Patient Care

Conditions

Medical Conditions Treated by a Cardiologist

We encourage you to ask as many questions as necessary until you understand your heart condition, medications or procedures.

As a professor of Cardiology here at UCLA, Dr. Jamshid Maddahi ensures the doctors in his classes fully understand the heart, and the effects other organs have on the cardiovascular system.

In his practice as a top heart doctor in Los Angeles, Dr. Maddahi wants you to be informed, comfortable and confident about your treatment.

Your journey to a healthy heart starts here.

To schedule a consultation with our office call: 310-824-4991 or click here to request an appointment online.

Why do I need to see a Cardiologist?

We have listed many of the heart conditions that require a cardiologist to diagnose and manage. This information is simply a starting point to help you to understand the heart and its various conditions.

A cardiologist like Dr. Maddahi has spent decades acquiring the knowledge to diagnose and treat heart conditions. He has the technology and experience, to treat these heart conditions successfully.

Do not try to self—diagnose, you have an expert at your disposal to get to the bottom of any heart problem you may have.

Please use this information to prepare your questions, or to describe your symptoms during your consultation with Dr. Maddahi.

If you are currently experiencing any symptoms of a heart attack, call 911 or seek emergency medical help immediately.

Heart Conditions

Abdominal aortic aneurysm

The aorta is a major blood vessel that runs down the middle of your chest and abdomen. This vessel is the main supplier of blood to the body. If the walls of the lower portion of the aorta are weakened, the area bulges and may rupture. Most bulges remain small, and you may never have any symptoms. This condition can, however, cause life-threatening bleeding when if it becomes enlarged and ruptures. Diagnosis of an aortic aneurysm is found with painless tests like X-ray, Abdominal Ultrasound, or CT.

Angioplasty

Angioplasty is a technique to open an obstructed or narrowed artery. A surgeon inserts a tiny balloon through a catheter, when the balloon is in place; it is inflated thus widening the artery. During surgery, the doctor may also insert a stent. This is a small coil that holds the artery open to prevent future collapse.

The type of angioplasty used depends on where the artery is located. As an example: Coronary angioplasty is for arteries located in the heart. Carotid angioplasty applies to the arteries located in your neck supplying blood to your brain.

Angina

Angina is chest pain that is caused when the flow of blood to the heart is reduced. It can be a symptom of coronary artery disease. It may be hard to distinguish angina from other chest pain caused by indigestion. Typically it is described as a weight on the chest area, squeezing or tightness or pain. Other symptoms may include sweating, shortness of breath, or pain in the leg, arm or jaw. In women, the symptoms may be different. Women report feeling nausea, abdominal pain, and shortness of breath. If you experience chest pain that does not go away when you rest or take your heart medicine, this may be a sign that you are having a heart attack, call 911 or emergency medical help.

Anti-coagulation

Anti-coagulation drugs are used to prevent or inhibit the bloods ability to clot. They work by inactivating an enzyme and other clotting factors that occur naturally in the blood. Some anti-coagulation drugs work by inhibiting the liver's production of vitamin K, which creates proteins that allow the blood to clot. Patients who have had heart valve surgery, experience heart rhythm disorder, or have had major surgery may have anti-coagulation drugs prescribed to prevent excessive clotting. Common names for some anti-coagulation drugs are Warfin, dicumaro, heparin and aspirin. Excessive bleeding or bruising may occur when taking these medications. Let your doctor know if you experience nose bleeds, bleeding gums, or bruise easily. He may want to change or adjust your medication.

Aortic aneurysm

The aorta is a major blood vessel that runs through the center of your chest and abdomen. This vessel is the main supplier of blood to the body. When the walls of the aorta are weakened the area bulges and may rupture. Most bulges remain small, and you may never have any symptoms; an aneurysm can be life-threatening if it becomes enlarged and ruptures.

