A heart disease diagnosis can be a frightening experience, bringing up visions of open heart surgeries, long-recovery times, and a negative impact on your quality of life. Every minute, someone in the United States dies from a heart-disease related incident, which continually motivates doctors and researchers to find better cardiovascular treatments; fortunately, many of the latest advances are of the non-surgical variety. For years, many doctors have relied on EKGs, chest x-rays, and CT scans to help diagnose heart disease, ACE inhibitors to prevent heart failure, and statins to lower bad cholesterol levels. While these procedures and medications are still providing great results, here are some new, non-surgical cardiovascular treatments that could reshape the way expert cardiologists diagnose and treat cardiovascular disease.
Cardiologists have used echocardiography for years to get a clear picture of the heart and its surrounding tissues. However, getting a good image often depends on having a clear line of sight from the body surface to the interior of the heart. If the patient is overweight, has significant lung disease, or cannot be laterally rotated, then the resulting images can be unclear.
A transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE) circumvents these problems because it produces pictures of your heart from inside your esophagus. During the procedure, a doctor will gently guide a thin, flexible tube down your throat. The high-frequency echo transducer attached the end of the tube sends out sound waves to your heart and transforms the echoes that bounce back into pictures on the video screen. TEE has proven a much more useful tool for seeing blood clots, mitral valve disorders, or tears in the lining of the aorta.
Congestive heart failure is one of the most common reasons for admission to the hospital for people suffering from cardiovascular disorders. Characterized by a failure of the heart muscle to adequately pump blood to the body’s tissues, heart failure is often caused by heart attacks, high blood pressure, or diseases that weaken the heart. ACE inhibitors have been the gold standard for treating heart failure, but a new FDA-approved drug known as Entresto is causing a substantial 20% reduction in death or repeat hospitalization.
The first in a new class of drugs known as angiotensin receptor neprilysin inhibitors (ARNIs), Entresto combines two compounds (valsartan and sacubitril) to reduce the strain on a failing heart by helping blood vessels relax and decreasing the buildup of sodium and fluid in the body. Currently, 20% of patients admitted for heart failure are readmitted within 30 days, but Entresto is changing all that by helping more and more people live longer and stay out of the hospital.
It is well known that “bad” LDL cholesterol is not good for your heart. In fact, elevated LDL cholesterol is the leading cause for developing coronary heart disease. Statins, the current leading drugs for reducing cholesterol levels, can decrease the risk of heart attack or stroke by up to 35%, but recent advances in PSCK9 inhibitors leave that statistic in the dust.
PSCK9 inhibitors target and inactivate a specific protein in the liver, which dramatically reduces the amount of harmful LDL cholesterol circulating in the bloodstream. Lower bad cholesterol equals healthier arteries, fewer heart attacks, strokes, and other cholesterol-related cardiovascular problems. PSCK9 inhibitors are given by injection every two to four weeks, showing remarkable reductions in LDL cholesterol of 50%-70% in just one year!
Cardiac Solutions is dedicated to staying at the forefront of technology to provide you with the absolute best care for your cardiovascular condition. Schedule an appointment today to find out more information!
To find out more information on the latest non-surgical treatment options, contact our exceptional cardiac team today!