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From an interview with Alan Blaker, M.D. Pee Dee Cardiology

Problems with the heart come in many shapes and sizes.  During February – Heart Month 2014 – McLeod Cardiologist Alan Blaker describes the various problems a person might experience:


From an interview with Michael Carmichael, MD McLeod Cardiothoracic Surgical Associates

Worn or leaking heart valves do not cause an emergency that a sudden heart attack does.  When you have a leaking heart valve, you will feel a range of symptoms increasing fatigue, swollen feet and shortness of breath. As McLeod Cardiothoracic Surgeon Michael Carmichael, MD explains, your options are clear:


From an interview with Michael Carmichael, MD McLeod Cardiothoracic Surgical Associates

Our heart has four valves, basically flaps that ensure the blood keeps flowing in the correct direction.  When these valves start to leak you experience symptoms, such as fatigue, shortness of breath, and swollen feet. Although many heart-related problems can be addressed with life style changes or medication, leaking heart valve treatment will eventually lead to a surgeon, says McLeod Cardiothoracic Surgeon Michael Carmichael, MD:


From an interview with Michael Carmichael, MD McLeod Cardiothoracic Surgical Associates

The ability to operate inside the heart on small valves – tissue flaps that keep blood flowing in the correct direction – is an amazing medical development that returns the quality of life to thousands of patients. Equally amazing are the developments in technology and technique that have improved outcomes and the life of repaired or replaced heart valves, as explained by McLeod Cardiothoracic Surgeon Michael Carmichael, MD:

Heart Valve Surgery, Recovery – An Overview

Posted on in Heart Health

From an interview with Michael Carmichael, MD McLeod Cardiothoracic Surgical Associates

Think you might be facing heart valve surgery – or know someone who is?  Learn what to expect in this overview from McLeod Cardiothoracic Surgeon Michael Carmichael, MD:

The IMPLANTABLES: Super Help for Erratic Hearts

Posted on in Heart Health

Medically reviewed by Prabal Guha, MD

Pacemakers & Implantable Cardiac Defibrillators

Medically reviewed by Gabor Winkler, M.D.

Submarine Sonar. Burglar alarms. Jewelry cleaning. And diagnosing problems in your heart and blood vessels. All these uses put sound waves to work. You’re not likely to be a submariner. Hopefully, you’re not a burglar. Probably, not a jeweler. So, we’ll focus on the uses of sound in diagnosing heart and blood vessel problems.

Medically reviewed by Christopher Cunningham, MD McLeod Vascular Associates

“A whole new approach to clearing plaque from thigh and knee arteries --  and keeping them clear,” is the way McLeod Vascular Surgeon Christopher Cunningham describes the Drug Coated Balloon angioplasty treatment for Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD)Cunningham was one of the first vascular specialists in the country to use the new treatment after it was approved by the FDA in early October 2014. PAD is a blood flow blockage – often in the legs – caused by a build up of fatty substances (plaque) in the artery. The blockage restricts the flow of blood and oxygen to muscles causing pain and cramps.

4 Tips on Spotting a Stroke

Posted on in Heart Health

From an interview with Christopher Cunningham, M.D. McLeod Vascular Associates

Surviving a stroke – essentially a heart attack in the brain – requires a fast trip to the Emergency Room and immediate treatment once you arrive. To achieve these two goals, you must be able to spot the signs of a stroke as soon as they appear. McLeod Vascular Surgeon Dr. Christopher Cunningham uses the four-letter word, "F.A.S.T." to help us remember:

Life-Saving Surgery for Stroke Patients

Posted on in Heart Health

From an interview with Christopher Cunningham, M.D. McLeod Vascular Associates

Strokes – when the brain is deprived of blood – come in two essential forms. In one case, a blood vessel in the brain bursts, cutting off blood to the brain and exerting pressure on the brain from the leaking blood. A second type of stroke is caused by blockages building up in the neck’s artery, restricting the flow of blood. McLeod Vascular Surgeon Dr. Christopher Cunningham discusses surgical solutions for the second type of stroke:


From an interview with Christopher Cunningham, M.D. McLeod Vascular Associates

Aneurysm is a medical term for a bulge in a blood vessel. When that bulge occurs in the aorta -- a key artery carrying blood from the heart – it can threaten your life. McLeod Vascular Surgeon Dr. Christopher Cunningham explains surgical treatment to repair the aneurysm. In the video, Dr. Cunningham shows a dramatic before-and-after comparison of a successful surgery on an abdominal aortic aneurysm.


