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Matters Of The Heart


Pain in the chest, arm, neck and jaw—we all recognize these as signs of a potential heart attack. We know to watch our blood pressure and cholesterol. But not everyone knows that symptoms of a heart attack can look completely different for women than men, and that heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death for American women. Sudden cardiac death is rising among people below 35, well before many of us think of heart disease as a pressing issue. And now, more than ever, experts say stress is contributing to cardiac complications.

Srisha Rao, MC, FACC, is board certified in cardiovascular disease and internal medicine and has practiced cardiology in Ocala for 20 years. Today she treats patients at Cardiovascular Institute of Central Florida, specializing in noninvasive cardiology, which mainly includes diagnostics like stress tests. When patients visit her for the first time, she performs initial testing to reveal key risk factors.

“When I do the risk assessment, some of the most common risk factors in women and men are the numbers for their blood pressure; their BMI, which can be a sign of obesity, which increases risk of chronic disease; family history of heart disease (especially before the age of 55 in men or 65 in women); being postmenopausal and having a history of smoking.”

According to the American Heart Association, heart disease (including coronary heart disease and hypertension) is the No. 1 cause of death in the United States, and about 790,000 people in the United States have heart attacks each year. Rao estimates Ocala has a higher incidence of heart disease than the national average due to the population’s overall older age.

But heart disease and heart attacks don’t just happen after 50.

Age Is Just A Number

Although most deaths due to cardiac arrest occur in older adults or patients with coronary artery disease, cardiac arrest is the leading cause of death for young athletes. How often it occurs is unclear, but experts estimate one in every 50,000 sudden cardiac deaths a year is a young athlete. These deaths typically occur during physical activity, like playing a sport, and more often occurs in males than females.

Although that rate isn’t high, it is concerning because most of these victims seem to be in peak physical condition. However, these deaths are often caused by undiscovered heart defects or abnormalities.

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is an inherited condition that causes the walls of the heart to thicken. The thicker muscle tissue throws off the heart’s electrical system, leading to fast or irregular heartbeats (arrhythmias) that can lead to sudden cardiac death. HCM is not normally fatal but does tend to go undetected, and it’s the most common cause of sudden cardiac death in people under 30.

Some people are born with coronary arteries that are connected abnormally, and they can become compressed during exercise, cutting off blood flow to the heart.

Long QT syndrome is an inherited heart rhythm disorder that causes fast, chaotic heartbeats and frequently leads to fainting. Young people with long QT syndrome have an increased risk of sudden death.

Although it’s hard to know if an abnormality has gone undetected in a young adult’s heart, there are three major warning signs that indicate something could be amiss.

  • Unexplained fainting, or syncope, occurring during physical activity
  • Family history of sudden cardiac death in relatives younger than 50
  • Shortness of breath or chest pain (these are also known to indicate asthma)

If your child exhibits any of these warning signs, ask their pediatrician about screening options to ensure they can play their days away safely.

To Each Her Own Symptoms

Most people are familiar with the standard symptoms of a heart attack, but what they don’t know is that heart attacks can present in different ways for women.

“Chest pain and chest discomfort are still the most common symptoms women experience, and if they have pain in the neck, jaw, back or abdomen those are signs as well,” she explains. “Females complain more of back pain, abdominal or gastric discomfort, and shortness of breath, which can signal angina, angina equivalent or coronary artery disease. The older women get, their symptoms are a lot more subtle. It can just seem like unexplained fatigue.”

Rao says women who feel fatigued more easily than they used to should see their primary care physician. They can test for common causes of fatigue, such as thyroid complications, anemia or depression. If women are experiencing a newly diagnosed, unexplained fatigue and a primary care doctor has ruled out other possibilities, this may be cause for concern.

Most women who come to Rao present with some of these symptoms, most commonly some type of pain, and want to find out if it is related to their cardiac health, or they have already had a cardiac event.

Because heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death for women in the United States, Rao emphasizes two things when treating her female patients.

“Prevention and modification. In younger women, I think stress is a big part of the problem, so I always stress that they should take care of themselves. Be compassionate with themselves, and be able to say no.”

And although most people understand that smoking is bad for their health in innumerable ways, Rao says women may not realize the impact it can have on them specifically.

“If a woman is smoking, her risk of heart disease is three times greater than a man who smokes, so if someone with that risk factor is experiencing symptoms, I would not ignore it.”

