A small balloon could help doctors identify heart surgery patients who may be at risk for a life-threatening complication.
The tube-shaped balloon – which is only a few centimeters long – is placed in the chest at the end of bypass surgery and other types of major cardiac procedures.
Surgeons insert a thin wire through the chest with the deflated balloon at the end, and once in place inside the pericardial sac (the fibrous sac in which the heart sits), the balloon is inflated.
The other end of the wire is attached to a monitor, which measures changes in pressure on the ball.
A small balloon could help doctors identify heart surgery patients who may be at risk of a life-threatening complication (stock image)
The tube-shaped balloon – which is only a few centimeters long – is placed in the chest at the end of bypass surgery and other types of major cardiac procedures
The idea is that monitoring this pressure for several days while the patient recovers in hospital will provide early warning of a life-threatening condition called cardiac tamponade.
It occurs when the pericardial sac fills with blood or fluid that leaks from blood vessels damaged during heart surgery.
As the sac fills with fluid, it compresses the heart, preventing it from beating properly and dramatically reducing blood flow to other vital organs.
Did you know?
Opening a window may be more effective than expected in reducing the risk of infection from Covid-19 and influenza viruses.
Swiss scientists have discovered that the air outside tends to be much more acidic, due to fumes from cars and boilers.
This not only physically removes virus particles, but can also neutralize flu and Covid viruses in the air.
The condition usually develops within 48 hours of major heart surgery. It is considered a medical emergency because, if not caught quickly, it can trigger fatal cardiac arrest.
Although it is a rare disease, it is responsible for 30% of deaths due to complications resulting from heart surgery.
The experimental balloon device, developed by cardiac surgeon Hazem Fallouh, from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, could be a solution.
In addition to the balloon, a second wire with a special sensor on its end – called a Doppler probe – is inserted into the same area.
This then bounces the high-frequency sound waves off the red blood cells of the heart to get a picture of the quality of blood flow through the arteries.
It also acts as an alert for doctors by signaling when blood flow stops, indicating that there might be a problem.
Both devices – the balloon and the catheter – are easily removed once the patient is sheltered, usually after 48 hours.
Patients monitored with this new device must remain in hospital and may need to stay longer than usual.
However, if this means that cardiac tamponade can be identified early, when it can be treated, that would be a huge step forward.
A sudden drop in blood pressure is currently one of the few warning signs of cardiac tamponade.
If doctors spot it early, they can treat it by draining the excess fluid.
However, the condition can easily be confused with other conditions such as congestive heart failure – where the heart does not pump properly.
If not spotted in time, cardiac tamponade often results in emergency open-heart surgery to relieve pressure on the heart, a procedure with a mortality rate of up to 70%.
The Pericardial Device to Monitor Cardiac Output and Diagnose Tamponade (PerDeCT) is currently a prototype.
However, its developers recently received a £500,000 grant from Innovate UK, a public body that funds breakthrough technologies, and it is expected to undergo testing at Queen Elizabeth Hospital within the next year.
Professor Gerard Stansby, Honorary Consultant Vascular Surgeon at Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “It looks potentially very useful, as long as it has no adverse effects such as bleeding or infection.”
Scientists at Florida Atlantic University have developed a belt that monitors patients with heart failure – where the heart is unable to pump blood through the body properly.
The device, which is worn around the chest, measures heart rate, the amount of fluid in the lungs and electrical activity in the heart – which increases as heart failure worsens. The idea is that patients would wear the “belt” during their daily lives – the results would be sent wirelessly to their doctor to report changes in their condition.
Researchers hope the belt, which is still under development, will reduce hospital admissions for worsening heart failure, according to the journal Scientific Reports.
Drinking coffee strengthens your bones… if you’re a woman
Drinking coffee can strengthen the bones of young women. A new study, based on 7,000 people between the ages of 20 and 50, found that the more coffee women in their 30s drank, the higher their bone density.
The reverse was true for men in their 40s, according to the study in the journal Frontiers in Endocrinology.
Bone density naturally decreases with age. It is important to take steps to reduce this decline because low bone density is linked to osteoporosis, a progressive disease that increases the risk of fractures.
Researchers from Nanjing University in China claim that caffeine may have a beneficial effect on calcium production, but it’s unclear why only women benefited.
High intensity ultrasonic waves could treat acne scars. About sixty men and women are taking part in a clinical trial, at the Laser & Skin Surgery Center in New York and in other centers. The sound waves are believed to reduce the effects of inflammation, helping the skin to recover.
Gaining weight with weights can reduce migraine attacks
Lifting weights regularly can help reduce the number of migraine attacks.
Researchers from Stanford University in the US analyzed the results of 21 previous trials on the benefits of exercise and concluded that strength training (e.g. lifting weights, push-ups and squats) was most effective, followed by aerobic exercise (eg running and jumping). , reported the Journal of Headache and Pain.
It’s unclear exactly how exercise helps reduce migraine attacks, but one theory is that by strengthening the muscles in the neck, shoulders, and upper extremities, it reduces the pain signals involved in migraine.
watch the clock
HOuch to harness the power of your biological clock. This week: brush your teeth first
As dentist and trustee of the dental charity Oral Health Foundation, Dr. Ben Atkins, explains, brushing at this stage can wear down the enamel (he brushes my teeth “as soon as I get out of bed”
You may have been taught to brush your teeth twice a day – after breakfast and before bed – but doing it right after breakfast is not the best time because the acidity of Foods and drinks can soften enamel, the hard outer layer that protects teeth from decay.
As dentist and trustee of the dental charity Oral Health Foundation, Dr. Ben Atkins, explains, brushing at this stage can wear down the enamel (he brushes his teeth “as soon as I get out of bed,” he says). ).
You can wait half an hour to give the acidic substances time to naturally wash out, but that may not be practical.
So brush your teeth before breakfast – and if you want to have a clean mouth after eating, try chewing sugar-free gum, which will stimulate saliva production, which will then remove any food debris and restore the pH in the mouth so that it is less acidic. .
The story behind unusual medical discoveries. This week: gut transit times and the microbiome
A study published in the journal Gut Microbiota in 2021 found that people with longer intestinal transit times – that is, the time it takes for food to go to one side and out of the other – had lower bacterial diversity and higher levels of ‘bad’ bacteria in their gut compared to faster poops
A study published in the journal Gut Microbiota in 2021 found that people with longer intestinal transit times – that is, the time it takes for food to go to one side and out of the other – had lower bacterial diversity and higher levels of “bad” bacteria in their gut compared to faster poops.
Trial participants were asked to eat muffins made with blue food coloring – and record how long it took them to produce a blue poop. The average transit time was 28 hours.
‘We are now trying to find out why transit time and types of bacteria are linked,’ says Dr Sarah Berry, lecturer in nutritional science at King’s College London. “It may just be that longer transit times are more likely in people who eat a diet low in fiber-rich plants and high in ultra-processed foods, resulting in less food for the good bacteria to eat.”