If the bulge is in the upper part of the aorta, it is called a thoracic aortic aneurysm. When the bulge is found in the lower portion of the aortic artery, it is called an abdominal aortic aneurysm. Diagnosis of either aortic aneurysm is found with painless tests like X-ray, Abdominal or Thoracic Ultrasound, as well as CT scan (Computed Tomography).

Aortic Regurgitation

Aortic Regurgitation (AR), also known as AI (aortic insufficiency), is a problem with the heart valve that prevents it from sealing properly. The broken seal causes blood to flow back into the chamber, when the heart is attempting to it pump out. A leaking valve hampers your heart in pumping blood to the rest of the body. This disorder may appear due to infections or could be a birth defect. Persons with Aortic Regurgitation may experience shortness of breath or feel tired. If the regurgitation is severe, your doctor will recommend surgery to repair or replace the valve.

Aortic Stenosis

The main artery carrying blood out of the heart is called the aorta. As blood is pumped out of the heart it passes through the aortic valve into the aorta (artery). If the valve is narrowed, due to a birth defect or disease, and does not open properly, then the heart has to work harder to get blood out to the body. This causes the left ventricle to become thicker as it is working harder. The extra work can result in chest pain. The narrowed opening slows down the amount of blood reaching the brain and other parts of the body. In severe cases, blood may back up into the lungs.

Aortic Stenosis is sometimes presented at birth, but typically appears later in life. Some of the causes are rheumatic fever after strep throat, and calcium deposits that build up around the valve.

Symptoms include chest pain, chest tightness, pain during exercise, fainting, dizziness or a feeling of heart beat palpitations.

Your primary doctor using a stethoscope may hear a heart murmur or clicking sound. If this happens, he will recommend that you visit a Cardiologist to verify the source of the sound.

There are many ways to detect Aortic Stenosis such as Chest x-ray, Doppler echocardiography, ECG, Exercise stress testing, MRI of the heart, Left cardiac catheterization, and Trans- esophageal echocardiogram (TEE).

Depending on the severity of your symptoms, you may be monitored or prescribed medications to alter heart rhythms. Surgery to repair or replace the valve is the preferred treatment for adults.

Arrhythmias

An arrhythmia is a disorder of your heart beat rhythm. When the heart beats too fast, this is called tachycardia. A heart beat that is too slow is called bradycardia. Some people experience no symptoms at all while others experience dizziness, shortness of breath, sweating, chest pain or fainting.

Serious arrhythmias are life-threatening and require urgent treatment. Patients in this instance may receive an electrical shock therapy called defibrillation or cardio-version. Other treatments include a short term pacemaker, intravenous medication, or medications given by mouth.

There are medications available that prevent arrhythmias from happening again. In more severe cases, a Pacemaker may be implanted. Pacemakers can sense an irregular heartbeat and send a small electrical signal to your heart to correct the rhythm of your heart.

Arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries)

Arteriosclerosis occurs when there has been a loss in the flexibility of the arteries. Arteries are large vessels that carry blood with nutrients and oxygen to all parts of the body. The exact cause of arteriosclerosis is not entirely understood. Too much pressure in your arteries over time will cause them to thicken and stiffen. It is also believed that damage or inflammation in the arteries, paves the way for cells and other substances to stick to the walls forming clumps. These clumps attract more debris, build up and have the possibility of breaking off. The clump may travel to another part of the body cutting off blood flow, as in the case of a heart attack. Symptoms of arteriosclerosis include chest pain (angina), numbness in your arms or legs, leg pain, as well as high blood pressure which can lead to and kidney failure. Patients may also experience difficulty in having sex when the arteries leading to the genitals become blocked.

Treatment includes a change of diet, cholesterol medications that are intended to lower "bad" cholesterol; anti-platelet medications such as aspirin, and surgery in advanced cases.