Change Of Heart: Preventive Measures

So is there any good news about heart disease? Sure is—the steps toward prevention are simple and achievable for everyone. By addressing some of the risk factors of heart disease, such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure and stress, the chances of a cardiac event go down while overall health reaches a new high.

“I have an acronym I tell my patients, which is to take care of the SELF: sleep, exercise, love and food,” says Rao. “Sleep is a big problem because so much blue light sleep deprivation is highly present with today’s generation constantly being disturbed by electronics. Get a good seven to eight hours of solid sleep. It will help negate all the stress hormones in the body.”

After a restorative snooze, exercise is key. As a general rule of thumb, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends a healthy adult get at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day.

“Inactivity is a major risk factor for heart disease,” Rao says, “and research is showing this generation is much more inactive in their 20s and 30s than people were 50 years ago. Your 20s and 30s is a great time to start being active because heart disease can start very early on.”

The L stands for love, and Rao says this is her reminder to patients to engage in activities they are passionate about and spend time decompressing with people they love.

“I do advise the youngsters to go out, have some connections, do things in the community, actually seek out people rather than be on social media. Depression is linked to heart disease, so don’t isolate.”

She says stress is the main cause of Takotsubo cardiomyopathy, more commonly known as broken heart syndrome.

“Broken heart syndrome, which is brought about by stressful situations, usually happens after menopause, but sudden stress can cause a person to experience chest pains and give them symptoms of a heart attack,” says Rao. “It gives credence to the fact that our minds have so much to do with heart health.”

Because of that strong connection between mental and physical health, Rao recommends patients try a few stress relief techniques, such as mindfulness, yoga or tai chi, to find one they are receptive to and can practice for 20 to 30 minutes each day.

“Try to avoid processed foods, especially those high in fructose. The bottom line is not to eat fast food or anything from packages where you can avoid it, and choose good sources of protein like eggs, a lot of greens and fresh foods.”

Of course, some people are born with risk factors they can’t prevent. Those with a family history of heart disease or who may be genetically predisposed to it should alert their primary care physician and be sure to monitor their blood pressure and cholesterol regularly.

“The other risk factors are the same, so those who have family history should maintain a healthy weight, eat a healthy diet and have a good primary care physician. I would probably check their cholesterol more often and more aggressively [and] try to bring their numbers lower with medication if they do have that family history,” says Rao.

All About AEDs

Automatic external defibrillators are designed to save the life of a person experiencing sudden cardiac arrest. The most common cause of SCA is an arrhythmia called ventricular fibrillation. During v-fib, the heart’s lower chambers, called ventricles, quiver rapidly and beat irregularly.

Another type of arrhythmia that can cause SCA is ventricular tachycardia. This is a fast, regular beating of the ventricles that can last for just a few seconds or much longer.

When someone experiences one of these arrhythmias, an electric shock from an AED can restore their heart’s normal rhythm if it is delivered quickly. If a victim of SCA receives a defibrillation within the first minute of onset, their survival rate skyrockets to 90 percent. Thirty to 50 percent of SCA victims would survive if AEDs were used within five minutes.

How do I use one?

Marion CPR Training & Certification offers classes on first aid, CPR and AED usage to save lives. To register, call (352) 653-8821 or visit It is vital to receive formal training on using an AED before attempting to use one.

“I think it’s one of those things that’s good to have in a workplace or school, but if you have them I do think you have to have training. The key is people need to know how to use it,” says Rao.

What do they look like?

AED boxes can be white, red or yellow, and they are labeled with a symbol of a heart and lightning bolt. Most commonly, the front of the box has a glass panel allowing you to see the AED inside. Just like a fire alarm, never open a wall-mounted AED box in a nonemergency. Many are wired into the building’s alarm system and will alert a 911 dispatcher to your location when the door is opened. If there is an emergency situation, always call 911 before using the AED so a dispatcher can get first responders there as soon as possible.

Where are AEDs located?

Take time when visiting new places to look around for an AED. Be aware of where AEDs are located around your school, workplace and frequently visited places, like the gym or grocery store. Much like a fire hydrant, we recognize an AED when we see one, but its location may not fully register in our memories.

In cities and large suburbs, many businesses are starting to keep AEDs on hand. They can usually be found alongside first aid kits. Schools typically have at least one if not more and place them at hallway junctions and high-traffic areas like locker rooms, gyms and cafeterias. Most dental and medical offices have AEDs, as well as many malls, fitness centers, theme parks, sports venues and major transportation terminals like airports. These are often located near water fountains or restroom areas.

