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Medical Malpractice Heart Disease

Medical Malpractice Heart Disease
Brien Roche

Heart disease is an ailment that afflicts millions. Doctors have the tools to deal with patients who are at high risk for heart disease.  There are a lot of people who are in that broad middle group of either being neither high risk nor low risk.  Their physicians must keep a close eye on the various numbers that apply if they are in that grouping.

How To Maintain Good Heart Health

Good heart health is a function of several different things:

1. Family history is important. The family background that is most important is that of close family members who have had a heart attack or stent prior to age 55. Coronary disease simply means cholesterol debris that builds up in the heart and vessels until you have a heart attack. You and your doctor need to know about that.

2. Exercise is a key to good heart care. This means 30 minutes of activity 5 times a week. Using good sense is the rule.

3. You need to be on the alert for symptoms. Symptoms to be most conscious of are heart beats that are not normal. Chest pain or any thing dealing with your heart or breathing that lasts for more than a few seconds must be noted. If these exist then it makes sense to inform your doctor. A check-up may be a treadmill stress test, echocardiogram, the placement of a heart monitor that you may wear for a couple of weeks or use of an app for your smartphone which is called Kardia Mobile. This app can do an EKG and send the results to your doctor.

4. Medication may be part of good heart care. Blood thinners reduce the risk of stroke by as much as 70%. Statins have a key role in reducing hardening of the blood vessels. Call, or contact us for a free consult.

Medical Malpractice Heart Disease Signs & Symptoms

Those people that are in the middle range for heart disease have some or all of the following signs or symptoms:

  • blood pressure between 129/89 and 139/89
  • LDL level of 100-130
  • HDL level of less than 40
  • Two or more of these risk factors from family background: heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes or smoking.

The Virginia Hospital Center’s, Dr. Notarianni, offers three (3) different screening tests for patients that fit into this category:

  • A fasting lipid profile which tests for cholesterol
  • High-sensitivity C-reactive protein test (CRP) which tests for inflamed vessels, the underlying cause of heart disease
  • CT scan for calcium score. These deposits are an early sign of hardened arteries

Those people in this middle risk group should have this testing.  If the heart disease progresses beyond this level, then it is tougher to deal with.

Cardiac Tests

There are a host of tests to deal with potential or real heart problems. These problems most often appear as chest pains.

The treatment options are:

  • Stress tests
  • Echocardiogram
  • Holter Monitors to track heart function over time
  • CT scans and CT angiograms
  • PET scans to assess heart muscle function
  • MRI of the heart
  • Myocardial Perfusion Imaging
  • Catheterization with use of stents to keep vessels open and free-flowing
  • Vessel analysis to look for bleeds or blocks in the leg that can flow to the heart or lungs

Call, or contact us for a free consult.

Medical Malpractice Heart Disease-Aortic Stenosis

One of the tougher heart problems to deal with is aortic stenosis. This is a calcium build up. This narrows the valve and restricts blood flow to the rest of the body. The heart then has to work much harder. The treatment is to replace the valve. The new valve is in a catheter placed into the artery in the leg and placed at the point of the blockage. This blockage had been fatal for many patients who were not able to have open heart surgery. Now there is an option. One of the good things about this approach is that the patient does not need general anesthesia. The new valve goes in place without removing the old valve.

Cardiac Revival

A doctor from Stoney Brook University School of Medicine in New York by the name of Sam Parnia has reported in a Washington Post article of March 26, 2013 that there are means by which people who have cardiac arrest are brought back to life.  Cardiac arrest is no longer the end.  He reports revival 4 to 5 hours after so-called “death”.  Death in this case is cardiac arrest. 

Once a person dies, the cells undergo their own specific changes.  After 8 hours if not revived, it is impossible to bring the brain cells back to life. Call, or contact us for a free consult.

However through a process known as Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) blood is taken from a person who has had cardiac arrest. Oxygen then enriches the blood. The CO2 is withdrawn. The refreshed blood goes back into the person. The refreshed blood restores breathing. This method has brought people back to life even 5 to 7 hours after they “died”.