Atherosclerosis (plaque in the arteries)

Atherosclerosis occurs when there is a buildup of plaque and fatty deposits in the arteries that restrict the flow of blood. Arteries are large vessels that carry blood with nutrients and oxygen to all parts of the body. Over time, these arteries become blocked which cuts off the supply of blood to one or more systems of the body. Most commonly thought of as the cause of a heart attack, however, it is important to know that when any of the bodies systems that are cut off from the supply of oxygen and nutrients by a clot or clump, they too will eventually fail.

This disease is not only preventable it is reversible. Changing diet, including exercise into your daily routine, or taking medications to lower cholesterol, have all been proven to slow and reverse the effects of this disease. More severe cases may require surgery.

The types of surgery used to repair damage from atherosclerosis are Angioplasty and stent placement, Thrombolytic therapy, where drugs are given to manage and dissolve clots, and bypass surgery. In bypass surgery, a surgeon will use a portion of another vein or surgical mesh to create a new route for blood to flow "by-passing" the blocked area of the artery.

Atrial Fibrillation

Atrial Fibrillation occurs, when the upper chambers of the heart beat rapidly, and it is out of sync with the lower chambers of the heart. When this occurs, patients may experience shortness of breath, weakness and the sensation of heart palpitations.

Treatments include medications to control the rhythm of the heart. Medications are also given for the prevention of blood clots.

Depending on the severity of your episodes, your doctor may use a method called Electrical cardioversion. In this procedure, you are sedated, and electrical paddles are used to shock the heart, stopping it briefly so that when it restarts it will resume a normal rhythm.

Bypass surgery

Bypass surgery is performed when a physician is unable to treat a blockage in one or more of the arteries with diet, exercise or drugs. When the damage to the artery is beyond repair by angioplasty and stent placement, a bypass is required to restore the flow of blood.

Typically the portion the artery that is blocked would be clamped off. The surgeon grafts a portion of a vein or surgical mesh creating new artery and attaches it as a bridge bypassing the damaged portion of the artery.

Cardiomyopathy

Cardiomyopathy is a disease of the heart muscle. The heart muscle becomes rigid, thickened or enlarged. Over time, the heart becomes weaker; it becomes harder for the muscle to maintain a regular rhythm. This can cause arrhythmia, heart valve problems and can lead to heart failure.

Often the cause of this disease is not known. Some people are born with cardiomyopathy, but it can also develop due to another disease in the body. The disease can be controlled with medicines, surgery, arrhythmia correction devices, and lifestyle changes.

Carotid artery disease or blockage

The carotid arteries are the main supply of blood to your brain. These arteries are located on either side of your neck. When these arteries become blocked this can increase the risk of a stroke. In traditional surgery, a surgeon may open the artery and carefully clean out the blockage (plaque). Another procedure called Carotid angioplasty is used to widen a blocked artery. Here, the physician will insert and inflate a tiny balloon to widen the artery. In addition, a small coil called a stent is sometimes placed to hold the artery open and prevent it from narrowing again.

Circulation problems

Circulation problems exist in any portion of the body that is not receiving a sufficient blood supply. This is usually due to a blocked or narrowed artery. Factors such as smoking, obesity, diabetes and high fat level in the blood contribute to the blockage. Stopping smoking, limiting fats in the diet and cutting down on sugar will assist in managing or reversing circulation problems. In some cases, where the condition has progressed, the doctor may recommend medications or surgery to clear the blockage.

Serious circulation problems are experienced with many different symptoms. Some of the symptoms are numbness on one side of the body, chest pain, chest pressure, difficulty breathing; sudden weakness or numbness on one side of the body. More symptoms are slurred speech; loss of vision; paralysis or inability to move a body part; sudden, severe headache; or confusion or loss of consciousness. If you experience any of these symptoms, call 911 or seek emergency medical assistance.

Congestive Heart Failure

Heart failure or congestive heart failure is a condition when your heart is no longer able to pump enough blood to keep your body supplied. Narrowed arteries or high blood pressure eventually take their toll on the heart leaving it stiff and weak and unable to pump blood efficiently.

