division of medicine dealing with malfunctions of the human heart is known as cardiology. A broader terminology is assigned to all the diseases of the heart, known as cardiovascular disorders CVDs. These include both the congenital as well as the non congenital malformations. Human heart is just about the size of a man’s closed fist, yet plays a larger role in the survival. Its basic function is to pump oxygenated (pure) blood to the entire body, leading to rhythmic contractions known as ‘heartbeat’.  A heartbeat maybe felt at various superficial sites, termed as ‘pulse’. A thorough knowledge about the cardiac pathologies help in deciding the apt treatment course.

Causes Of Cardiac Disorders:

To keep the heart pumping well, a cholesterol free diet is mandatory (for 35 years  and above individuals). Triglycerides and LDLs tend to accumulate in the lumen of aorta and coronary arteries leading to blockages. Excessive alcohol and smoking also adds to the same. All these factors when taken together into consideration,  lead to an abstract condition known as ‘obesity’, which approximately affects 66% of the adult population owing to their lack of interest in physical exercise or leading a sedentary/inactive lifestyle. Vey uncommonly 1 in 1000 live births encounter congenital heart defects attributable to genetic mutations or in association with syndromes such as Pierre Robin syndrome.

Signs & Symptoms Of Heart Diseases:

To demarcate the difference between the two terminologies, signs are what the physician notices/examines and symptoms are what the patient feels/reports. The earliest symptom for hypertension includes a massive headache, racing pulse (>90) and breathlessness. However a lot many cases go undiagnosed due to lack of symptom expression. A heart stroke or blockage will majorly manifest itself as a severe chest discomfort/pain. Loss of consciousness and unresponsiveness are typical symptoms of a cardiac arrest.

Cardiology Procedures:

A number of procedures are carried out to restore the heart to normal functioning depending upon its severity and morbidity. For the evaluation of these disorders, a number of diagnostic tests are run.

  1. Diagnostic Tests For Cardiac Disorders :  A host of procedures are put to use for the detection and confirmation of any cardiovascular disorders such as:
  • Blood tests:  These are done for estimation of sodium/potassium and other ions levels.
  • C-Reactive protein test: This is done to gauge the level of inflammation.
  • Electrocardiogram ECG: It monitors the electrical activity of the heart and thus depicts  the rythmicity of heartbeat.
  • Echocardiogram: This procedure makes use of ultrasound waves to evaluate the cardiac valves and muscles.
  • Radiographic techniques:  Chest xray may be advised to study the cause of discomfort and shortness in breath. A CT scan maybe run to detect fat or calcium deposits in the major cardiac vessels or valves. It uses multiple cross sectional images of the heart for the location of such pathologies. A Magnetic Resonance Imaging  procedure is advised to detect cardiac valve and muscles malfunctioning. It makes use of large magnets and emission of radio waves to create the images of heart.
  • Angiography:  This is carried out to study the lumen of blood vessels. A catheter is inserted into the blood vessel and a dye is injected via it. A series of xrays are then shot as the dye flows through the blood vessel and the location of pathology detected.
  1. Cardiac Treatments:

  • Motivation/Counseling: This pertains to encouraging the patient for indulging into physical exercise, total cessation of alcohol/smoking and monitoring the diet.
  • Medications : It is a non invasive method aiming at prescribing long/short term medicines for both acute and chronic conditions. e.g hypertensions are mostly controlled by vasodilators, minor blockages with blood thinners e.g aspirin. ACE inhibitors, Beta blockers and diuretics are also routinely prescribed.
  • Surgical intervention:
  1. Aortic valve repair: These aim at repairing/replacing valve in the aorta.
  2. Arrhythmia: It is a surgical intervention to correct the irregular heartbeats.
  3. Congenital heart defect repair: It involves repairing of atrial and ventral septal defects restoring the blood flow and thus the pumping action.
  4. Coronary artery blockage: Coronary artery balloon angioplasty is the most routinely employed procedure for it. A tiny balloon in the inserted into the lumen of the artery which when stimulated, inflates within the vessel leading to normal blood flow. It is the least invasive of all cardiac procedures requiring mild sedation. However anesthesia and hospital stay conditions may differ according to pre-existing pathologies. Stents can also replace balloons in the above described procedure. These are long and narrow hollow tubes which keep the lumen of the artery distended and allow normal passage of blood. In contrast to these treatments, coronary artery bypass grafting commonly known as CABG, makes use of grafting/implanting a healthy artery or vein of the same individual in the place of blocked portion of the coronary artery. Thus the new artery bypasses the pathological site of the diseased artery and restores normal blood flow. CABG along with stents and balloons are also used for the correction of congestive heart failures.
  5. Heart transplants/artificial pacemakers: In rarest of the rare cases, an artificial pacemaker maybe implanted in the chest to initiate electrical activity in the heart. A pacemaker generates impulse for the cardiac muscles to begin pumping of blood via alternate opening and closing of the cardiac valves. If it is damaged, an artificial one is the only choice. In cases of complete heart failures, heart transplant from an individual matching the recipient’s needs may also be done.

