General Information

What is a Transoesophageal Echocardiogram?

Transoesophageal Echocardiography (TOE) is a procedure that enables the Doctor to obtain very clear ultrasound pictures of your heart from within your oesophagus and stomach. It permits closer access to the heart and is ideal for looking at the heart valves, aorta and structures at the back of the heart. It is particularly useful for identifying preformed clots within the heart that may prevent invasive procedures of the heart.

General Information

What is coronary artery disease?

Coronary artery disease is when your coronary arteries (the ones that supply blood to your heart muscle) become clogged with fatty material called 'plaque' or 'atheroma'. Plaque slowly builds up within the normally thin inner wall of your arteries, causing the arterial lumen to gradually become narrow. This process is called 'atherosclerosis'. It starts when you are young and can be quite advanced and widespread by middle age.

General Information

Why do people need coronary angioplasty and stents?

You might need coronary angioplasty:

  • to improve blood flow to your heart if one or more of your arteries are too narrow because of significant plaque build-up
  • if you have angina, because it can improve the flow of blood to your heart muscle by opening narrowed arteries
  • if you have a heart attack, because it can help to quickly restore the flow of blood and minimise damage to your heart by opening narrowed arteries.

General Information

The heart has a natural pacemaker and an electrical system that directs the heart muscle to beat. Sometimes problems can arise either in the pacemaker or with this electrical system that can cause the heart to beat too slowly or stop. So a mechanical permanent pacemaker needs to be inserted to take over the deficient natural electrical source.

General Information

Under certain circumstances the beat of the heart can become abnormally fast in a very dangerous way. This usually occurs in people who already have major abnormalities of the electrical system of the heart or of the heart muscle. An Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD) can detect such fast heartbeats and correct them by applying a series of electrical impulses to the heart or by delivering a shock to the heart.

Page 1 of 3
  • Professor Sanders says...

    Atrial fibrillation is a consequence of several reversible risk factors - high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, sleep apnoea, and excessive alcohol. Your management of atrial fibrillation must include strict control of these risk factors.