The cardiovascular system is one of the leading and most important in the work of our entire body. But unfortunately, diseases of the heart and vessels are the most common fatal conditions. And their development can be even asymptomatic. According to WHO estimates, almost 17 million people died from cardiovascular diseases in 2016, accounting for 31% of the total deaths. 85% of them occurred as a result of a heart attack or stroke.
Unfortunately, it is not always possible to find out in advance about the presence of heart problems. That is why a timely referral to a cardiologist and effective treatment is key to a long life. It is especially necessary for people over 60, overweight or those with diabetes, high cholesterol or high blood pressure. The more risk factors, the more carefully you should be concerned about anything that might be heart-related.
But the number of specialised cardiology centres in domestic countries might not be enough for efficient care. In addition, high-tech interventions on the heart and large vessels are performed 15-20 times less compared to leading cardiological clinics. And this allows specialists to prevent or eliminate serious complications and thereby not only save the patient but also return him to a full life.
Advanced treatment methods in cardiology are already used in many countries of the world. World statistics demonstrate their successful use: in the developed countries of Europe, Israel and the USA, the mortality from cardiovascular disease does not exceed 30%.
Modern methods of treating cardiovascular diseases abroad allow:
- Quickly return the patient to everyday life;
- Reliably stabilise blood circulation;
- Increase exercise tolerance;
- Minimise unnecessary drug usage.
Thanks to the vast experience of conducting interventions in adults and children, cardiac centres in Germany, Israel, Turkey, Spain, Poland, etc., are famous far beyond their borders. Patients are attracted by the professional level and experience of cardiac surgeons, super-accurate diagnostics, warm, friendly atmosphere and respectful attitude.
Very often, people may not suspect that they have some problems in the work of the cardiovascular system. Therefore, it is essential to emphasise the following symptoms and signs, which may be manifestations of heart disorders.
Localisation of pain can be felt not only in the chest area but also in the thoracic spine. Therefore, people should treat any unpleasant sensations cautiously. Pain in the left hand is often similar to numbness, which is why a person usually does not attach much importance to it. After all, such a symptom can become a "warning" of a possible heart attack. Heart associations worldwide recommend calling an ambulance if the sudden pain in the left arm does not go away or even worsens within a few minutes. On the other hand, if the sensations are short-lived but familiar, it is better to visit a cardiologist.
A change in skin colour can also be a symptom of cardiovascular disease - pale or "blue" skin. When blood circulation is disturbed, body parts distant from the heart (fingers, toes, the tip of the nose, lips, and auricles) may have a bluish tint. Another sign is very pale and cold skin because there is an outflow of blood and spasms of blood vessels. Constant coughing may be related to heart pathologies, and mucus (white or pink) indicates heart failure.
Violation of coordination and dizziness are entirely normal, but only if there is a reason: slept too little, caught a cold, didn't eat, or got nervous. But dizziness for no reason can indicate blood circulation issues in the heart or brain. Climbing up the stairs associated with fatigue already indicates a cardiovascular system malfunction. Problems with the heart can be reflected in nearby organs, and jaw and throat pain are among them.
With cardiovascular disorders, fluid circulation in the body is often complicated. As a result, swelling of the hands and feet can occur. Often before a heart attack, the brain can misunderstand "distress signals", confuse them and redirect the response to a nearby organ. As a result, if everything is not okay with the heart muscle, a person may have problems with the stomach (loss of appetite, nausea, upset stomach, heartburn or abdominal pain). Sometimes digestive issues are caused by the digestive system receiving less blood than usual.
How do cardiologists diagnose head problems?
The comprehensive diagnosis begins with the doctor studying the patient's complaints and medical history. Then, the cardiologist asks when and what symptoms appeared, how they affect the way of life, and whether there are other chronic diseases and heart disorders in close relatives.
The doctor examines the patient, measures the blood pressure, and listens to the heart with a stethoscope (to detect murmurs) and percusses (to see the expansion of the heart's borders). The high professionalism of foreign cardiologists helps them to suspect a certain disease already at this stage.
Doctors in all leading clinics use the most modern medical and laboratory equipment. At the examination stage, the specialists use:
- Blood tests: general, biochemistry, analysis of cardiac-specific enzymes and others;
- An electrocardiogram (ECG) is the simplest method for quick diagnosis of terminal conditions. It is a recording of the electrical activity of the heart. ECG evaluates the rhythm and conduction of the heart, allows for assessing the blood supply of the heart muscle, as well as to detect an increase in the chambers of the heart (atria and ventricles);
- Daily Holter ECG monitoring is a way of continuous recording the heart's activity on the ECG using a portable device during the day and during a normal lifestyle, followed by the decoding of the received records;
- Ultrasound of the heart (echocardiography) is a safe and effective method of ultrasound diagnostics, which allows you to assess functional and organic lesions of the heart, its contractility, as well as the condition of the valve apparatus;
- Dopplerography is a modern method of ultrasound diagnostics that makes it possible to assess the condition of the patient's blood vessels;
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses a magnetic field and radio frequency waves to create detailed images of the heart, brain and other necessary areas without the use of ionising radiation;
- Coronary angiography is an X-ray examination of the vessels of the heart. It allows you to see the location of the coronary arteries and identify narrowed or blocked vessels;
- Intracardiac biopsy (taking heart tissue through a specially inserted catheter) followed by histopathology.