Types Of Cardiovascular Diseases:

The manner in which CVDs present themselves are broadly classified as congenital and non-congenital heart disease (CHD and NCHD respectively). Newborns may be affected with:

  • Aortic valve stenosis: It involves a poorly formed aortic valve,  leading to poor pumping of oxygenated blood and weakening of the cardiac muscles
  • Atrial septal defects: A whole develops between the two atria causing right side to swell and stretch.
  • Coarctation of Aorta: The aortic lumen becomes narrow leading to severe shortness of breath
  • Ebstein’s anamoly: It is a rare anamoly where the tricuspid valve is poorly developed. Thus it causes blending of the oxygenated and the deoxygenated blood.
  • Hypoplastic left heart syndrome: It is the rarest form of CHD in which the left side of the heart is poorly developed.
  • Patent ductus areteriosis: It is a condition in which a vessel called ductus arteriosis persists even after birth in the new born. Its function in prenatal life is to pump pure blood to the lungs. However if it fails to close after birth, it supplies additional amount of blood to the lungs resulting into added work load on the lungs and heart both.
  • Tetralogy of Fallot: It is a combination of 4 signs including ventricular septal defect, pulmonary valve stenosis, right ventricular hypertrophy and overriding aorta. As a result of this, oxygenated and deoxygenated blood mixes, giving the baby a blue appearance. It is also known as blue baby syndrome.
  • Tricuspid atresia: In this pathology the right side of the heart is poorly developed due to a malformed tricuspid valve.
  • Ventricular septal defects: The most common forms of CHD, manisfest as a hole between the two ventricles. It often leads to more than required blood being pumped to the lungs, causing an additional load.       

Adults mostly encounter:

  • Arrhythmia: It is a condition of irregular blood pumping leading to non rhythmic heartbeats.
  • Coronary artery disease: These majorly include atherosclerosis which involves narrowing of the coronary arteries due to excessive fat deposition.
  • Congestive heart failure: The heart fails to pump adequate blood owing to weak musculature and valves.
  • Heart stroke: It occurs as a result of sudden cessation of blood to the cardium from the brain, most often leads to death.
  • Hypertension: It occurs due to rushing of blood within the blood vessels, forcing itself against the walls of the arteries.

Success Rate Of Cardiologic Treatment Procedures In India:

Following the statistics provided by the National Health Survey (2015), 99.1% of the bypass grafts are operated successfully. The same for heart valve surgery is the highest, being 99.6%. procedures like angiography and plasty give cent percent success rates.

Risk Factors For Heart Disease:

There is a strong co-relation between CVDs and physical inactivity. The more sluggish the lifestyle, more are the chances of indulging into non congenital CVDs. Existent hypertension is a significant risk factor. Excessive dietary intake of unsaturated fats and cholesterol also predisposes to the ailment. Family history being the top rated risk factor, involves transmission of some amount of genetic material leading to both the groups of CVDs. Excessive consumption of alcohol, smoking leading to constriction of blood vessels and diabetes are some other common risk factors.

Why Us?

We at MedcureIndia aim at providing the best of healthcare services to our clients beginning from the early diagnostic tests to procuring our patients to the best cardiologist in our knowledge. We also introduce our clients to the wide spectrum of treatment modalities available at affordable prices best suitable for their condition. We follow the ‘happy to help, anytime anywhere’ protocol for our clients assuring them of utmost safety and satisfaction with our amenities.