Care for this serious complication after a heart attack
If you’ve had a heart attack, part of your heart muscle has died after not getting enough blood. This dead muscle tissue can become thin and scarred, which allows blood to bulge the tissue of the heart’s lower chambers outward. This is called a ventricular aneurysm, and the more common form of this condition is left ventricular aneurysm.
A ventricular aneurysm can block the flow of blood to the rest of the body, in addition to several other dangerous complications. Our Cardiac Surgery Program is on the leading edge of treatments for heart conditions and provides expert care for people with severe ventricular aneurysms.
What are the symptoms and complications of a ventricular aneurysm?
A ventricular aneurysm may not develop for weeks or months after a heart attack. You may feel unusually tired because of a lack of blood flow, and you may notice an irregular heartbeat.
A ventricular aneurysm can lead to serious complications without proper treatment. Blood clots within the aneurysm can become stuck in a blood vessel, which is known as an embolism. Embolisms can lead to ischemia, or a lack of blood supply, to a limb. They also can cause a stroke.
Your doctor will order an echocardiogram to see if you have a ventricular aneurysm. Other tests can determine how severe the aneurysm is.
Cardiac catheterization is a minimally invasive way to diagnose and treat a variety of heart and vascular conditions by guiding thin, flexible tubes called catheters through blood vessels to problem areas.
The cardiac computed tomography scan, or cardiac CT, uses X-rays to create three-dimensional images of your heart and blood vessels.
An echocardiogram uses high-frequency sound waves to create images of your heart.
A fluoroscopy is an imaging technique that uses a continuous X-ray beam passed through the body to create real-time, moving images of your internal structures.
Magnetic resonance imaging, better known as cardiac MRI, is a combination of radio waves, magnets, and computer technology to create images of your heart and blood vessels.
You’ll likely need to limit your physical activity and have regular check-ups to make sure your condition doesn’t get worse. Medications can reduce your risk for blood clots or an irregular heartbeat. If your aneurysm is severe, you may need surgery to remove the weakened section of heart tissue.
Aneurysm surgery is used to repair bulges in blood vessels after they have ruptured or to prevent them from rupturing. Surgery may take several approaches: traditional open surgery, a minimally invasive endovascular method or a hybrid of the two.
Venous disease treatment may include medications, minimally invasive and surgical procedures to improve blood flow and circulation.
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Have questions for our heart and vascular program? Email us at AskMHVI@medstar.net.