World Heart Failure Day Announced for the 6th May 2011
This year World Heart Failure day is inked in for Friday 6th May 2011. To mark this day Pumping Marvellous has organised with NHS East Lancashire and the British Heart Foundation a full day of awareness for Heart Failure
and raising some badly needed money for the new 3D Echo Cardiogram for the Royal Blackburn Hospital. The BHF have been tasked with raising a lions share of money for the new 3D Echo for the Cardiology Department of the Royal Blackburn Hospital.
The event will be held on the 6th May2011 at the Asda store in Accrington. There will be people representing Pumping Marvellous, the British Heart Foundation, NHS East Lancashire Heart Failure Nursing Team, NHS East Lancashire PALS and the Healthy Lifestyle Team. We will be there from 10am in the morning until around 6/7pm. Our education stand will be raising awareness of Heart Failure to the general public in East Lancashire and talking through the condition and the support available to people. We will also be raising the profile of the 3D Echo machine and what it will give the people of East Lancashire. The teams will also be testing there skills as expert bag packers for Asda’s customers whilst raising funds for the 3D Echo appeal.
A local appeal delivered by local people.
Please come down and support us or just give us a wave whilst you are doing your shopping.
New 3D Echo Appeal for the Royal Blackburn Cardiology Department
The BHF are supporting and fund raising for a new 3D Echo Cardiogram machine that will enable cardiac consultants to further help heart failure patients in the East Lancs area via the Royal Blackburn Hospital. Pumping Marvellous will be adding that local touch to the campaign and assisting the BHF with it’s target. When we have further details we will do a more concise piece on it but here are some of the photos taken that will be used in the media campaign to build awareness of the cause.
So what is an Echocardiogram – usually referred to as Echo
We have tried to keep this simple and easy reading so you can digest it at you own pace. It sounds invasive even frightening but it isn’t. I have had to already, its a bit like ultrasound on your chest and the jelly is a little cold.
The echocardiogram test decides for sure whether or not you have heart failure. An echocardiogram is painless. A pulse of harmless, high-frequency sound waves is passed through the chest wall, and these bounce back from the structures in the heart.
For the test, you will be asked to lie on your left side with your left arm behind your head. Lubricating jelly is put on your chest, and the ultrasound probe (recorder) is placed at various points on the chest between the ribs. The probe picks up echoes from the heart and shows them on the screen as a detailed picture (echocardiogram) of the structures of the heart.
The test allows the operator to find out a lot of information about the heart, including:
• How well the valves are working, and whether any of them are damaged.
• How well the heart is working as a pump (i.e. systolic function when the beat or contraction of your heart forces blood to circulate around the body).
• How well the heart relaxes after pumping (i.e. diastolic function when the heart relaxes after each beat or contraction, allowing it to fill with blood).
• Whether there are holes in the walls between the chambers of the heart, disrupting the one-way system of blood flow and allowing blood to flow from one side to the other (intracardiac shunts).
The most important finding from an echocardiograph is usually a measurement of how well one of the chambers of your heart the left ventricle is pumping. The left ventricle pumps the blood around the body. The wall of the left ventricle is normally much thicker than the wall of the right ventricle, because the right ventricle only pumps blood to the lungs and back.
This measurement, called the left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF), is an estimate of how much of the blood that enters the left ventricle is pumped out when the heart muscle beats (contracts). In a healthy heart, about 60% of the blood entering the left ventricle gets pumped out when the heart muscle contracts. So a normal LVEF would be around 60%. A value of less than 40% would indicate that the heart is not pumping well.
Sometimes different types of echocardiogram are performed. These include:
This is an echocardiogram that is carried out to see how the heart functions when it has to work extra hard. It is performed by increasing the persons heart rate, either by exercise on a treadmill or exercise bike, or by special medication.
This test is carried out when doctors need to look at your heart valves in more detail. Pictures of your heart are taken from inside your body, by passing a small probe mounted at the end of a thin flexible tube down your oesophagus (the tube that connects your mouth to your stomach). Before the test, you may be given a mild sedative to help you relax, and an anaesthetic will be sprayed on the back of your throat to make you more comfortable. While the probe is in your oesophagus, pictures of your heart are taken. The probe is then gently withdrawn.
Heart Failure Diagnosis
If you have symptoms of heart failure, your doctor will need to do some tests to confirm the diagnosis. I need to seriously stress to you that I genuinely believe that Heart Failure is the wrong word to use. In the vast majority of cases the heart hasn’t failed – it is just not functioning as per the norm. Heart Failure can be managed whether it be with drugs or intervention. It can’t be cured yet but your mental approach to your condition is half the battle. If you are interested there is serious investment going into stem cell therapy oh heart muscle.
How is heart failure diagnosed?
If you have symptoms of heart failure, your doctor will ask you to describe them in some detail, and you will also have a physical examination.
If your doctor thinks you may have heart failure, you will probably need to have tests to find out more. These might include:
• Blood tests, to check if there is anything in your blood that might indicate heart failure or some other illness.
• A chest X-ray to check whether your heart is bigger than it should be, and that there is no fluid in your lungs, which might indicate heart failure.
• An electrocardiogram (ECG), which records the natural electrical activity in your heart.
• An echocardiogram (an echo), which checks how well your heart is pumping.
What is an ECG test
Don’t worry it sounds a little complicated but it isn’t and you shouldn’t worry about it. If you are a Heart Failure patient then you will know all about it or you should do!
This is what it is all about
An electrocardiogram is a test that measures the electrical activity of the heart. It can detect problems with the way the heart beats (rhythm) and check if you have had a heart attack in the past that you were perhaps unaware of.
During the test, self-adhesive electrodes are attached to the skin on the arms, legs and chest. Some areas may need to be shaved. The test is painless, and takes less than a minute to carry out once the electrodes are in place. The electrodes are then removed, and the doctor will review the ECG trace on a computer or paper print-out.
Sometimes you may need a slightly different type of ECG test.
24-hour ECG recording (sometimes called Holter monitoring or ambulatory ECG)
In this test, the ECG is recorded over 24 hours. The electrodes are attached to your chest, and the wires attached to these electrodes are connected to a small portable tape recorder, which is worn on a belt around your waist. The test is useful because it shows changes in your hearts rhythm (palpitations) that may occur only sporadically.
Exercise ECG (sometimes called an exercise stress test)
This is an ECG that is recorded while you are walking on a treadmill or cycling on an exercise bike. It records how your heart copes when it has to work harder during exercise.
If your ECG and the results of your blood tests or X-ray are abnormal, then you are more likely to have heart failure. However, it does not mean that heart failure is definitely causing the symptoms. Your doctor will probably want you to have an echocardiogram to decide for sure.
So what is ejection fraction!!!!!!!?
This sounds like something that eminates from a laboratory that maybe flies up into the air.
Ejection Fraction evaluates how well a heart is pumping. The figure is generally produced by an Echo Cardiogram scan.
Normal heart pumping levels are anywhere between 50-70%
Acute Heart Failure pumping levels are below 30%
My first Echo cardiogram produced a level between 15-20%
Three months later when I had an MRI scan it was up to above 30%