Dr. Jeffrey Morgan On the Benefits Of Technology For Early Detection Of Heart Conditions
It is well known that early detection is the key to achieving the best results when treating heart conditions. Thankfully, new technological advancements allow cardiologists to not only detect but put into action a treatment plan that is best suited for their patient’s individual needs. Currently, 1 in every 4 deaths each year in the US is due to heart disease. This is approximately 630,000 Americans who die annually due to heart disease. With these new technologies such as the low-dose CT scan that examines the structure of your heart, how it’s functioning and detects for the early stages of coronary artery disease doctors can get a step ahead and thus save more lives. Today, we talked with Dr. Jeffrey Morgan about some of the new technologies to help detect heart conditions and heart disease.
Another great device is the HeartFlow FFR-CT, which creates a personalized 3D model of a patient’s coronary arteries with the data collected from a standard CT scan. Surgeons now get a complete view of the human heart. This is quite beneficial post-chemotherapy for cancer patients since it’s not uncommon for patients to die from cardiovascular issues. Dr. Jeffrey Morgan notes that with the HeartFlow FFR-CT cardiologists can monitor the heart but also see the effects of chemotherapy on the heart and look for obstructions that may influence blood flow.
Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR)
Upon diagnosis, a less invasive treatment option is available with the TAVR. With this technology, a patient’s heart valve can be repaired by noninvasively inserting a replacement valve using a catheter. This new replacement valve will now regulate blood flow. In cases where surgery is needed this procedure has been proven effective and successful. For high-risk patients that cannot undergo bypass surgery, the Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI) is another non-surgical procedure. With the PCI, surgeons can open blocked and/or closed arteries and place a stent to open previously closed blood vessels with the use of catheters.
Patients who are on blood thinners have been able to discontinue the use of them with the implantation a device called the WATCHMAN, a heart implant that reduces the risk of stroke by closing off the left atrial appendage, therefore, lowering the risk of stroke-induced blood clots from being released. The WATCHMAN is particularly beneficial for those who are intolerant for long-term use of blood thinning medications or suffering from unpleasant side effects. Dr. Jeffrey Morgan states that the WATCHMAN is a great alternative for individuals who have a high risk of bleeding and stroke and require long-term therapy of warfarin.
These great technological devices have assisted surgeons in helping patients with heart conditions experience a better quality of life. For example, the MitraClip is a device used to help open and close the valve of those suffering from heart failure as a result of a leaky heart valve. Our focus as cardiologists is to find the best treatment option as soon as possible. Early detection using such technologies fast-forwards care due to decreased wait times as a result of delayed lab reports and multiple visits. This allows medical professionals to expedite treatment and surgery in high-risk patients.
Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD)
We have only just begun to see the impact of technology in saving lives of those who would otherwise die from heart failure. For instance, the LVAD also known as the “bridge to transplant” is a device that is used for patients who are waiting for a heart transplant, those who are recovering from open-heart surgery or terminally ill patients who are unable to undergo heart transplant surgery. With early detection, cardiologists have been able to quickly treat patients who require the LVAD before it’s too late.
Dr. Jeffrey Morgan knows that technology has given us the ability to detect problems on a patient during their first visit. Hopefully, more technological advancements will come that can aid us in detecting and treating heart conditions in the coming years.