Category Archives: Uncategorized

Is leg pain a sign of vascular disease?

In our latest “Ask a Cardiologist” video, interventional cardiologist Dr. Amir Haghighat addresses the signs and symptoms of vascular disease in the legs and how a diagnosis is made.  Common symptoms include cramping when walking that goes away with rest, swelling of the ankles and feet, and discoloration, however Dr. Haghighat explains the types of leg pain and other symptoms in greater detail in our video.  Vascular ultrasound can identify blockages and reflux.  The Cardiovascular Institute in Panama City, Florida offers a nationally accredited vascular lab and minimally invasive treatments for the most common issues.

 

How are cardiologists involved in treating stroke?

Our latest Ask a Cardiologist video featuring Dr. Samir N. Patel covers why a stroke, or a brain attack, is definitely something you should see your cardiologist about.  A common underlying cause of stroke is vascular disease. An ischemic stroke occurs when a piece of thrombus or plaque that has been dislodged travels into the arteries in the brain causing a blockage. Plaque build-up in the carotid artery is often a culprit as is atrial fibrillation.  Fortunately, cardiologists at Cardiovascular Institute also offer interventional treatment for stroke prevention such as a stent placement procedure to open up a clogged carotid artery.

Is Your Heart Ready for the Holidays?

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Study finds increase in Heart Failure hospitalizations immediately following major holidays.

Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years. These events are filled with family, friends and lots of delicious food and drink. However according to a study published in the Journal of Cardiac Failure, these events are also associated with an increase in heart related hospitalizations – primarily among patients with heart failure. While the exact causes vary from patient to patient, the top two offenders are: 1.) overeating and increased sodium consumption; and 2.) postponing medical care. It’s understandable that no one wants to miss out on the fun, so we have some tips to help keep your heart healthy while you enjoy the holidays.

1.) Be Aware of Hidden Salt. This is especially important for patients with heart failure, however everyone, even those in perfect health, should be mindful of their sodium consumption. For example, many people do not realize how much sodium is in bread. Now think about what goes into America’s favorite holiday side dish – Stuffing (or Dressing). It’s essentially made of bread (2 oz of cornbread has 340 mg of sodium) and chicken broth (1 cup of broth has 860 mg of sodium), and later topped with gravy (1/4 cup of gravy has 290 mg of sodium). Some estimates come up with more than 5,000 mg of sodium in a typical Thanksgiving meal, more than twice the recommended daily allowance. And that doesn’t include breakfast that day or your late night turkey sandwich.

What Can You Do? With homemade dishes at holiday dinners you can’t read the labels, but you can be mindful of the ingredients. Simply substituting low sodium chicken broth which only has 70 mg of sodium per cup can make a big difference and you’ll find that if you use other seasonings, like sage for example, to give your dressing some flavor that no one will notice the difference. Use this strategy with your favorite casseroles as well. Or substitute steamed green beans and baked sweet potatoes with a sprinkle of cinnamon for some of the more caloric and sodium laden side dishes. Skip the dinner rolls, after all there is already bread on your plate in the dressing. The desserts are loaded with salt too. Pumpkin pie is usually the healthiest of the bunch. Make it healthier by skipping the crust.

2.) Portion Control. At holiday dinners there is so much good food to eat most of us tend to over load our plates making an unhealthy choice even worse when it’s supersized. And American dinner plates are larger than ever, averaging 11-12 inches in diameter. Fifty years ago the average plate was only nine inches. It’s no coincidence the average waist line was also a lot smaller then.

What Can You Do? Remember that you don’t have to fill your plate. It’s ok to have some empty space. If you don’t trust yourself to leave some empty space, eat off of a salad plate. Salad plates have also grown in size, many are nearly the size of an old school dinner plate. Speaking of salad, if that is the initial course of the meal or a veggie tray is available prior to the meal, enjoy plenty of veggies to fill your tummy so you are not so hungry when it’s time for the main course. Remember that you don’t have to eat it all now. You don’t even have to have a helping of everything that is served. Plan on left overs so you don’t have to miss out on anything. Continue to enjoy your holiday favorites in moderation for the next few days.

3.) Do Something With All Those Extra Calories. Another holiday tradition is to fall asleep after the big meal. The frenzy of activity leading up to the big meal and that big dose of tryptophan from the turkey might make it seem that a good nap is inevitable. But remember that the food we eat is fuel for our bodies. If we take in more fuel than we need, it has to be stored somewhere. Think belly, thighs, love handles.