Why is this important to know?

Knowing where to find an AED is critical during a sudden cardiac arrest. CPR can save a life, but an AED can read a person’s heart rhythm and determine if an electric shock is needed to restart it or restore it to normal. In most cases, this can assist the heart in beginning to pump again, which can help minimize damage from lack of oxygen and blood flow common to patients who experience this serious cardiac emergency. When CPR is paired with an AED, survival rates increase significantly.

Original Story: Ocala Style Magazine | | By Katie McPherson

DASH Diet: Care Instructions

The DASH diet is an eating plan that can help lower your blood pressure. DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. Hypertension is high blood pressure.

The DASH diet focuses on eating foods that are high in calcium, potassium, and magnesium. These nutrients can lower blood pressure. The foods that are highest in these nutrients are fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products, nuts, seeds, and legumes. But taking calcium, potassium, and magnesium supplements instead of eating foods that are high in those nutrients does not have the same effect. The DASH diet also includes whole grains, fish, and poultry.

The DASH diet is one of several lifestyle changes your doctor may recommend to lower your high blood pressure. Your doctor may also want you to decrease the amount of sodium in your diet. Lowering sodium while following the DASH diet can lower blood pressure even further than just the DASH diet alone.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It’s also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?


Following the DASH diet

  • Eat 4 to 5 servings of fruit each day. A serving is 1 medium-sized piece of fruit, ½ cup chopped or canned fruit, 1/4 cup dried fruit, or 4 ounces (½ cup) of fruit juice. Choose fruit more often than fruit juice.
  • Eat 4 to 5 servings of vegetables each day. A serving is 1 cup of lettuce or raw leafy vegetables, ½ cup of chopped or cooked vegetables, or 4 ounces (½ cup) of vegetable juice. Choose vegetables more often than vegetable juice.
  • Get 2 to 3 servings of low-fat and fat-free dairy each day. A serving is 8 ounces of milk, 1 cup of yogurt, or 1 ½ ounces of cheese.
  • Eat 6 to 8 servings of grains each day. A serving is 1 slice of bread, 1 ounce of dry cereal, or ½ cup of cooked rice, pasta, or cooked cereal. Try to choose whole-grain products as much as possible.
  • Limit lean meat, poultry, and fish to 2 servings each day. A serving is 3 ounces, about the size of a deck of cards.
  • Eat 4 to 5 servings of nuts, seeds, and legumes (cooked dried beans, lentils, and split peas) each week. A serving is 1/3 cup of nuts, 2 tablespoons of seeds, or ½ cup of cooked beans or peas.
  • Limit fats and oils to 2 to 3 servings each day. A serving is 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil or 2 tablespoons of salad dressing.
  • Limit sweets and added sugars to 5 servings or less a week. A serving is 1 tablespoon jelly or jam, ½ cup sorbet, or 1 cup of lemonade.
  • Eat less than 2,300 milligrams (mg) of sodium a day. If you limit your sodium to 1,500 mg a day, you can lower your blood pressure even more.

Tips for success

  • Start small. Do not try to make dramatic changes to your diet all at once. You might feel that you are missing out on your favorite foods and then be more likely to not follow the plan. Make small changes, and stick with them. Once those changes become habit, add a few more changes.
  • Try some of the following:
    • Make it a goal to eat a fruit or vegetable at every meal and at snacks. This will make it easy to get the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables each day.
    • Try yogurt topped with fruit and nuts for a snack or healthy dessert.
    • Add lettuce, tomato, cucumber, and onion to sandwiches.
    • Combine a ready-made pizza crust with low-fat mozzarella cheese and lots of vegetable toppings. Try using tomatoes, squash, spinach, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, and onions.
    • Have a variety of cut-up vegetables with a low-fat dip as an appetizer instead of chips and dip.
    • Sprinkle sunflower seeds or chopped almonds over salads. Or try adding chopped walnuts or almonds to cooked vegetables.
    • Try some vegetarian meals using beans and peas. Add garbanzo or kidney beans to salads. Make burritos and tacos with mashed pinto beans or black beans.

Cardiovascular Institute of Central Florida: Getting to the Heart of the Matter

Numbers don’t lie. Approximately 79,400,000 Americans—that’s one in three adults—are living with cardiovascular disease.

