Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Denton’s Heart & Vascular Services
Courtesy Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Denton, Denton County LIVING WELL Magazine
When Knowledge Is Your Best Defense
When an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) ruptures, the complications can be dangerous. Learn how to protect yourself from this silent yet often fatal condition.
An AAA develops when the abdominal aorta—a blood vessel in the abdomen—balloons out, causing the walls of the blood vessel to become weak and at risk for rupture. According to the National Institutes of Health, fewer than 40% of patients who experience a ruptured AAA survive, but outcomes are much better when the condition is detected prior to a rupture.
Aneurysms are most common among men older than age 60, but they can occur in anyone. Risk factors for aneurysms include:
- · diabetes
- · high blood pressure
- · high cholesterol
- · obesity
- · tobacco use
What You Can Do
You can help reduce your risk of a ruptured AAA by controlling your blood pressure and cholesterol, managing your weight and not smoking. Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Denton offers abdominal aortic ultrasounds to detect AAA. If the condition is found, Texas Health Denton offers endovascular repair, a minimally invasive surgical procedure to treat AAA. Patients who undergo endovascular repair at Texas Health Denton often return home the next day.
“If we catch an aneurysm before it ruptures, it’s typically an easy fix,” says Raul Ortega, M.D., vascular surgeon on the medical staff at Texas Health Denton. “It’s important not to wait until an aneurysm ruptures to address it. Being proactive could save your life.”
To find a vascular surgeon at Texas Health Denton, call 1-877-THR-WELL (1-877-847-9355) or visit TexasHealth.org/FindaPhysician.
A Cold That Cures
At Texas Health Denton’s electrophysiology lab, certain patients with atrial fibrillation can receive an advanced treatment that utilizes the power of cold: cryoablation.
The American Heart Association reports that atrial fibrillation, which causes the two upper chambers of the heart to tremble instead of beat correctly, affects more than two million Americans. The condition is dangerous if left untreated, as it can lead to the formation of blood clots that cause stroke. Patients whose abnormal heartbeats can’t be managed with medication may be candidates for cryoablation at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Denton.
Helping the Heart
During cryoablation, an electrophysiologist inserts a catheter into a vein in a patient’s groin or neck and uses imaging technology as a guide while threading the catheter to the heart. Once the catheter is in place, it uses electrodes to determine the source of the electrical misfire that causes the heart to beat abnormally. The electrophysiologist then destroys the cells that produce the irregular rhythm using a special tool that freezes them with liquid nitrogen. Patients generally return to normal activities within a few days.
“Cryoablation is a minimally invasive way to treat a problem that can have a serious effect on the lives of some patients,” says Haris Naseem, M.D., electrophysiologist on the medical staff at Texas Health Denton. “It is exciting to be able to offer patients freedom from taking medications so they can resume normal activities.”
To learn more about the electrophysiology lab at Texas Health Denton, visit TexasHealth.org/DentonHeart.