Stay fit stay hearty
Dr. Omar K Hallak, Consultant Interventional Cardiologist and Head of Cardiology Department at King’s College Hospital London, gives his expert advice on preventing heart disease
What are the up-to-date facilities at King's College Hospital Dubai for cardiology treatment?
At King's, we have an up to date cardio-vascular department with a one-stop service that includes full cardiac evaluation with non-invasive testing such as an echocardiogram, stress echocardiogram, ambulatory blood pressure, pacemaker integration, vascular study, CT angiogram and much more. For any patient with symptoms related to the heart or blood vessels, we will be able to handle it completely. In case the patient requires more invasive tests, such as cardiac catheterisation or interventions, we have a full team of consultant interventional cardiologists available 24/7 to treat all emergency and elective cases with all the high-tech equipment such as Intravascular Ultrasound (IVUS), Fractional flow reserve (FFR) and lithotripsy. On the other hand, recently, we opened a section for Enhanced External Counter Pulsation (EECP), which is a non-invasive new treatment for patients with angina who are not candidates for angioplasty of open-heart surgery. This treatment is simple, effective and done on several sessions on an outpatient basis.
What factors should women be aware of and do to prevent heart disease?
For women, the biggest killer is not breast cancer or uterine cancer but heart disease. We advise women to lead a healthy lifestyle by following a healthy diet with regular exercise. Avoid smoking and maintain a normal weight. Regular check-ups with their physician are also important. In case a woman develops any symptoms indicating heart problems such as chest pain, dizziness, chest discomfort, shortness of breath, palpitation, etc., they should not take it lightly as these could be cardiac symptoms.
How can a heart attack be prevented in general?
The more risk factors a patient has, the more likely the patient suffers from heart disease. So controlling or preventing the risk factors will help reduce heart diseases. These risk factors are high blood pressure, diabetes, abnormally high levels of cholesterol, smoking, being overweight, lack of exercise and too much stress. There are also some genetic factors, which can cause heart disease. We advise patients to take adequate steps to control their stress levels and have adequate hours of sleep. One must do regular check-ups with a physician to detect the presence of any of the above risk factors early as some of them are silent.
A new technology called CT coronary angiogram has been introduced in our hospital where we can check for blockages in the artery at an early stage and treat it in time to prevent these blockages from getting worse.
Does Covid-19 lead to any heart ailment and complications?
Of course, Covid-19 can affect the heart and can cause minor problems like palpitation and irregular heart rhythms, however, it can also cause more serious complications such as infection of the heart muscle or the member around the heart (pericarditis). On the other hand, a patient with heart disease is at a higher risk for complications, so vaccinations against Covid-19 is strongly recommended for heart patients.
Dr. Omar K Hallak, MD, Fellow of the American Academy of Cardiology (FAAC), Fellow of the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions (FSCAI)
King’s introduces innovative shockwave therapy that helps avoid bypass surgery
Innovative shockwave therapy, also known as Intravascular Lithotripsy (IVL) is a state-of-the-art technique that opens severely calcified heart blood vessels through the use of shock waves, which crack stubborn calcium in narrowed blood vessels.
This new Shockwave Therapy, which is currently being offered in very few medical facilities in the region, including King’s, is a painless state-of-the-art technique that is currently gaining popularity in the US and Europe and has no known side effects or long-term sequelae. The same applied principle is equivalent to the one used in breaking kidney stones using sound waves.
Going above and beyond
The King’s team saved a patient who had multiple cardiac arrests
The King’s College Hospital London in Dubai cardiology department team led by Dr. Yasir Parviz — UK Board Certified Interventional Cardiologist, was presented with a 58-year-old male, Umarhatha Ayubkhan Umarkathap from India, who had an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, and an additional Ventricular Fibrillation (VF) arrest on arrival with paramedics. While still at the Emergency Department, he had additional multiple cardiac arrests, which continued at the Cath lab.
According to Dr. Parviz, Umarkathap had a total downtime of 40 minutes and was eventually diagnosed with Multivessel Coronary Artery Disease (MVD). “This is a life-threatening condition that occurs as a result of luminal stenosis of at least two major coronary arteries.” A Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI), which is a minimally invasive procedure used to open obstructive coronary arteries of the heart was performed to the patient’s left circumflex.
From the time of his admission, explains Dr. Parviz, the patient was in cardiogenetic shock, a life-threatening condition whereby the heart is unable to pump enough blood and oxygen to the body. “And after the life-saving treatment, the patient was transferred to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), sedated, ventilated and on high inotropic requirements including adrenaline.
“A short while after, we were happy to say that the patient’s vital drastically improved and that he is doing well, and right on his way to making a full recovery.”
Last week I had a great experience as a first-timer at King’s College Hospital in Dubai. I barely waited to be helped when I checked in to get an Angiogram done on medical advice. I was very impressed by the way the cardiologist, Dr. Omar Hallak, took the time to explain my medical condition and the treatment options available. He is highly knowledgeable and informative, and combines his expertise and willingness when it comes to listening and discussing. My wife and I immediately felt at ease as we knew that I was in the best hands. The staff and all the doctors were extremely friendly and warm. When I was discharged from the hospital, I walked away very impressed with the overall experience. I highly recommend Dr. Hallak and the King’s College Hospital in Dubai. —S.S
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