Symptoms include shortness of breath, weakness, swelling (edema) in your legs, ankles and feet, fatigue rapid or irregular heartbeat, persistent cough; sudden weight gain from fluid retention, difficulty concentrating, lack of appetite and nausea.

Although you cannot reverse a lot of the conditions that cause heart failure, it can be treated. Your doctor will use medications, and recommend exercise; weight loss, reducing salt intake and managing stress, all of these changes will help to improve the symptoms of heart failure.

Coronary Artery Disease

The coronary arteries supply your heart with blood. When these become blocked or diseased, the amount of oxygen and nutrients your heart is receiving is reduced. Over time, this will result in reduced performance of the heart. Left untreated, a complete blockage of the arteries can occur, and this may lead to a heart attack. Symptoms include shortness of breath, chest pain, and any of the symptoms that may be associated with heart disease signs and symptoms.

There are many drugs to help manage coronary artery disease. Your doctor will perform tests and select the drug that works best for you. There are also things that you can do to prevent this disease and help your body to repair itself. Eating healthy food, exercise, weight loss and stopping smoking will assist your body in keeping your arteries clear.

When the disease has progressed past a point of diet, exercise, or medication, it may be necessary for surgery to clear the blockage. The types of surgery usually performed are Angioplasty and stent placement, or in some cases, coronary artery bypass surgery is used to restore the flow of blood to the heart.

Coumadin (Warfarin), Blood Thinners)

Coumadin is the brand name of a drug that interferes with the formation of blood clots; it is called an anticoagulant. Warfarin is the generic version of the same drug. These drugs are prescribed to regulate clotting in the body, not to eliminate clotting or clots completely. Another type of blood thinner is called an antiplatelet drug; common aspirin is in that category. Antiplatelet drugs prevent blood cells from clumping together, thus preventing clots.

The bloods ability to clot is beneficial; it prevents excessive bleeding when we are injured. However, harmful blood clots can cause a stroke, pulmonary embolism, heart attack and other health problems.

Doctors may prescribe anticoagulants and antiplatelet drugs after major surgery to prevent clotting. When there has been surgery, childbirth, extended bed rest, broken bones or a family history of clotting problems, doctors are particularly vigilant about developing clots. Blood clots can be life-threatening and should be treated by a physician.

Doctors perform blood tests to determine the clotting factors in each patient's blood. The medication dosage is varied until the ideal clotting time is achieved. The blood must be monitored regularly when taking anticoagulants.

Patients run the risk of serious bleeding problems. You should report injuries immediately to your physician while taking these drugs, especially head injuries. Excessive bleeding or bruising may occur when taking these medications. Let your doctor know if you experience nose bleeds, bleeding gums, or bruise easily. He may want to change or adjust your medication.

Warfarin can cause birth defects; discuss your plans for pregnancy with your physician.

Edema (swelling)

Edema or swelling occurs when fluid becomes trapped in any part of the body. You may have noticed your hands, feet or ankles, swollen at some point. Non-threatening edema can be a result of too many salty foods, sitting in one position for too long, pregnancy or a number of causes. In most cases, edema will go away naturally. When help is needed, drugs called diuretics are used to help the body get rid of excess fluid.

Serious complications of edema can be a sign of heart failure, kidney failure or cirrhosis of the liver. When edema is caused by one of these conditions, the disease itself must be treated.

Fainting (Syncope)

Fainting is the sudden loss of consciousness. It occurs due to loss of blood to the brain. It is brief and includes loss of muscle control. Fainting may be caused by low blood sugar, standing in one place too long, and dehydration.

Fainting can be a sign of a serious problem with your heart such as abnormal heart rhythm or heart attack. If you or someone you are with is over 50 and faints, you should seek immediate medical attention.

