Cardiac Science is the branch of science that deals with the diseases of blood vessels and heart. If a person shows symptoms of heart diseases like chest pain, dizziness, change in heart rate, shortness of breath, and high blood pressure, they should consult a doctor immediately.
Cardiac Surgery – Adult
Adult cardiac surgery is for the patients above the age of 16 years. Sometimes, when the blood vessels get hardened, it can narrow the coronary arteries. Cardiac surgery is used to treat this complication along with other complications like a disease of the heart valves due to calcification, stretching, leaking, infection or any rheumatic heart disease. There are several types of cardiac surgery. Some of them are:
1. Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting Surgery
The heart receives its energy, to pump blood around the body, from coronary arteries. Sometimes, these arteries get narrowed because of atherosclerosis (thickening and hardening of arteries). This causes restriction to the blood flow. During the surgery, an artery is taken from some part of the body and attached it to the affected artery. This creates a bypass allowing the blood to flow around.
2. Valve Replacement Surgery
The four valves present in the heart regulate the blood flow and make sure that the blood flows in a unidirectional manner. If these valves get leaky or narrowed, it causes a disruption in the blood flow, either by blocking or changing its direction. Valve replacement surgery is done using an artificial heart valve to replace the affected heart valve. This artificial valve is made up of either a bioprosthesis (made from a human cadaver or animal tissue) or a mechanical valve (made from a combination of carbon and metal).
In the case of children, cardiac surgery is mainly used to treat defects that the child is born with. These defects are known as Congenital Heart Defects (CHD). Sometimes, the child can get a heart disease after the birth. In both the cases, cardiac surgery becomes an important and essential treatment option for children. Usually, the child has to wait till he/she reaches an age where surgery is considered safe. It can be months or even years. However, if the heart defect is serious, surgery is done right after the birth. There are a number of minor as well as serious heart defects. They can be either in the blood vessels present outside the heart or inside the heart. In the case of children, there are three techniques that can be used for the treatment of the heart defects. They are:
1. Open Heart Surgery
In open heart surgery, a heart-lung bypass machine is used. First, the child is given general anaesthesia. Then, an incision is made through the sternum or the breastbone. Tubes are connected to the bypass machine that re-route the blood. This machine takes on the responsibilities of the heart while the heart is under treatment. After the repair is completed, the machine is removed and the heart is started. The incision is closed and treatment is completed.
2. Thoracotomy/ Closed Heart Surgery
During this treatment, an incision is made between the ribs on the side of the chest. A camera is used to complete the surgery.
Tubes are inserted into an artery in the leg, then, it is slowly moved up to the heart. However, this technique can be used to treat small defects only.
Cardiology – Adult
Cardiology deals with the disorders of the heart and the circulatory system. The branch is divided into a number of different categories. Some of them are:
1. Cardiac Electrophysiology
It includes diagnosing and treating the electrical activities of the heat. It is used for complex arrhythmias, evaluation of abnormal electrocardiograms, elucidate symptoms, etc. Methods like Radiofrequency ablation, cryoablation, pacemaker implantation, anti-arrhythmic drug therapy, etc. are used in the electrophysiology procedure.
It involves the creation of heart’s images using 2D, 3D, and Doppler ultrasound. It is used for diagnosis of known heart diseases. It provides information about shape, size, location, pumping capacity, the extent of damage, and heart functions like cardiac output, diastolic function, ejection fraction etc. This procedure does not have any side effects as there is no breaking of skin anywhere. It is used for detecting dilated cardiomyopathy, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, etc.
Cardiology – Pediatric
The founder of Pediatric Cardiology, Helen B. Taussig worked with Tetralogy of Fallot, a defect that causes a bluish tint, cyanosis in newborns. There are a number of other conditions that affect newborns like Pulmonary Atresia, Ebstein's Anomaly, Transposition of the great arteries, double outlet right ventricle, etc.
1. Tetralogy of Fallot
It is caused by an overriding aorta and Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD). It causes the deoxygenated blood to go back to the circulatory system by bypassing the lungs. It is usually fixed by a modified Blalock-Taussig Shunt.
2. Pulmonary Atresia
It occurs when an aorta branches out of the right ventricle. It prevents the deoxygenated blood to enter the lungs. Surgery is used to fix the right ventricle by redirecting the aorta.
Thoracic surgery deals with the organs of the chest-heart, lungs, and oesophagus. It treats pulmonary disease, trauma, and even cancer. Heart and lung transplant, removal of parts of the lungs affected by cancer, and coronary artery bypass surgery are some examples of thoracic surgery. Thoracic surgery involves the following procedures:
1. Minimally Invasive Surgeries
- Video-Assisted Thoracic Surgery (VATS)
- Robotic Thoracic Surgery
2. Open Surgeries
It involves treatment of injuries or diseases in the area between the abdomen and neck. It also involves complex aneurismal and renovascular diseases. If there is a tumour or an abnormality present from birth, it can be removed using the surgery.
Vascular surgery involves the diagnosis and management of the venous, arterial and lymphatic system. This includes coronary as well as intracranial arteries.
This branch of physiology deals with the ion flow in the tissues. Basically, it measures the flow of the ions using electrical recording techniques. The classical technique involves placing the electrodes in the tissues. These electrodes could be solid conductors, hollow tubes with an electrolyte or tracings on a circuit board.