Chest Pain, Dizziness, Fatigue, Heart Thumps: What is It?

Have you been suffering lately (or know someone who has) from chest pain, unusual fatigue or shortness of breath during activity, episodes of dizziness and possibly fainting, and what seems like a thumping or fluttering heart?

Though these symptoms can be caused by more than one medical condition, for sure one of those conditions is aortic stenosis.

Imaging tests can detect this condition. But how treatable is it? Normally, open heart surgery is required to replace the defective aortic valve. The aorta is the body’s largest blood vessel and it supplies the body with blood.

When it’s narrowed (stenosis), the heart must strain to pump adequate blood throughout the body, and even then, the body is shorted on blood supply, which is why the patient may experience some or all of the symptoms: chest pain, dizziness, fainting, fatigue, shortness of breath with exercise, heart palpitations (or a feeling of thumping).

Breakthrough in Treatment of Aortic Stenosis

If you have the symptoms of chest pain with dizziness, fatigue, shortness of breath, etc., see a cardiologist immediately for a proper diagnosis.

Loyola University Medical Center has made impressive strides with an artificial aortic valve that doesn’t require open heart surgery.

“This is a major breakthrough,” remarked Fred Leya, MD, at the recent Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics scientific symposium in San Francisco. “Not only did patients live longer,” added Dr. Leya regarding this clinical trial, “but their quality of life improved substantially.”

The groundbreaking device is the Medtronic CoreValveÃ?® System. A surgeon threads a catheter into the patient’s groin and up to the heart; the catheter deploys the device and places it, where it takes over the diseased valve’s function — allowing more normal blood flow throughout the body, ending the symptoms of chest pain, fainting or dizziness, shortness of breath, fatigue, etc.

Aortic stenosis can cause heart failure and be fatal, says In addition to chest pain, dizziness, feeling faint or fatigued, having shortness of breath, the site says that chest tightness, and a heart murmur, are possible symptoms.

The standard treatment, of course, is open heart surgery. The first phase of the catheter-based procedure included 471 people at 40 medical centers who were very frail and not good candidates for the open surgery.

It was remarkable that after one year of the catheter procedure, 76 percent were still alive. Stroke incidence was also remarkably low.

Worldwide, over 45,000 patients have received the CoreValve System, but in the U.S., the device has thus far been limited to clinical trials.


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