A cardiologist will test for problems such as anemia, chemical imbalances in the body that are due to medications or dehydration. He may test using cardiac rhythm monitoring, an electrocardiogram or any number of tests, to determine whether the fainting is caused by a more serious problem.

Heart Attack

A heart attack usually occurs when an artery that carries blood to the heart is blocked by a clot. The heart is deprived of oxygen and beats in an irregular manner. The pumping force of the heart is diminished causing a lack of oxygen to the rest of the body. The heart muscle that is deprived of oxygen will begin to die.

Patients with a family history of heart disease should be checked by a cardiologist early in life to prevent future problems. Lifestyle changes such as not smoking, weight control and low fat diets have been proven, to help prevent developing conditions in the body that cause heart attacks.

Symptoms of a heart attack include numbness on one side of the body, chest pain or pressure, difficulty breathing; sudden weakness or numbness on one side of the body. Pain may also be felt in the jaw, shoulder, back, arms or stomach. More symptoms are slurred speech; loss of vision; paralysis or inability to move a body part; sudden, severe headache; or confusion or loss of consciousness. If you experience these symptoms, call 911 or seek emergency medical assistance.

Heart Murmur

A heart murmur is any unusual sound that is heard other than the normal sound associated with your heart beat. Most murmurs are harmless; however, some require monitoring and follow-up with a cardiologist.

There are many non-invasive tests a cardiologist can use to determine if your murmur is innocent or an indicator of heart disease. Chest X-ray, echocardiogram, or an electrocardiogram all, will give your doctor a clearer picture of your heart and its current health.

See a doctor immediately if you notice skin tinged blue on fingertips or lips, swelling (edema), shortness of breath, chronic cough, enlarged neck veins, or any of the symptoms that are associated with heart attack.

Hypercholesterolemia (High Cholesterol)

Hypercholesterolemia or high cholesterol is a condition where the amount of harmful cholesterol is elevated in your blood stream. The body uses cholesterol to form cell membranes and to make hormones. The human liver will make all of the cholesterol that we need for these processes. When we ingest non-water soluble fats and foods high in cholesterol, these products will leave deposits on our arteries as they travel through the body. Over time, our arteries become blocked with the deposits. A condition called atherosclerosis (plaque in the arteries) is developed which may lead to heart attack.

A cardiologist will perform tests to determine whether you have the tendency towards high cholesterol and heart disease. High cholesterol has no symptoms. Early detection and management of high cholesterol with diet and exercise is the best prevention of heart disease.

Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)

Blood pressure is simply a measurement of the force of blood, against the walls of the arteries. If the pressure is high, it causes health problems. When the heart pumps blood into arteries that are narrowed due to heart disease, the pressure on the artery walls is increased. This will weaken and damage the walls.

You may have high blood pressure for years and not have any symptoms. It is only after the damage is done that the effects of high blood pressure are noticeable. It is a simple test to have your blood pressure checked, and that is the easiest way to prevent health problems. If you have high blood pressure, your doctor will prescribe medications, or diet and exercise to normalize the pressure.

Lightheadedness

There are many causes for the sensation of lightheadedness. Anxiety, anemia, car sickness, pregnancy, and a simple ear infection are just a few possible reasons for your body sending this signal to you. However some causes of lightheadedness can be attributed to cardiac arrhythmia or heart attack should be attended to immediately by a doctor or cardiologist.

Lipid Management

Lipid management is the testing and management, of the amount and type of fat circulating in blood and through the systems of the body. The measurement of fats in the blood is important as it is an indicator fat deposits that may be found in the arteries. This measurement can be used as a predictor of good or bad cardiovascular health.

The cholesterol levels can be measured by blood testing. If the level is found high, your cardiologist will make diet, weight loss and exercise recommendations to bring your level down. Doctors also prescribe drugs called statins to lower the amount of cholesterol in the body.

