The heart is the most dynamic organ in the body. A Pump which tirelessly works throughout our lives. But how do we know it needs help? The heart a language of its own, both metaphorically and quite literally!
Poets and romantics have spoken about the rhythmic beat of the heart for ages, but it is infact the opening and closing of the valves ,of this mysterious organ that contribute the sounds of the heart as we know it.
When the valves get diseased ,these sounds change. This gives us an indicators to a more sinister underlying disease.
These indicators could include an uneasy awareness of your own heart beat , known as palpitation. A sudden awakening at the middleof the night, with a feeling of breathlessness and doom is almost always associated with mitral valve diseases. Chest pain and fainting is not always an indicators of heart attacks, it could also be caused by aortic valve pathologies, which are not always diagnosed by a simple ECG.These disease require visualisation of the structure of the heart.This is best done by amethod akin to Ultrasound , known as echocardiography.
Despite the advent of various procedures, open heart surgery , which I can now be done with smaller incisions , remains the most definitive method of treating valve disorders. These could either be a complete replacement of the valve or repair of the native valve.
If ignored, it almost certainly leads to heart failure and death, infact Sudden death due to valvular heart disease is reported to range from 1% to 5% in native valves. The nature of the diseases is varied, from heritable, congenital to acquired. It may affect both genders in multiple age groups.
Your heart beat meanseverything to you and your family, but it is best understood by your doctor. If one experiences any such symptoms …DO NOT IGNORE.. please visit an institution with facility for cardiac evaluation and surgery.
As they say in Hindi “ ApniDil Ki Suno”.
Dr. Priyadarshan Konar
MBBS ,M.S.(Gen Surgery) M.Ch (CTVS)
The author is a consultant cardiothoracic & vascular surgery at Peerless Hospital, Kolkata