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article imageNew heart repair methods with catheters present opportunities

By Michael Krebs     Mar 25, 2013 in Science
New heart repair usages with cardiac catheterization are being deployed - threading tubes into the heart from a variety of entry points - with new opportunities, although some concerns remain on the risks associated with the procedure.
One of the more exciting and innovative developments in the treatment of heart disease is found in the implementation of cardiac catheterization, where a tube is threaded into the heart from an entry point in the groin, arm, or neck.
This procedure has typically been used by doctors for diagnostic tests and to perform angiograms, but now cardiac catheters are being deployed for repairs to the heart that had been achieved prior through open heart surgery.
"It's opened up a whole new field," Dr. Hadley Wilson, cardiology chief at Carolinas HealthCare System in Charlotte told the Associated Press. "We can hopefully treat more patients more definitively, with better results."
Surgical developments using cardiac catheterization offer many new windows on what is possible in repairing heart valves, correcting heart rhythm abnormalities, close holes and reverse other heart defects, opening clogged arteries, and providing radio waves to lower high blood pressure.
However, cardiac catheterization does not come without risks.
"Bleeding complications after [a catheterization] aren't as benign as we thought," John Coppola, a cardiologist at the Cardiac & Vascular Institute at New York University's Langone Medical Center in Manhattan said, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal. "If you bleed, it increases your mortality risk and your risk of having a recurrent cardiac event."
While the Mayo Clinic posts the risks of major complications from cardiac catheterization on their web site as rare events, they list the risks as follows:
Bruising
Bleeding
Heart attack
Stroke
Damage to the artery where the catheter was inserted that may require medical attention (pseudoaneurysm)
Irregular heart rhythms (arrhythmias)
Allergic reactions to the dye or medication
Tearing the tissue of your heart or artery
Kidney damage
Infection
Blood clots
More about Cardiology, Heart disease, Heart attack, Heart surgery, Catheter
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