Metabolic syndrome (insulin resistance)

Insulin resistance, also called metabolic syndrome, occurs when the pancreas is producing insulin in an insufficient quantity to overcome the cells resistance to it. When the body converts food to sugar the body uses insulin to get that energy to the cells. Some people are born insulin resistant, others who are on a high sugar diet will over time; develop cells that are resistant to insulin. When this occurs the pancreas is over taxed by trying to produce more insulin, to compensate for the resistance. Insulin resistance is considered to be as important as high cholesterol, in predicting cardiovascular disease by some doctors.

To prevent insulin resistance, a diet low in fats and sugars, along with exercise will be recommended by your doctor. As diabetics are statistically known to have a higher instance of heart disease, prevention of this syndrome by a lifestyle changes, will go a long way to protect your cardiovascular system.

Mitral regurgitation

Mitral regurgitation occurs when the mitral valve, the valves that separate the upper and lower chambers of the left side of the heart does not seal properly, and blood flows backwards into the atrium.

Mitral Stenosis

The mitral valve controls the flow of blood on the left side of the heart. This valve separates the upper and lower chambers. Mitral stenosis occurs when this valve does not open properly. This can cause a swelling of the upper chamber of the heart due to buildup of fluids and increased pressure.

Treatment depends on the severity of symptoms. Blood thinners, diuretics and antibiotics are used as treatment for this condition. If your cardiologist determines it is necessary, he may recommend surgery such as valvuloplasty or open surgery to repair the valve.

Mitral valve prolapse

The mitral valve controls blood flowing through the left side of the heart. This valve allows the blood to enter the left ventricle. As the left ventricle contracts to pump blood, the mitral valve closes.

When the valve has slipped out of its normal position (prolapsed), blood may flow backwards into the atrium. If this occurs, it is called mitral regurgitation. Mitral regurgitation causes the heart to work harder to pump out blood, and that increases the wear on the valve. This extra work leads to more valve damage, and the risk of heart failure.

This condition is treated with medication, or if severe, the damaged valve may be replaced with a new artificial valve or the valve may be reconstructed using some of your own tissue.

Myocardial Infarction (Heart Attack)

Myocardial Infarction is the medical name for a heart attack. Myocardial infarctions usually occur when an artery that carries blood to the heart is blocked by a clot. The heart is deprived of oxygen and beats in an irregular manner. The pumping force of the heart is diminished, causing a lack of oxygen to the rest of the body. The heart muscle that is deprived of oxygen will begin to die. Patients with a family history of heart disease should be checked by a cardiologist early in life, to prevent future problems. Lifestyle changes such as not smoking, weight control and low fat diets have been proven to help prevent developing the conditions in the body that cause heart attacks.

Symptoms of a heart attack include numbness on one side of the body, chest pain or pressure, difficulty breathing; sudden weakness or numbness on one side of the body. Pain may also be felt in the jaw, shoulder, back, arms or stomach. More symptoms are slurred speech; loss of vision; paralysis or inability to move a body part; sudden, severe headache; or confusion or loss of consciousness. If you experience these symptoms, call 911 or seek emergency medical assistance.

Myocardial Ischemia

Myocardial ischemia is caused by partial or complete blockage of the coronary arteries. This decreases the oxygen supply to the heart and if sudden may lead to heart attack. The decreased oxygen supply can damage your heart muscle, diminishing its ability to pump blood efficiently. It may also cause serious interruption to normal heart rhythms. Your cardiologist will determine if the condition can be remedied by medications, or if the heart will require surgery to open the blocked arteries.

Palpitations

Heart palpitations are the awareness of your own heartbeat. Your heart may feel as if it is racing or slowed down. Most often palpitations are not a serious medical condition. They can be caused by panic attacks, fear, too much nicotine or caffeine. Diet pills and illegal drugs are also a source of palpitations. Exercise or fever may also cause palpitations.