From an interview with Christopher Cunningham, M.D. McLeod Vascular Associates

When your blood pressure is too high, the power of blood rushing like a roaring river can weaken your arteries from the inside. McLeod Vascular Surgeon Dr. Christopher Cunningham explains what can be done when blood rips the inner layers of the artery apart:


From an interview with Christopher Cunningham, M.D McLeod Vascular Associates

Pain comes with aging. But a specific type of back pain warns of an impending disaster – a bulge in one of your body’s key blood vessels, ready to explode. McLeod Vascular Surgeon Dr. Christopher Cunningham describes what to look for:

Hear That Swooshing? Could be a Heart Murmur.

Posted on in Heart Health

From an interview with Alan Blaker, M.D. Pee Dee Cardiology

A heart murmur could be a sign of…nothing. Or… it could be the sign of some more serious underlying problem. McLeod Cardiologist Alan Blaker says if your personal physician hears “swishing” or “swooshing” sound through his stethoscope, you should see a cardiologist promptly.


From an interview with Alan Blaker, M.D. Pee Dee Cardiology

Cardiologists and cardiothoracic surgeons play different and equally important roles in the care of a patient with Heart Disease, as McLeod Cardiologist Alan Blaker explains: Cardiologists will generally handle the diagnosis and medical treatment or nonsurgical procedures like balloon angioplasty, coronary stents, ablation procedures or devices like pacemakers or defibrillators. Cardiothoracic surgeons will handle bypass surgery and surgical valve replacement procedures. After surgery the patient will usually follow up with a cardiologist long term once released by the surgeon. Some newer procedures actually involve the talents of both cardiologists and cardiothoracic surgery such as TAVR or percutaneous valve replacement procedures. 


From an interview with Alan Blaker, M.D. Pee Dee Cardiology

Stenosis, from the Greek meaning “narrowing.”  Leaking, from the plumbing, meaning “drippy” or “to escape.” These terms refer to problems that can arise with your heart valves.  McLeod Cardiologist Alan Blaker offers some insight into faulty heart valves:


From an interview with Scot Schultz, M.D. McLeod Cardiothoracic Surgical Associates

McLeod Cardiothoracic Surgeon Dr. Scot Schultz has successfully treated thousands of heart patients with Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting.  However, Dr. Schultz cautions that – after surgical repair – it’s the patient’s responsibility to avoid another surgery:


From an interview with Scot Schultz, M.D. McLeod Cardiothoracic Surgical Associates

Heart Bypass Surgery: It means your life has changed.  But following recovery from a Coronary Artery Bypass Graft procedure, most of your normal activities can become part of your life again. McLeod Cardiothoracic Surgeon Dr. Scot Schultz offers an overview of the bypass procedure and its recovery process.

Coronary Artery Bypass Graft. Time for Yours?

Posted on in Heart Health

From an interview with Dr. Scot Schultz McLeod Cardiothoracic Surgical Associates

Surgically bypassing clogged arteries is one of the most common heart procedures.  A person rushed to the hospital for a heart attack is one of the most likely patients of the heart bypass. McLeod Cardiothoracic Surgeon Dr. Scot Schultz discusses who may need a bypass BEFORE the heart attack strikes. 


From an interview with Scot Schultz, M.D. McLeod Cardiothoracic Surgical Associates

Bypassing blocked arteries near the heart has been a successful surgical procedure since the 1960s.  A small number of cardiothoracic surgeons are using a technique that, in appropriate patients, can result in lower risks from side effects of the surgery. McLeod Cardiothoracic Surgeon Scot Schultz explains the two major types of coronary artery bypass surgeries:

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