What Can You Do? Start a new holiday tradition and take a family walk. We live in Florida after all so there is no snow or ice to keep us indoors. Look for leaves changing colors or Christmas lights. Enjoy a walk on the beach without all the spring and summer crowds. A nice long walk may not burn all those extra calories, but it will definitely help. As a bonus, you’re creating more fond family memories than you would if you were asleep on the couch. And when you eventually take that nap it will be much more gratifying.

4.) Be Mindful of Symptoms & Don’t Skip Medications. If you have a heart condition, the holidays are not the time to forget about it. After all, you’ll enjoy the holidays much more if you know you have many more of them to come. Even if that means taking the time to see your doctor when there are gatherings to attend, gifts to buy or cakes to be baked. Check your blood pressure at the grocery store and don’t just dismiss high blood pressure as holiday stress. If you have heart failure, don’t forget to weigh yourself everyday and don’t ignore any shortness of breath. Your daily schedule may be thrown off a bit by travel or family events, but keep your medications on track.

With these simple tips and using good common sense, you can hopefully avoid the most common heart health pitfalls that occur over the holidays.

The physicians and staff at Cardiovascular Institute wish you a healthy and joyous holiday season.

 

Go Red for Women 2015 – Dr. Patel talks with Newschannel 7 about Women & Heart Disease

Interventional cardiologist Dr. Samir Patel, joined by one of his patients, talks with WJHG about how the signs of heart disease are often different in women than what is commonly seen in men. And how women frequently dismiss those signs. One patient explains how she also most cancelled her appointment with the doctor since she felt sure it was just the signs of aging.
Go Red for Heart Disease Awareness

When Your Heart Starts Racing Unexpectedly

Could it be stress related? One busy, young mom finds out it could be a Heart Rhythm Disorder.

Jennifer Howze thought she was having an anxiety attack when she was rushed to the Emergency Room in June of this year. While watching her son’s baseball game, she fell unconscious at the ball field and when she woke up she felt her heart racing. In the ER, her heart rate was 230 beats per minute and she was given IV medication to slow it down. Her ER doctor advised the busy 36-year-old working mom to control her stress level and to stay hydrated.
A few weeks later, it happened again. She thought if she could remain calm, she could slow her racing heart down on her own. But she could not. After a third episode and another trip to the ER, she made an appointment with cardiologist Dr. Hari Baddigam who specializes in electrophysiology. After reviewing her electrocardiograms (ECGs), from the previous ER visits, he was able to diagnose Jennifer with Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT) – a heart rhythm disorder.
In a normal heart, electrical signals travel certain pathways in order to trigger the contraction, or pumping, of the upper and lower chambers,” said Dr. Baddigam. “These signals pass through nodes which control the heart rate, signaling when to speed up with physical activity and when to slow down when the body is at rest. In patients with SVT, these electrical signals sometimes travel down additional fibers or pathways and bypass the node, which allows an abnormally fast heart rate.” While normal adults have heart rates of 60 to 100 beats per minute, people with SVT can have episodes with heart rates of 160 to 220 beats per minute, or as in Jennifer’s case, even faster. These episodes can last minutes or hours causing palpitations, lightheadedness, shortness of breath, and in rare cases, loss of consciousness.
Jennifer’s treatment options were to take medication everyday for the rest of her life to prevent or control the episodes or to have a procedure called a cardiac ablation which is a cure for the condition in 90 to 95 percent of cases. In August, Jennifer scheduled her cardiac ablation.
The ablation procedure was performed in the cardiac catheterization lab at Bay Medical Sacred Heart – the only hospital in our region with the advanced technology to provide this service. First, Dr. Baddigam mapped the electrical pathways in Jennifer’s heart and identified the location of the extra pathway causing the problem. “In order to stop the electrical signals from taking these extra pathways,” said Dr. Baddigam, “radiofrequency energy is used to ablate, or burn, a tiny area of the heart muscle which creates scar tissue that blocks the signal.” The procedure is performed through an IV line to access a vein, where a small, spaghetti-sized, flexible tube is navigated through the blood vessels to reach the heart.
Now, more than three months later, Jennifer has not had an episode since. “Initially I was still worried that it might happen again,” said Jennifer. “The previous three episodes were very scary for me and my family. Now that several months have gone by without incident, I have my peace of mind back. It was definitely worth it to have the procedure.”
Cardiac Electrophysiologists Hari Baddigam, M.D. and J. L. Trantham, M.D. with the Cardiovascular Institute of Northwest Florida are the only physicians in Panama City and the surrounding area able to perform cardiac ablations and with access to the advanced technology necessary to map the cause of heart rhythm disorders.

