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    What Is an Echocardiogram?

    Last updated 6 days ago

    Since your heart is one of the most important organs in your body, it should be monitored fairly often. If you’re young and don’t suffer any heart-related symptoms, your heart is probably beating just fine. If you’re older than 50 and are at risk of developing a heart condition, you may be scheduled for an echocardiogram. This is a test that uses sound waves to create a detailed image of the heart.  

    When is the test necessary?
    It’s important to visit a cardiologist if your heart causes you any discomfort. If your cardiologist suspects that you have a problem with your heart valves or chambers, he may order an echocardiogram or ultrasound of your heart.  Echocardiograms can help detect a wide range of heart problems, including heart murmurs, infection around the heart valves, damage to the heart muscles, and pulmonary hypertension. There are no special considerations to take when preparing for the test.

    What happens during the test?
    On the day of the test, you should place moisturizer on your skin; you will take off your clothes from the waist up and lie on the exam table. The sonographer will place electrodes on your chest to monitor your heartbeat. Next, the sonographer will place a transducer on your ribs and begin the test in earnest. Simply follow the sonographer’s directions, and the test will be over before long. 

    What do the results mean?
    Once the sonographer completes the echocardiogram, your cardiologist read the echocardiogram. You will be scheduled for a follow-up visit to go over the results.

    An echocardiogram is the first step toward heart treatment. If you suspect that you have a heart condition, visit one of the Phoenix-area cardiologists at Cardiac Solutions. We offer a number of diagnostic tests, including EKGs. Call (623) 208-5305 to set up an appointment, or visit our website to learn more about our locations in Glendale, Peoria, Sun City West, and Avondale.

    Signs of Atrial Fibrillation

    Last updated 13 days ago

    When at rest, your heartbeat should have a slow and steady rhythm. If your heart feels like its fluttering, you likely have some sort of arrhythmia. Atrial fibrillation is one common type of arrhythmia that occurs when the atria—the top two chambers of the heart—start quivering. Sometimes the chambers may beat as often as 4 times faster than normal.

    Common symptoms of atrial fibrillation include heart palpitations, fatigue, abdominal pain, and chest discomfort. Other people with atrial fibrillation might experience shortness of breath, lightheadedness, or difficulty exercising. Though all kinds of people can develop atrial fibrillation, it tends to be more common among older adults. Since atrial fibrillation can considerably increase one’s risk of stroke, it’s important to identify the symptoms as soon as possible and seek treatment.

    The cardiologists at Cardiac Solutions can address atrial fibrillation and many other heart ailments. If you’re looking for a skilled cardiologist in Glendale, Peoria, Sun City West, or Avondale, call Cardiac Solutions at (623) 208-5305.

    Recognizing Some Symptoms of Heart Failure

    Last updated 18 days ago

    Though the name may suggest otherwise, heart failure does not mean that the heart stops working completely. Rather, heart failure occurs when the heart is no longer able to pump a sufficient amount of blood. The body can still function, but not nearly as well as it could with a fully functioning heart. If you’re at risk of heart failure, it’s important that you identify the symptoms so you know when to see a cardiologist.  

    Irregular Heartbeat
    Generally speaking, a person’s resting heart rate should be somewhere between 60 and 100 beats per minute. If you have heart failure, your heart struggles to keep up with your body’s demands, and might start beating much faster. An irregular heartbeat is one common symptom of  heart failure. Even if you don’t have heart failure, a rapid or irregular heartbeat should be checked out by a cardiologist.  

    Dizziness or Fatigue
    Your heart is responsible for delivering oxygen and nutrient-rich blood to all of your major organs. If your heart is having trouble keeping up with your body’s demands, you may feel weaker or more fatigued than normal. A shortage of blood to the brain can even cause dizziness and lightheadedness. If you feel exhausted despite getting plenty of rest, heart failure could be the culprit.

    Fluid Retention
    If your heart can’t pump enough blood to your kidneys, you may begin to retain fluids. You’ll likely notice that your ankles, legs, and stomach start swelling and your weight increases. Fluid buildup in your lungs is perhaps the most troublesome symptom of heart failure, and may cause coughing and shortness of breath.

    The sooner your cardiologist identifies heart failure, the sooner treatment can begin. If you’re feeling out of sorts, call Cardiac Solutions at (623) 208-5305 to set up an appointment. One of our Phoenix-area cardiologists can prescribe beta-blockers, diuretics, and other medications to help improve your heart’s performance

    What Is Stenosis?

    Last updated 20 days ago

    A normal human heart has four valves that help regulate the flow of blood. If a valve doesn’t open all the way—a condition called stenosis—it limits the amount of blood that reaches the heart, potentially causing all kinds of complications.

    This video from the American Heart Association demonstrates the difference between a healthy heart valve and one that suffers from stenosis. Age is the most common risk factor of stenosis—4% of people aged 85 have aortic stenosis. Some people are born with a bicuspid valve—or valve with two flaps fused together—that seriously impedes blood flow.

    If you suspect that your heart isn’t as healthy as it could be, call Cardiac Solutions at (623) 208-5305. Our cardiologists provide excellent care in Glendale, Peoria, Sun City West, and elsewhere in the Phoenix area. 

    Reducing the Risk of Stroke with Patent Foramen Ovale Closure

    Last updated 26 days ago

    Stroke is one of the leading causes of death in the United States, but it is often preventable through better lifestyle habits and regular checkups with the doctor. There are also some treatable clinical causes for stroke—including Patent Foramen Ovales (PFOs), which are defects in the heart. Having a PFO can significantly raise a person’s risk for transient ischemic attack or stroke, but there may be no symptoms of this issue until a serious medical emergency takes place. Read on to learn more about this problem to learn if you should talk to your doctor about your risk for a PFO.

    What is a patent foramen ovale?
    A PFO may be referred to as a hole in the heart, but more accurately it is a flap-like opening between the upper chambers of the heart. All people are born with this opening in the heart, but they typically close on their own just after birth. If you have a PFO that has remained open, there is a chance that a blood clot could travel through the opening to the brain, causing a stroke.

    How is the problem diagnosed?
    To diagnose a PFO, doctors will use an echocardiogram, which is like an ultrasound screening for the heart. Unfortunately, most patients with PFOs do not know that there is a problem, because there are no notable symptoms. Still, a diagnosis after an initial episode may significantly reduce the chances of a future stroke.

    Which treatment option is best?
    If a PFO is identified, there are two options that will be considered for treatment. Medication can control clotting factors in the blood to prevent clots from moving through the opening. There is also a minimally invasive procedure that can close the flap through an opening in the thigh much like an angiogram. Open heart surgery is rarely considered as a treatment option for a PFO, because it can have more risks than benefits.

    If you have suffered a stroke that has been linked to no apparent cause, you should connect with Cardiac Solutions to explore the likelihood of a PFO or other heart problems. You can schedule an appointment at our clinics in Sun City or Glendale on our website or at (623) 208-5305. 

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