Some palpitations are due to a change in your normal heart rhythm. These should be checked by a cardiologist. If you or your family has a history of heart disease, this may be a good time to visit a cardiologist. A cardiologist will test for several factors, like a problem with the heart valve, high potassium level, overactive thyroid and low levels of oxygen in the blood. The specialist can advise you on how your current medications may be affecting your heart rhythm.

If you feel chest pain, shortness of breath, lightheadedness or unusual sweating call 911 or get emergency assistance.

Pericarditis, Pericardial effusion

The membrane sac that encloses the heart and the base of the large blood vessels is called the pericardium. This sac contains two layers, between the layers there is a small amount of fluid. When this area becomes inflamed the conditions is called pericarditis. When there has been an accumulation of additional fluid in the pericardium, it is called pericardial effusion.

The inflammation may be due to infection viral or bacterial, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, kidney failure, cancer, blockage or many other factors. Prior heart surgery or heart attack known as (Dressler's syndrome) has also been found to be the cause of inflammation. In some cases, it is not possible to know the exact cause of the inflammation.

A cardiologist will perform tests for pericardial effusion using an Echocardiogram, Electrocardiogram, Computerized tomography (CT) or by other non-invasive test. Treatment is usually focused on treating the underlying cause for the inflammation.

Peripheral artery disease (PAD)

Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a cardiovascular problem, where the arteries supplying blood to the limbs have narrowed, causing a reduction in the amount of blood circulating to these areas.

Generally, PAD affects the legs causing pain when walking. PAD may be a symptom of a larger problem of deposits building up in your arteries, called atherosclerosis. A cardiologist will perform tests to determine if this is the case. Changes in diet, exercise and stopping smoking, will go a long way to improve symptoms of PAD.

Shortness of breath

Shortness of breath is a symptom in most cardiovascular difficulties. The medical term dyspnea means a difficulty with breathing, usually caused by lung or heart disease. It may be experienced as the feeling of suffocating, pressure on the chest, or unable to catch one's breath.

Unusual exercise, extreme heat, or high altitudes can cause this feeling of shortness of breath. Without those things present, if you experience this suddenly you should contact your doctor.

Stent

A stent is a small metal coil that is placed in the artery, to support and hold open a section of the artery that has narrowed. Persons who have plaque buildup in their arteries (atherosclerosis) causing blockage may have a stent placed to restore the flow of blood.

The stent can be inserted into the artery using a catheter, and are often used after angioplasty has been done to widen the artery. Some stents also contain a drug that slowly releases a chemical to keep the arteries clear. Angioplasty and stent placement are much less invasive than open heart surgeries. Your cardiologist will perform tests and recommend the best procedure for you. Patients with an existing stent will see a cardiologist for follow up care and maintenance.

Syncope (Fainting)

Syncope is the medical name for fainting. Fainting is the sudden loss of consciousness. It occurs due to loss of blood to the brain. It is brief and includes loss of muscle control. Fainting may be caused by low blood sugar, standing in one place too long, and dehydration.

Fainting can also be a sign of a serious problem with your heart such as abnormal heart rhythm or heart attack. If you or someone you are with is over 50 and faints, you should seek immediate medical attention.

A cardiologist will perform tests for problems, such as anemia or chemical imbalances in the body that are due to medications or dehydration. He will perform cardiac rhythm monitoring, an electrocardiogram or any number of tests, to determine whether the fainting is caused by a more serious cardiovascular problem.

Valve disease (History of replacement with mechanical or tissue valve)

Valve disease occurs, when one of the four valves in the heart fails to open or close properly. The valves of the heart control the flow of blood through the heart and out to the body. The valves of your heart are constantly working, opening and closing every time your heart beats.

Many people are born with a faulty valve and live their lives completely unaware of the malfunction. In persons where the condition is severe at birth, or has begun to cause symptoms, surgery to correct the valve may be recommended.

There are no drugs to cure valve problems, but your cardiologist will provide you with options to manage the symptoms. A cardiologist is also in the best position to offer the latest breakthrough options for surgery if it needed.

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