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The Afternoon Show
The Afternoon ShowRTÉ One, Weekdays, 4.00pm

Matters of the heart

Monday, 8 February 2010

Who Is The Guest?
. Dr. Agnes Brown - Medical Director for the Irish Heart Foundation
. Dr. Robert Kelly - Consultant Cardiologist - Beacon Hospital


3D CT Cardiac Scan

This scan is for anyone who has any heart trouble, chest pain, angina, blood pressure etc who would like to see what condition their heart is in without it being invasive.

Ordinarily, to test the health level of the heart, a patient would have to do a cardiogram, where a needle with x ray dye is injected into the artery.

This procedure involves a small injection into the arm, and a high quality picture of the heart is taken in two seconds while in the scanner.

NOTE:- There is only a small risk of radiation overexposure.

What is the main benefit?
This test is mainly good for ruling out any conditions. If there are problems in the heart, it will be difficult to see. If the heart is in full vision, then there are less problems.

How much is it?
Approx €600

If you are referred for the scan by a doctor and he can justify the need for it, some insurance companies will refund the patient.

What do you look for in a 3D Cardiac Scan?

. Heart is in the correct shape
. Heart is in the correct place
. All four chambers are present
. The coronary arteries comme off in the right places
. Normal distribution
. Calcification*- This looks like concrete around the arteries.
. Artery Narrowing


What will we see today?
4 scans

1. Normal healthy heart of a female aged 32

What will we see?
Heart is in the correct shape, position etc

2. Unhealthy heart 1:-

Coronary arteries being in the wrong place


This is a heart of a young man who collapsed while playing sport. This is quite common amongst young people who are athletic, and is the equivalent cause of Sudden Cardiac Death which is commonly reported on in the media.

Symptoms to watch out for:-
. Dizzyness while exercising
. Blackouts

Note:- Risk of SCD is at its highest in peope under 30

3. Unhealthy heart 2:-

Calcification


This is the heart of an overweight smoker. You can see the calcium in the arterys. This calcium is as hard as concrete and the risk is that eventually it will stop the blood flow completely.

This person is at high risk of a heart attack.

4. Coronary Artery disease

Artery Narrowing


This is a younger patient again who had been for a regular screening but it didn't show up calcium in the arteries, so they didn't realize he had coronary artery disease.

This patient had a heart attack while surfing.

Risk factor:
Family history

Dr. Brown

Risk factors you can change/manage:
. Smoking
. Raised cholesterol level
. High blood pressure
. Being overweight
. Not being physically active

Risk factors you cannot change:
. Age
. Gender
. Family history

Prevention tips:
. Stop smoking
. Eat more fresh foods
. Eat less fatty foods
. Have a regular blood pressure and cholesterol check up
. Be a healthy weight
. Be more physically active - national recommendation for adults is 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity on five days a week or more
. Drink less alcohol
. Learn to relax


For more information

The Irish Heart Foundation has useful information leaflets on all of these areas - contact us on 01 668 5001 or you can download them from our website www.irishheart.ie

If you are worried about stroke or heart problems or would like healthy living advice, talk to an Irish Heart Foundation nurse on Locall 1890 432 787.

Cupid's Dash 10k Fun Run is on 13th Feb in the Phoenix Park, contact the Irish Heart Foundation for details, or log onto www.irishheart.ie

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