The Main Forms of Treatment from Cardiology

There are several different, and common, causes of cardiac problems or disease, some of which are acute – that is they occur suddenly – and some of which are chronic – they are ongoing or recurring issues. Most of these are the result of something going wrong with either the heart’s circulation, the blood supply to the heart, the electrical system or the heart valves.

A cardiologist will deal with these most common issues on a regular basis and he will take into account your age, general health and symptoms before deciding which treatment is suitable for you. The most common treatments are listed below.

cardiology

Heart Failure

Symptoms can include shortness of breath, swollen legs, and reduced physical activity. Treatment will start with an Electrocardiogram (ECG) to look for any prior heart attacks or other heart anomalies. The results will indicate whether to treat with water tablets to eliminate excess fluid and drugs such as beta-blockers. In extreme cases, a pacemaker or an Automatic Implantable Defibrillator may be required.

Atrial Fibrillation

An abnormality of the heart rhythm can lead to chest pain, palpitations and breathlessness and even blackouts in some cases. An ECG, possibly necessitating a 24-hour monitoring, is the first step. Blood tests may be ordered and an Echocardiogram (TTE) can look for nay structural heart problems. Your cardiologist will prescribe a blood-thinning drug like Warfarin or aspirin in combination with beta-blockers or digoxin to regulate the heart beat. Severe cases may need a process called cardioversion – under sedation – to bring the heart beat back to a regular level.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)

Sustained hypertension can lead to heart attack, heart failure or stroke so it’s important that your blood pressure is checked regularly. This condition can be managed with simple lifestyle changes however if necessary your GP or cardiologist will prescribe medication to regulate your blood pressure.

Coronary Heart Disease

This occurs as a result of the arteries becoming blocked and the most common symptom is chest pain. End results can range from Angina to heart attack. Your cardiologist will examine you in order to determine the level of blockage. Treatment varies from advice on lifestyle changes to medicines like blood-thinners, statins, nitrates, enzyme inhibitors or diuretics, through to surgical procedures to widen or bypass the arteries.

Angina

This is a condition which affects a huge number of people in the UK. The main symptom is a dull, heavy chest pain which spreads to the left arm, jaw or back. You may also feel breathless and nauseous. Your cardiologist will advise a physical exercise test on a static bike or treadmill – where possible – plus an ECG. Medications like a GTN spray, aspirin, statin or beta-blocker will be prescribed. If your symptoms are severe you will need a Coronary Angiogram (a procedure which examines the blood vessels of the heart). This may be followed by a Coronary Angioplasty or Bypass to improve the blood flow to your heart.

Palpitations

This is when you have the sensation of a fluttering or pounding in your chest and is very common, if a little distressing. If your palpitations last a long time or make you feel dizzy you should have them investigated. An ECG will check your heart rhythm but you will also be asked about your lifestyle to identify any triggers or underlying causes. You may be prescribed beta-blockers to regulate your heart rhythm.

According to the British Heart Foundation’s own statistics, around 25% of all men and women are affected by cardiovascular disease. If you are worried by any particular symptoms or you worry that you may have a risk factor for heart disease, heart screening can help to detect problems before they become serious.