Not only is cardiovascular disease the top killer in the United States, but that’s also the case around the world. According to the American Heart Association, 31 percent of all deaths globally were from cardiovascular disease, stroke accounted for 11.8 percent of all deaths and 16.9 million people worldwide had a first stroke in 2010.

When heart issues are a concern—whether for yourself or a family member—you want the best care possible. The board-certified providers and entire staff at Cardiovascular Institute of Central Florida know you want more than facts and competent care. You need the peace of mind that comes from conscientious, personal treatment that includes all aspects of health: physical, mental and emotional.

The team of highly experienced, board-certified cardiologists at Cardiovascular Institute of Central Florida use the latest technological and medical advances available in cardiology today. But they are also aware that patients want to be understood, reassured and treated with respect. Each physician and staff member realizes that people have many options when it comes to health care. When you choose to put your trust in Cardiovascular Institute of Central Florida, they take that seriously.

In April 2015, Urban Cardiology, founded by partners and longtime board-certified cardiologists Dr. Paul Urban and Dr. Premranjan Singh, merged with Cardiovascular Institute of Central Florida. This merger sought to provide patients with even more comprehensive care and ancillary services in-house, and that’s exactly what it accomplished.

For example, the practice has its own cardiology catheterization lab in Ocala, which offers a range of diagnostic and interventional cardiac procedures.

Cardiovascular Institute of Central Florida’s physicians specialize in prevention, diagnosis and treatment of all diseases of the heart. Services include cardiac wellness and prevention as well as diagnosis and treatment of coronary heart disease, valve disease, hypertension, CVD, heart rhythm conditions and congestive heart failure.

At some medical offices, patients feel like they’re simply part of the process. That “lost in the shuffle” experience doesn’t happen with the doctors and health care professionals at Cardiovascular Institute of Central Florida. Each staff physician takes the approach of developing a medical partnership with the patient, working with their best interest in mind. They take time to educate patients to increase their comfort level and eliminate any surprises about a procedure.

“We listen to what our patients have to say, because they are more than just a number to us,” notes Dr. Singh. “We strive to present each patient with the best options for their cardiovascular medical care and work with them to select the option that works best for them.”

Continuity of care is vital anytime you’re dealing with heart issues. At Cardiovascular Institute of Central Florida, you’ll benefit from a customized treatment plan designed around your specific health needs. Electronic medical records facilitate quick and thorough treatment, whether you’re in one of their offices or at a local hospital.

The practice has four locations in Ocala and The Villages, and all Cardiovascular Institute of Central Florida physicians have hospital privileges in Marion County.

A doctor referral is not necessary to call for an appointment. Self-referral is welcomed, and most forms of insurance are accepted. ICANL and AAAHC accredited. Call today to schedule your appointment.

Original Story: Ocala Style Magazine | January 26, 2017


Dr. Paul Urban: Sudden Cardiac Death is what it says … unless

PaulUrbanBy Dr. Paul Urban
Special to the Star-Banner
Published: Sunday, May 29, 2016

Nearly two weeks ago I attended a concert at Circle Square Commons at On Top of the World. During the opening number Scott, the bass player, suddenly collapsed. In response to a call for medical help, I mounted the stage to assist. Scott had a chin cut, but the blood was merely a distraction. Scott was pulseless and lifeless.

I immediately began CPR — the new kind where mouth-to-mouth breathing has been eliminated. An Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) was brought forward, and I used it to shock Scott’s heart back to a normal rhythm. He was conscious when the paramedics transported him to the hospital. A cardiac procedure showed that he had extensive heart disease. He underwent a four-way heart bypass and left the hospital fully ambulatory and awake.

Scott is one of over 300,000 Americans who will suffer Sudden Cardiac Death (SCD) this year. SCD is usually caused by the sudden onset of a malignant heart rhythm. Often there are no warning symptoms. If the event is unwitnessed, the survival rate is around 6 percent. Unfortunately, most events occur in the home or non-public places and are not witnessed. If the event is witnessed, the national survival approaches 30 percent. Survival improves with bystander CPR and prompt defibrillation (cardiac shock). In cities such as Seattle, extensive public CPR training has led to survival rates over 40 percent. The new CPR guidelines eliminate mouth-to-mouth breathing, so hopefully more bystanders will perform CPR. It is indeed difficult to kiss a dead stranger.

