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Cardiology News

UTMB unveils new Heart Rhythm Center

By Dr. George Carayannopoulos
Special to The Daily News

It was a typical morning for Adrienne and Dan. They woke up and turned to each other to welcome the day with a kiss and an “I love you.”

Dr. George Carayannopoulos

Dr. George Carayannopoulos, director of the UTMB's Heart Rhythm Center, and registered nurses Sheila Saunders, from left, Luisa Anderson and Nikki Williams are able to evaluate and treat patients at risk for sudden cardiac arrest in the state-of-the-art Heart Rhythm Center.

He went to get the newspaper, and she went into the kitchen to prepare coffee. He was at the breakfast table and told her that the forecast was for another sunny day. Adrienne was still in the kitchen but could hear him. She started talking to him about her plans for the day.

When she came out of the kitchen to bring the coffee to the table, Dan was slumped over in his chair, dead.

Dan had sudden cardiac arrest. Sudden cardiac arrest is defined medically as death or cardiac arrest occurring within one hour of the onset of symptoms, which could include chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, fainting or racing heart beats. Studies have shown, however, that the majority of people who have sudden cardiac arrest collapse or die without any symptoms. 

Their heart goes into an electrical short circuit (arrhythmia) that prevents effective pumping of blood into the body. Eight to 10 seconds of this type of arrhythmia will cause someone to pass out and collapse; if it continues, they can die.

[Read more]


UTMB's 3D Echocardiography Lab Receives Top National Accreditation

 

For the third consecutive time, the echocardiography lab at UTMB is being highlighted for its excellence in high-quality patient care and commitment to quality diagnostic testing.

The Intersocietal Accreditation Commission has granted accreditation to the UTMB echo lab through 2015.
 
Echocardiography is a first-line imaging test using ultrasound to examine the heart's movement. By providing pictures of the heart's valves and chambers, the test can assess the heart's size and function, which also determines the presence of many types of heart disease.
 
An echocardiogram is a type of ultrasound test that uses high-pitched sound waves that are sent through a device called a transducer. The device picks up echoes of the sound waves as they bounce off the different parts of your heart. These echoes are turned into moving pictures of your heart that can be seen on a video screen. UTMB is one of only a few centers in the Houston region that offers 3D imaging.
 
UTMB patient James Thornton, 51, undergoes a stress echocardiogram. During the test, an echocardiogram is done both before and after the heart is stressed by injecting a medicine that makes the heart beat harder and faster.
 
With a staff of seven sonographers, UTMB performs an average of 10,000 echocardiograms annually at its three locations.

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