Another technique of revival is cooling of the body.  That cooling slows down the brain and thereby slows down the process by which the brain cells die.  This is done through the use of large gel pads on the torso and the legs.  These pads attach to a machine that controls heat.

With these devices in place the chance of bringing a person back to “life” is much enhanced.

Medical Malpractice Heart Disease-Breath Shortness and Hypertension

Shortness of breath is always a troubling symptom. Its cause should be identified.

A healthy blood oxygen saturation rate is 98%.  What that means is that 98% of the O2 coming into your body is absorbed into the blood and travels throughout the system. If this is low then shortness of breath and chest pain occur.

Pulmonary Hypertension

Pulmonary hypertension is rare but deadly. It is confused with asthma.  The symptoms are most often seen in women between 20 and 40 and consist of shortness of breath, fatigue, dizziness, excess sweating upon exertion, excess sleeping, weight gain and chest pains. 

As the name implies, it involves high blood pressure in the arteries of the lungs.  This causes the chambers on the right side of the heart to work much harder.  It is the ventricle on the right side of the heart that pumps blood to the lungs. Making the right side of the heart work harder than normal impedes the overall flow of oxygen into the body. 

This must be treated promptly. Call, or contact us for a free consult.

Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is sometimes the cause of sudden death among student athletes.  The heart muscle enlarges. Detecting this in young athletes is not easy. The warning signs that present with older patients are not present with younger patients.

Pre-season school exams should focus on enlarged hearts and other heart symptoms.

Pediatric Heart Defects

A DC-Metro woman who is also a doctor with the FDA gave birth to her third child in 2009. The baby was healthy and thrived. When 6 weeks old the baby began vomiting, had trouble nursing and appeared to be in pain. Her doctor thought it was reflux.  The doctor suggested a change in the baby’s diet.

A few days passed with no apparent change. When the baby took a nap she cried a bit and then went silent.  When the mother went in to check on her, she discovered her baby lying motionless on her stomach and not breathing.  Her child was dead.

Child Heart Defects

The medical examiner said the baby died of a congenital heart defect. A low-cost test would have detected the defect in less than 60 seconds.  The device is a pulse oximeter which is a hand-held device that measures oxygen saturation in the blood through a sensor connected to the fleshy part of a baby’s hand or foot.   Low levels of blood oxygen are related to these types of heart defects.  Once something is seen through this low-cost device further testing is done to treat the problem.  If treated quickly most children are saved. Call, or contact us for a free consult.

Medical Malpractice Heart Disease-Energy Drinks

Drinks such as Monster Energy have high levels of caffeine.  The level of caffeine in these types of drinks is alleged to have caused the death of a 14 year old girl in Hagerstown, Maryland. She had heart arrhythmia that led to arrest after drinking two Monster Energy drinks over two days. A 24 ounce can of Monster Energy contains 240 milligrams of caffeine. An eight-ounce cup of coffee contains between 90 and 200 milligrams of caffeine. 

Energy Drinks – Caffeine Overload

The amount of caffeine that impacts the young and the old is less than the amount harmful to an adult. Caffeine causes the blood vessels to expand. This may be harmful to any person with a sensitivity to caffeine.

The Food and Drug Administration does not control energy drinks because they are not food.  Although most makers of these drinks do post the amount of caffeine in their product, that posting is some times wrong.  Consumer Reports states from an October 12, 2012 report in the Washington Post that of the 16 energy drinks they tested for caffeine five of them had more caffeine than what they listed.  That excess amount was 20  percent more than the listed amount.

Aside from caffeine, many of these drinks also contain taurine and guarana which are stimulants. An overload of these may be harmful especially to the young or old.

For more information on Medical Malpractice see the other pages on this site and also see the pages on Wikipedia and the article on the cardiovascular system on this site. Call, or contact us for a free consult.


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