The single most important variable for survival is time from cardiac arrest to defibrillation. Survival decreases 7-10 percent for each minute that defibrillation is delayed, and is very unlikely after 10 minutes without a shock, even with ongoing CPR. Trauma surgeons talk about treatment in the first hour after trauma as crucial to survival. In cardiology, it’s more like the “first frantic five minutes.”

Scott had the good fortune to collapse in a public place where CPR was started promptly and an AED was readily available. Prompt application of these two variables results in higher survival rates. The best place in the U.S. to have a cardiac arrest is in a Las Vegas casino, with survival rates of greater than 70 percent. Downtime before CPR is short, and there are a lot of AED’s around.

Sudden Cardiac Death usually occurs in diseased hearts, so prompt hospital transfer and further care is mandatory. At the hospital, when Scott was more awake, he related a similar but less severe episode two years ago, and a lot of recent “heartburn.” Tests showed that he likely had a least one previous heart attack, showing how silent or underwhelming the symptoms of heart disease can be.

The best treatment of SCD is prevention. Since SCD usually occurs in unhealthy hearts, treatment of well recognized risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and cigarette smoking reduces the odds of heart disease and of an attack. A heart sonogram can detect decreased heart muscle function, another risk factor for SCD. A stress test can be useful in screening for coronary artery disease and previous heart attack.

Not all SCD is survivable, but prevention and prompt treatment improve the odds. Scott was in the right place at the right time, where the true star of the show was the AED. A lot of his 300,000 brethren will not be so fortunate.

— Dr. Paul L Urban, a/k/a “Tie Dye Man,” is a board-certified clinical and interventional cardiologist who has been practicing serving Ocala for more than 25 years.

Comprehensive Patient Care at Cardiovascular Institute of Central Florida

Heart disease is not only the leading cause of death in the United States—it’s also one of the main culprits leading to disability. That’s why CVI is treating patients in Ocala with passionate care and cutting-edge technology—so their hearts stay healthy for years to come.

During initial consultations, doctors evaluate the cardiac problem, provide second opinions or perform echocardiograms and stress testing. They can even perform TEE (transesophageal echocardiograms) on-site to get a closer look at the heart muscle and cardiac valves, a procedure typically performed only in hospitals.

Patients who require catheterization to diagnose their condition will be relieved by the sophistication and convenience of CVI’s on-site cath lab.

“It’s state of the art. We do cardiac catheterization, peripheral angiograms and peripheral vascular interventional procedures in our outpatient interventional suite (OIS),” says Dr. Siva Gummadi, MD FACC. “We are the first outpatient cath lab in the area using carbon dioxide imaging. In patients with kidney problems, we inject carbon dioxide into the arteries for imaging and for interventional procedures, so we can avoid contrast induced kidney damage.”

Interventional cardiologist Dr. Paul Urban, MD, FACC, FSCAI, says the outpatient interventional suite provides the optimal setting for patients to undergo these procedures.

“I think it’s much less hectic than a hospital, and you’re not going into this big, multi-storied building and walking down five different halls. It’s much easier access for our folks, and it’s safe. If we have people who we think are high-risk, we’ll take them to the hospital, but a major chunk we can do right here,” he says.

Passionate care is a core tenet at CVI. Dr. Srisha Rao, MD, FACC, has been with Cardiovascular Institute of Central Florida for nearly 20 years. She and her fellow practitioners have built many lasting relationships with their patients in that time.

“One thing that’s been consistent is that patient satisfaction is very high, not just because of the physicians but the entire team,” she says. “We have a great set of people working in our office, and we have to give a lot of credit to our technicians and staff because they’re extremely good about managing our echocardiogram lab, our stress lab and the front office. This is a good place.”

There are different specialties in cardiology, and CVI’s staff of doctors and nurse practitioners cover all areas of expertise. This variety of experience allows them to tackle any issue, no matter how complex.

“If someone is coming in to see us, we can take care of everything from diagnosing their condition to treatment,” states Dr. Prem Singh, MD, FACC, FSCAI. “You won’t be going to a different doctor every time. We have the capability of taking care of all cardiac and vascular conditions. Our interventional cardiologists are capable of treating abdominal aortic aneurysms and certain carotid artery blockages with stents.”

As with any matter of health, these doctors say prevention is the key when it comes to heart disease. While CVI is an excellent choice for heart treatment, they focus just as much on risk reduction for their patients.