The key to the successful treatment of cardiovascular diseases is a timely and accurate diagnosis. The correct and quick diagnosis makes it possible to choose the most effective treatment program and significantly increases the chances of recovery.
Treatment for heart issues in modern hospitals
Medical therapy or surgery is used to treat cardiovascular diseases abroad. However, in the absence of a positive result from the use of drugs, doctors proceed with operational methods - invasive cardiac surgery. In this way, cardiologists, along with cardio surgeons, conduct:
- Endovascular operations (a daily practice for them) is an intravascular minimally invasive intervention - introducing a catheter into a vessel (most often through the femoral artery) under X-ray control with contrast material.
- Heart operations to replace the valve without stopping it or using wide access.
- Balloon angioplasty and stenting of coronary arteries - is the introduction of stent grafts into the aorta (in the presence of an aneurysm).
- The prosthesis of the aortic valve by the endovascular method. Thanks to the low-traumatic nature of such an operation, such intervention became possible even in seriously ill patients over 70 with absolute contraindications to open-heart surgery.
- Installation of the latest stents with a special coating that minimises repeated stenosis. Doctors abroad also use bio-stents that break down into inert organic components after some time while preserving all the achieved treatment effects.
- Implantation of various types of pacemakers (rhythm drivers) by the intracardiac and endovascular methods.
- Radiofrequency ablation is the newest method of minimally invasive treatment of arrhythmias, especially atrial fibrillation and supraventricular tachycardia. An electrode with a high-frequency current is passed through the catheter, destroying the impulses' focus.
- Aorto-coronary bypass, performed without cardiac arrest and wide opening of the chest. At the same time, the operation is much less traumatic, and the possibility of postoperative complications is sharply reduced.
All these modern techniques make it possible to minimise the risk of intra- and postoperative complications. In addition, they reduce the volume of blood loss and duration of the rehabilitation period and speed up the recovery process.
What is the advantage of cardiology abroad?
In developed countries, considerable attention is paid to preventing heart disease. Therefore, clinics are equipped with unique diagnostic equipment. As a result, cardiologists effectively treat patients with heart disease and return them to an active lifestyle.
Specialists undergo training in leading clinics and medical centres in Europe, the USA and Israel. In addition, doctors are also engaged in scientific work to improve the methods of diagnosing and treating the heart. For example, the navigation mapping system “Carto” for 3D cardiac imaging during radiofrequency ablation is among these technologies. It increases the accuracy of the procedure by 99%.
With the help of endoscopic equipment, heat specialists successfully perform endovascular operations on a working heart without connecting the patient to an artificial circulatory system. As a result, thousands of successful heart surgeries are performed in hospitals abroad.
Why is cardiology abroad better?
The main advantages of treating diseases of the cardiovascular system abroad are state-of-the-art equipment and minimally invasive surgical treatment. In addition, cardiologists and interventional surgeons have many years of experience and constantly improve their skills.
Why is it so popular to travel abroad for heart problems?
Mortality from diseases of the heart and blood vessels in Israel does not exceed 4,3%, in the USA - 4,7%, in Europe - 5-9%, and in most CIS and African countries - 48-57%. Therefore, patients prefer treatment in modern, well-equipped foreign clinics with professional cardiologists.
What modern cardiology treatment exists?
Endovascular surgery is the most effective advanced method of eliminating cardiac diseases. It includes coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG), balloon angioplasty, stenting, heart valve reconstruction and prosthetics, an artificial pacemaker, radiofrequency ablation, etc.
Is cardiology service expensive in other countries?
The fact that the cost of treatment abroad is often higher does not make medical tourism any less attractive. After all, patients with heart diseases need effective treatment. However, cardiology abroad is still affordable for many people. Therefore, AiroMedical aims to select the most optimal and affordable option for each patient.
Do hospitals abroad have a waiting list to see a cardiologist?
Everything depends on the clinic: almost all private cardiology centres abroad do not require a long waiting time to see a heart specialist. Nevertheless, it is necessary to clarify such information with each centre. Or you can turn to medical tourism specialists to provide all the required information on the desired clinic.
What are the best clinics for Cardiology?
Who are the best doctors for Cardiology?
Prof. Dr. med. Karl-Ludwig Laugwitz from University Hospital rechts der Isar Munich
Prof. Dr. med. Steffen Massberg from University Hospital Ludwig-Maximilians Munich
Dr. med. Ulrich Baumgarten from Academic Hospital Bundeswehr Berlin
Prof. Dr. med. Jorg Otto Schwab from Beta Clinic Bonn
Prof. Dr. med. Stephan Fichtlscherer from University Hospital Frankfurt am Main of Goethe-University