Diagnosing and Treating an Enlarged Heart

In continuation of our last blog on what is an enlarged heart, today we would discuss ” how to diagnose an enlarged heart and treatment options for the same

Enlarged Heart, treatment options
Enlarged Heart, treatment options
Early diagnosis is critical to managing an Enlarged Heart.
Upon a physical examination, a cardiologist may hear a murmur in the heart, unusual heartbeats, water retention in the legs, abdomen, fluid retention in the lungs.
After a physical examination, a few tests that may be carried out are :
  • Angiogram or catheterization, checks for blockages in the heart. A flexible tube is inserted via the groin, dye injected and pictures of the heart taken to check for blockages and heart function. In case of blockages, stenting or angioplasty is carried out at the same time.
  • ECG uses electrodes to detect heart activity.
  • Echo, uses sound waves to detect heart activity and take pictures of the heart.
  • MRI is used to take pictures of the heart and blood vessels to detect anomalies.
  • CT Scan is also used to take pictures of the arteries in the heart and is often used for patients with pacemakers and other implanted devices.
  • Stress Echo: The patient is made to exercise and then heart tests are administered. Along with ECG, Stress Echo shows heart rate, rhythm, and activity.

 

  • Some of the common treatment options are:

 

  • Angioplasty or Stenting are often carried out when blockages or fat, calcium deposits are found in the arteries.Stents can be bare metal or drug-eluting which help open up the arteries.
  • CABG or an open heart surgery in case of multiple blockages also help.
  • Heart Valve surgeries, such as single valve repair,  DVR( Double valve replacement ),  MVR(Mitral valve replacement, Mital valve repair), VSD, ASD  help take care of valve-related heart problems which impair blood flow and lead to an enlarged heart over time.
  • VAD or Ventricular assist devices, help in heart failure by helping a weak heart pump blood. VAD can be, LVAD( left ventricular assist device) or RVAD( Right ventricular assist device). ICD combo devices and Pacemakers also help weak hearts or a heart with impaired function.
  • Heart Transplant is the very last option when all else fails to support patients with extreme heart failure.
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Heart Disease -Stuff you must know !

open heart bypass surgery
open heart bypass surgery

Heart disease kills more people than any other disease. Over 30% of deaths across the world are due to heart disease as per WHO estimates.

Ignorance, lack of awareness, refusal to get basic routine checkups, account for the high mortality rate.

Unhealthy dietary habits, alcohol abuse, use of tobacco, lack of exercise, obesity, diabetes, hypertension and genetics are the primary reasons for developing heart disease.

Most cases go undiagnosed till the patient suffers a heart attack.

Here is a list of types of heart disease which we should all know about.

Clogged Arteries: Fat and cholesterol build up in the arteries leads to plaque and mineral deposits which restricts or blocks blood flow to the heart. Usually clogged arteries are not diagnosed unless one gets chest pains or gets breathless. An angiography is often carried out for diagnosis. Stenting or an angioplasty takes of blocked arteries. A surgeon may insert a balloon or a wire mesh to open up your arteries. If the blockage is severe, a CABG or open heart bypass surgery may be required. In CABG, or open hear bypass surgery, blood vessels from other parts of the body are taken and damaged blood vessels of the heart are replaced or bypassed.

Arrhythmia: Irregular heart beat can either be too slow or too fast. Although rarely fatal, arrhythmia increases pre disposition to heart attack, heart failure and even stroke.
An ICD  detects irregular heart beat and send electric impulses to takes care of Arrhythmia.

Hole in the heart :  PDA, VSD, ASD, Mitral Valve Defects,  commonly known as hole in the heart, sometimes congenital heart defects are not diagnosed even till adulthood. Growth milestones may be compromised and problems may persist later in life.
Serious defects require surgical intervention however some can be managed with medical management.

Heart Muscle Disease: Our heart is a muscle which weakens due to obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and hence the heart struggles to pump blood in the body.
Heart muscle disease or cardiomyopathy can lead to heart failure.

A Pacemaker is implanted to take care of heart muscle disease.

Enlarged Heart: As the heart muscle becomes weak, the heart enlarges in order to pump blood and the rhythm increases. However the heart also becomes weaker and consequently it leads to decreased blood flow.

Heart Attack: Clogged arteries can restrict and even stop blood flow to the heart. Without blood flow, our heart doesn’t get the oxygen required which damages the heart and this is what is known as a heart attack. The more restricted the blood flow, the more life threatening and severe, the heart attack.

Heart Failure: Failure of the heart to pump blood to the body is known as heart failure and this can lead to death.

Without surgical intervention or medical management as may be required, heart disease progresses and even post diagnosis and surgical intervention, drastic life style changes are required for managing the medical condition.

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Hole in the Heart

Babies born prematurely, experiencing shortness of breath are often diagnosed with what is called in layman’s language as “Hole in the Heart”

Hole in the heart however is one of many pediatric congenital heart defects such as PDA, TOF, ASD, VSD, Fontan and Truncus Arteriosus amongst others.

Some of these conditions may be minor and self correcting however a majority of babies, depending upon size of the defect and severity of symptoms will require corrective surgery.

Although many children with simple heart defects survive into adulthood, congenital heart defects remain a leading cause of childhood deaths or death amongst babies.
Those surviving with slightly complex heart problems will often have developmental delays, delayed learning and limited capacity for physical exercise
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