“We always talk to patients about screenings and risk reduction,” Dr. Singh explains. “Most of the patients don’t have heart attacks, but they have multiple risk factors, and when you multiply those risk factors, they have a likelihood of having a heart attack. I have long discussions with those patients about changing their lifestyle and getting involved with cholesterol reduction and exercise. Lifestyle can make a huge difference—no medicine can give us that much benefit.”

“Along with exercise, we at CVI often discuss diet, stress management techniques and smoking cessation with patients who need to lower their risk of heart disease,” says Dr. Koka Vijayanarayana, M.D, F.A.C.C. “We are always on the lookout for factors like hypertension, diabetes or high cholesterol.”

Cardiovascular Institute of Central Florida is currently accepting new patients, and they invite patient seeking a practice where they can feel comfortable and well cared for to make an appointment.

“We create an environment where patients with heart and vascular problems are at ease, not only while we are investigating the reason but when communicating the results of the test,” says Hima Mikkilineni, M.D., F.A.C.C. “Whether they are normal or abnormal, we try our best to keep the patient at ease.”

Original Story: Ocala Style Magazine, May 31 2016

People Of Influence

Doctors of the Cardiovascular Institute of Central Florida

pr-05312015The medical team at the Cardiovascular Institute of Central Florida specializes in prevention, diagnosis and treatment of all diseases of the heart. CVI’s board-certified cardiologists use the latest technological advances available to impact the health, and therefore the lives, of their patients.

Accredited by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care, Inc – American College of Radiology – Nuclear (ACR) and the Intersocietal Accreditation Commission – Echocardiography (IAC), the physicians at CVI offer a variety of services to include Nuclear Medicine, Cardiac Catheterization, Venus Ablations, Vascular Ultrasound, Echocardiology, Hoter and Event Monitoring, Pacemakers, Diagnostic right and left heart catheterization, Peripheral Vascular Interventions, Carotid Angiography and EKG/ABI/TEE technologies.

What does this mean for their patients?

Considering the American Heart Association estimates that 79,400,000 American adults are living with cardiovascular disease, it is safe to say that the highly educated and continuously trained staff are taking the life of their patients into their own hands – literally, in an effort combat this deadly disease.

Dr. Shafeeq Ahmed, Dr. Siva Gummadi, Dr. Robert Herman, Dr. Vijaya Koka, Dr. Hima Mikkilineni, Dr. Jigar Patel, Dr. Srisha Rao, Dr. Prem Singh and Dr. Paul Urban work together with a team of ARNPs and PA-Cs to provide a continuum of care that includes trust, experience and attention to detail.

Other services CVI offers includes Carotid Ultrasound, External Counter Pulsation, hospital and office consultations, Nuclear stress testing, Positron Emission Tomography Scan, Prothrombin Time and International Normalized Ration and Vascular sclerotherapy, all with in-house billing.

CVI patients can walk in to any one of the five locations, four of which are in Ocala and one in The Villages, knowing they will be met with urgency and compassion. The professional services provided by their nine physicians supersedes client expectations and leaves a lasting impression – more life to live!

Cardiovascular Institute of Central Florida, LLC, Echocardiography I Laurel Manor receives Echocardiography accreditation by IAC

iac_logo_webDate: July 2, 2015
Contact: Tamara Sloper (

Cardiovascular diseases are the No. I cause of death in the United States. On average, one American dies every 39 seconds of cardiovascular disease – disorders of the heart and blood vessels. The American Heart Association estimates that the direct and indirect cost for cardiovascular disease in the U.S. for 2010 was $503.2 billion.

Early detection of life threatening heart disorders and other diseases is possible through the use of Echocardiography procedures performed within hospitals, outpatient centers and physicians’ offices. While these tests are helpful, there are many facets that contribute to an accurate diagnosis based on Echocardiography testing. The skill of the Echocardiography sonographer performing the examination, the type of equipment used, the background and knowledge of the interpreting physician and quality assurance measures are each critical to quality patient testing.

Cardiovascular Institute of Central Florida, LLC, Echocardiography I Laurel Manor located in The Villages, FL has been granted a three-year term of accreditation in Echocardiography in the area of Adult Transthoracic by the Intersocietal Accreditation Commission (IAC).

Accreditation by the IAC means that Cardiovascular Institute of Central Florida, LLC, Echocardiography I Laurel Manor has undergone a thorough review of its operational and technical components by a panel of experts. The IAC grants accreditation only to those facilities that are found to be providing quality patient care, in compliance with national standards through a comprehensive application process including detailed case study review.

