Cardiovascular Disease Management
To function efficiently and to provide the optimal amount of oxygenated
blood your body needs with each beat, your heart's rhythm must be
regular and even. A rate that is too slow, too fast, or very irregular
overworks the heart. Often, the stress of this can lead to other cardiac
conditions. Normal heart rates range between 60 and 100 beats per minute.
Your heart is normally controlled by an electrical impulse that originates
in a small mass of muscle tissue within the upper right chamber of your
heart. This specialized tissue is the sinoatrial node ( or S-A node),
the heart's "natural pacemaker." The S-A node sends electrical
signals that tell the heart muscle to contract, pumping blood from the
heart to other parts of the body.
An arrhythmia is any deviation from or disturbance of the normal heart
rhythm - too fast, too slow, and/or irregular. They are common: 2.2 million
Americans are living with atrial fibrillation, which is just one type
of rhythm problem.
The treatment for heart rhythm disorders depends upon the type, duration,
and symptoms. No matter the type of heart rhythm disorder, the treatment
goals are the same: control the heart rate, prevention formation of clots,
and restore the normal heart rhythm when possible. The arrhythmia treatment
ranges from conservative (medication therapy) to aggressive (complex surgical
procedures). Optimal treatment is determined by your physician based on
your specific needs.
Atrial Fibrillation (AF)
Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common heart rhythm disorder. There
are more than two million people in the United States with AF; however,
many people have no symptoms. AF often develops in individuals who have
high blood pressure, heart failure and/or disease of the heart's arteries
or valves. It's most common in elderly individuals, occurring in 17%
of people over 80 years of age.
Caused by electrical activity problems in the upper chambers of the heart
(the atria), AF results in an irregular and inefficient rhythm which is
often coupled with a heart rate that is faster or slower than normal.
AF can also lead to heart failure if tissue damage is present. When the
atria fibrillate, the blood tends to pool in the atrial chambers, leading
to the formation of clots. These blood clots can leave the atria, travel
to the brain and cause a stroke.
One-third of the people with AF do not have symptoms. The problem is sometimes
discovered during a routine physical examination.
People with symptoms of AF may experience:
- Palpitations (the sensation of their heart beating fast against their chest)
- Difficulty breathing
- A faint feeling
If an underlying heart disease is present, a person who has AF may experience:
- chest pain
- severe difficulty breathing with fluid in the lungs
- loss of consciousness
Atrial fibrillation can recur at different times and can be quite uncomfortable
and frightening. It can also interfere with a person's daily activities
and impact their quality of life. Treatment requires an individualized
approach and can include medications. Almost everyone with AF is required
to take a blood-thinning drug to prevent the formation of clots within
the atrial chambers. Your cardiologist and primary care physician will
both play an important role in the regulation of your medication and will
work together to help you manage AF.
A cardiac rehabilitation program may involve a combination of: monitored
exercise, nutritional counseling, emotional support, and education about
lifestyle changes to reduce your risks of heart problems. The goals of
our cardiac rehabilitation program are to help you regain your strength,
prevention your current health condition from worsening, and reducing
your risk of future heart problems.
The cardiac rehabilitation program at Anaheim Regional Medical Center is
designed to help you recover from a heart attack, or any other heart disease
or surgery that may have been performed to treat heart disease.
For more information about our Cardiac Rehabilitation Services, please
call (714) 999-6035.
Cardiac Receiving Center
AHMC Anaheim Regional Medical Center's
Emergency Department is a designated cardiac receiving center for STEMI patients. An ST Elevation
Myocardial Infarction (STEMI) is a form of
heart attack*, and it is important that those who experience a STEMI be treated within
90 minutes of the first onset of symptoms. Orange County residents with
chest pain who call 9-1-1 will automatically be directed to a STEMI center,
where our cardiac expertise and facilities are ready 24-hours-a-day, seven
days-a-week. The STEMI receiving team works in conjunction with the cardiovascular
department to provide the best cardiac care available.
*heart attack, known as a myocardial infarction, occurs when the supply of blood and
oxygen to the heart muscle is blocked. This usually occurs when there
is a clot within the coronary artery. A blockage of this nature would
result in an abnormal heart rhythm, decreased blood flow to and from the
heart, and may result in a sudden sharp shooting pain in any of the following
areas: the left shoulder or arm, down your back, around your neck, in
your jaws, or beneath your breast bone.
Heart Failure Program
Heart failure means that your heart can't pump enough blood to meet
your body's needs. Over time, certain heart conditions, such as narrowed
arteries (coronary artery disease) or high blood pressure gradually leave
your heart too weak or too stiff to pump and receive blood efficiently.
The Heart Failure program at Anaheim Regional Medical Center seeks to help
individuals and their families through the use of a range of different
services from education on lifestyle modifications to medication management.
Our highly specialized staff will work with you to help you achieve a
higher quality of life and decrease the amount of time you spend hospitalized
as a result of heart failure.
For more information about the Heart Failure Program, please call (714) 999-2848.
Open Heart Surgery
Anaheim Regional Medical Center has the second largest volume of open heart
surgeries in Orange County. Our physicians are specially trained in cardiovascular
surgery and seek to provide our patients with high-quality comprehensive
medical care that is specific to your needs.
For more information about our Open Heart Surgery Services, please call