January 24, 2011

Could Your Cardiologist Help MS Patients in the Future?

Posted in Heart Disease in the News tagged , , , , , , at 2:57 pm by keepyourhearthealthy

Main symptoms of Multiple sclerosis. Sources a...

Image via Wikipedia

A large meeting of physicians held last week discussed a new procedure which could lead to interventional cardiologists helping patients with MS (Multiple Sclerosis).

It may seem like treating MS is completely out of a cardiologists’ realm but some scientists are suggesting there can be a link between the blood vessels and MS.  MS is a chronic disease which involves numbness, weakness and muscle spasms in various parts of the body.  The most afflicted patients have tremors and are unable to walk or speak.  Most medical websites state the disease is caused by problems with the immune system and it is best treated with drugs.  Apparently some physicians are working on a non-pharmacologic method now.

At the International Symposium on Endovascular Therapy in Miami last week, physicians discussed a new procedure in which the veins in the neck and around the spine are opened up more with balloon angioplasty (similar to the procedure done in the heart arteries for blockages).  This vein angioplasty has been experimented on patients with MS and some of those patients saw improvement in their symptoms.  More trials are underway to look for benefits in more MS patients.

The procedure itself brought up quite a bit of controversy at the meeting.  While the MS community is hopeful for a promising new procedure such as this, the physicians themselves appear to be less enthusiastic about performing the vein angioplasty until studies show conclusive evidence of it’s benefit.

September 24, 2010

Cardiology On The Verge Of Technological Change

Posted in Heart Disease in the News, New Heart Studies tagged , , , , , , , , , , at 12:16 am by keepyourhearthealthy

GIF-animation showing a moving echocardiogram;...

Image of echocardiogram of heart via Wikipedia

People with heart disease have been on the look-out for newer treatments over the past several years.

It had seemed that cardiology was stagnant for awhile and many patients started to turn to alternative treatments just to see their options.  For the most part, there have been very few monumental advances in heart disease treatment since the development of stents 20+ years ago.

This week has been eye-opening for those patients looking to new treatment options.  Several studies have been reported at various cardiology conferences that could finally lead to some new monumental heart treatments.  The most promising ones are:

  1. Placement of New Heart Valves by Heart Catheterization
  2. Robotically Assisted Ballon Angioplasty and Stent Placement
  3. Left Atrial Appendage Closure for Patients With Atrial Fibrillation
  4. Self-Injections of Nesiritide Improves Function of Heart in Heart Failure

All of these new studies have the potential to bring about major changes in heart disease management.  For people with previously untreated aortic stenosis, they can get a new heart valve put in through a simple needle stick during a heart catheterization.  Cardiologists can provide more efficient care with robotically assisted balloon angioplasty and stenting.  Patients with atrial fibrillation may be able to go off of their Coumadin or other blood thinner if they have a left atrial appendage closure.  Heart failure patients could feel significantly better and avoid hospital stays by giving themselves shots of a heart failure drug at home.

Over the next week I will update you about each of these promising new treatments specifically so check out the upcoming posts for more info!