IAC accreditation is a “seal of approval” that patients can rely on as an indication that the facility has been carefully critiqued on all aspects of its operations considered relevant by medical experts in the field of Echocardiography. When scheduled for an Echocardiography procedure, patients are encouraged to inquire as to the accreditation status of the facility where their examination will be performed and can learn more by visiting

IAC accreditation is widely respected within the medical community, as illustrated by the support of the national medical societies related to Echocardiography, which include physicians and sonographers. Echocardiography accreditation is required in some states and regions by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and by some private insurers. However, patients should remain vigilant in making sure that their Echocardiography procedures are performed within accredited facilities, because for many facilities accreditation remains a voluntary process.

Heart Disease

Many of us have heard this term before: Heart Disease. But do we really know what it is? I mean, we can put two and two together – it’s a disease of the heart – that’s true enough. But is there more to it than that? Is there more that we should know? Or maybe even, be concerned about?

The answer is a resolute YES! Heart disease is merely the common term. The medical term is actually Cardiovascular Disease. Additionally, it’s not a single disease, but a classification that other diseases fall under, including heart failure and myocarditis.

Heart disease is the leading cause of deaths worldwide. And while it often affects older adults, the causes of heart disease can begin much earlier; making early prevention and detection efforts necessary from as early as childhood. Healthy eating and exercise are ways to help reduce the causes and heart disease, as well as the avoidance of smoking tobacco. You’re never too young— or too old — to take care of your heart. we can help you with regular wellness exams, and setting up a treatment plan, do not hesitate to make an appointment.

Understanding Blood Pressure

We’ve all heard of it. Maybe we have it ourselves or we know someone who has it. Or maybe you or someone you know is currently battling it; fighting each day to keep it under control: High blood pressure. But how well do you understand it? When your nurse or doctor reads you your blood pressure, do you know what it means? Or are you like the average person who knows that the lower the number is the better?

Let’s go over some of the basics. When a nurse or doctor tells you your blood pressure rating, they may say something along the lines of “blood pressure 110/70 (110 over 70),” to let you know where your blood pressure lies.  Blood pressure is not measured in pounds, but in millimeters of mercury (mm HG). The first number, which is generally the higher number, is your systolic pressure. It measures the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats. The second number, which is generally the lower number, is your diastolic pressure. It measures the pressure in the arteries in between heartbeats. Typically more attention is given to the top number (the systolic blood pressure) as a major risk factor for heart disease for people over 50 years old.

According to the American Heart Association, a healthy blood pressure reading is less than 120/80. Pre-hypertension, or slightly elevated blood pressure, is between that and 139/89. Once you creep over those numbers, you are officially at high blood pressure.  Believe it or not, low blood pressure can be a cause for concern as well. While most doctors only consider low blood pressure dangerous when symptoms are displayed, it can also have an underlying cause. Symptoms of low blood pressure include:

  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Fainting
  • Dehydration and unusual thirst
  • Lack of concentration
  • Blurred vision
  • Nausea
  • Cold, clammy, pale skin
  • Rapid, shallow breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Depression

Regular visits to your doctor or cardiologist is the best way to maintain your blood pressure. We can recommend the best treatment or course of action if your blood pressure is too high or too low.

Varicose Veins

So what are varicose veins?

Varicose veins are veins that have become twisted and enlarged near the surface of the skin. Although they can occur anywhere within the body’s veins, they most commonly occur in the veins in the legs and ankles. Veins have what are known as leaflet valves, or one way valves. The purpose of these valves is to prevent blood from flowing backwards (known as retrograde flow or reflux). If these leaflet valves fail, then the blood flows backwards, causing the veins to build pressure and swell. The legs are most affected because the leg muscles pump the veins to return blood to the heart against the effect of gravity. Varicose veins can run in families, but being overweight, being pregnant or having a job where you must stand for
long periods of time can lead to varicose veins. Varicose veins normally aren’t serious, but they can lead to other things and can be painful.

Mild symptoms include:

  • Heaviness, burning, aching, tiredness, or pain in your legs – possibly worsening over long periods of standing
  • Swelling in your feet and ankles.
  • Itching over the vein.

More serious symptoms include:

  • Leg swelling.
  • Swelling and calf pain after you sit or stand for long periods of time.

Skin changes, such as:

  • Color changes.
  • Dry, thinned skin.
  • Inflammation.

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, We can examine your veins and let you know if there are any reasons for concern.