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  • Reperfusion therapy

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    Reperfusion therapy is a medical treatment to restore blood flow, either through or around, blocked arteries, typically after a heart attack (myocardial infarction (MI)). Reperfusion therapy includes drugs and surgery. The drugs are thrombolytics and fibrinolytics used in a process called thrombolysis. Surgeries performed may be minimally-invasive endovascular procedures such as a percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), followed by a coronary angioplasty. The angioplasty uses the insertion of a balloon to open up the artery, with the possible additional use of one or more stents. Other surgeries performed are the more invasive bypass surgeries that graft arteries around blockages. If an MI is presented with ECG evidence of an ST elevation known as STEMI, or if a bundle branch block is similarly presented, then reperfusion therapy is necessary. In the absence of an ST elevation, a non-ST elevation MI, known as an NSTEMI, or an unstable angina may be presumed (both of these are indistinguishable on initial evaluation of symptoms). ST elevations indicate a completely blocked artery needing immediate reperfusion. In NSTEMI the blood flow is present but limited by stenosis. In NSTEMI the same thrombolytics are used as for STEMI, but they are also often stabilised with antiplatelets and anticoagulants. If the condition stays stable a cardiac stress test may be offered, and if needed subsequent revascularization will be carried out to restore a normal blood flow. If the blood flow becomes unstable an urgent angioplasty may be required. In these unstable cases the use of thrombolytics is contraindicated. At least 10% of treated cases of STEMI do not develop necrosis of the heart muscle. A successful restoration of blood flow is known as aborting the heart attack. About 25% of STEMIs can be aborted if treated within the hour of symptoms onset.

  • Atherosclerosis

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    Atherosclerosis is a disease in which the inside of an artery narrows due to the build up of plaque. Initially, there are generally no symptoms. When severe, it can result in coronary artery disease, stroke, peripheral artery disease, or kidney problems, depending on which arteries are affected. Symptoms, if they occur, generally do not begin until middle age. The exact cause is not known. Risk factors include abnormal cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, obesity, family history, and an unhealthy diet. Plaque is made up of fat, cholesterol, calcium, and other substances found in the blood. The narrowing of arteries limits the flow of oxygen-rich blood to parts of the body. Diagnosis is based upon a physical exam, electrocardiogram, and exercise stress test, among others. Prevention is generally by eating a healthy diet, exercising, not smoking, and maintaining a normal weight. Treatment of established disease may include medications to lower cholesterol such as statins, blood pressure medication, or medications that decrease clotting, such as aspirin. A number of procedures may also be carried out such as percutaneous coronary intervention, coronary artery bypass graft, or carotid endarterectomy. Atherosclerosis generally starts when a person is young and worsens with age. Almost all people are affected to some degree by the age of 65. Atherosclerosis is the number one cause of death and disability in the developed world. Atherosclerosis was first described in 1575. There is evidence, however, that the condition occurred in people more than 5,000 years ago.

  • Arterial switch operation

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    The Jatene procedure, arterial switch operation or arterial switch, is an open heart surgical procedure used to correct dextro-transposition of the great arteries (d-TGA); its development was pioneered by Canadian cardiac surgeon William Mustard and it was named for Brazilian cardiac surgeon Adib Jatene, who was the first to use it successfully. It was the first method of d-TGA repair to be attempted, but the last to be put into regular use because of technological limitations at the time of its conception. Use of the arterial switch is historically preceded by two atrial switch methods: the Senning and Mustard procedures. This surgery may be used in combination with other procedures for treatment of certain cases of double outlet right ventricle (DORV) in which the great arteries are dextro-transposed.

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