When Your Heart Starts Racing Unexpectedly

Could it be stress related? One busy, young mom finds out it could be a Heart Rhythm Disorder.

Jen Headshot (723x800) Jennifer Howze was experiencing random episodes of a racing heart rate. After three frightening experiences, she was diagnosed with SVT.

Jennifer Howze thought she was having an anxiety attack when she was rushed to the Emergency Room in June of this year. While watching her son’s baseball game, she fell unconscious at the ball field and when she woke up she felt her heart racing. In the ER, her heart rate was 230 beats per minute and she was given IV medication to slow it down. Her ER doctor advised the busy 36-year-old working mom to control her stress level and to stay hydrated.

A few weeks later, it happened again. She thought if she could remain calm, she could slow her racing heart down on her own. But she could not. After a third episode and another trip to the ER, she made an appointment with cardiologist Dr. Hari Baddigam who specializes in electrophysiology. After reviewing her electrocardiograms (ECGs), from the previous ER visits, he was able to diagnose Jennifer with Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT) – a heart rhythm disorder.

“In a normal heart, electrical signals travel certain pathways in order to trigger the contraction, or pumping, of the upper and lower chambers,” said Dr. Baddigam. “These signals pass through nodes which control the heart rate, signaling when to speed up with physical activity and when to slow down when the body is at rest. In patients with SVT, these electrical signals sometimes travel down additional fibers or pathways and bypass the node, which allows an abnormally fast heart rate.” While normal adults have heart rates of 60 to 100 beats per minute, people with SVT can have episodes with heart rates of 160 to 220 beats per minute, or as in Jennifer’s case, even faster. These episodes can last minutes or hours causing palpitations, lightheadedness, shortness of breath, and in rare cases, loss of consciousness.

Jennifer’s treatment options were to take medication everyday for the rest of her life to prevent or control the episodes or to have a procedure called a cardiac ablation which is a cure for the condition in 90 to 95 percent of cases. In August, Jennifer scheduled her cardiac ablation.

The ablation procedure was performed in the cardiac catheterization lab at Bay Medical Sacred Heart – the only hospital in our region with the advanced technology to provide this service. First, Dr. Baddigam mapped the electrical pathways in Jennifer’s heart and identified the location of the extra pathway causing the problem. “In order to stop the electrical signals from taking these extra pathways,” said Dr. Baddigam, “radiofrequency energy is used to ablate, or burn, a tiny area of the heart muscle which creates scar tissue that blocks the signal.” The procedure is performed through an IV line to access a vein, where a small, spaghetti-sized, flexible tube is navigated through the blood vessels to reach the heart.

Now, more than three months later, Jennifer has not had an episode since. “Initially I was still worried that it might happen again,” said Jennifer. “The previous three episodes were very scary for me and my family. Now that several months have gone by without incident, I have my peace of mind back. It was definitely worth it to have the procedure.”

Cardiac Electrophysiologists Hari Baddigam, M.D. and J. L. Trantham, M.D. with the Cardiovascular Institute of Northwest Florida are the only physicians in Panama City and the surrounding area able to perform cardiac ablations and with access to the advanced technology necessary to map the cause of heart rhythm disorders.

New Procedure Opens Chronic Arterial Blockages & Improves Quality of Life for Patients

A chronic total occlusion (CTO) is a 100% blockage in a coronary artery that has hardened over time making it difficult to open without major surgery. Now, new technology and new techniques available in the cath lab at Bay Medical Sacred Heart allows cardiologists Dr. Amir Haghighat and Dr. Samir Patel to help patients who are suffering from chest pain, shortness of breath and other symptoms of CTO to regain their quality of life.

Signs of Heart Disease in Women

Dr. Haghighat and patient Mrs. Kucera speak with WMBB-TV about why it’s important for women to be aware of the signs of heart disease. A woman’s symptoms are not always the same as a man’s.