Protect the heart, from good habits to the scalpel

Pay attention to the weight. Regular physical activity and intelligent nutrition, following the rules of the Mediterranean diet.

No smoke. Regular monitoring of blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar to reveal any diabetes. Fighting Stress. The rules for protecting the heart are simple, but we often forget them.

To remind us, from the Teatro Regio di Torino live on the web as part of SaluTO – Turin Medicine and Wellness – are Gaetano Maria De Ferrari, full professor of Cardiology at the University of Turin and Mauro Rinaldi, full professor of Cardiac Surgery at the University of Studies of Turin.

Appointment Saturday 26 September at 4 pm.

The importance of making the right choices

The health of our heart depends a lot on our habits.

The doctor obviously helps us, on a case-by-case basis. But in general terms, a lifestyle is needed that keeps all potential enemies of the heart and the arteries that supply it under control, since the myocardial cells have constant need for blood and oxygen. Thus, the warning of the experts for prevention is simple: let's fight the war against the many possible pitfalls. Having high and not properly controlled blood pressure is dangerous for the heart and blood vessels.


But the situation gets much worse if diabetes is associated with hypertension, if you are a smoker and are overweight. And the risks increase even more if the LDL cholesterol values ​​are also high, the "bad" cholesterol which tends to accumulate in the blood vessels favoring the development of atherosclerosis.

Acting against the various enemies that arise, in short, is also fundamental because their negative effect on the heart does not add up, but multiplies. Just think that according to the results of the Framingham Study, a research that has followed all the inhabitants of a US town for many years, having a total blood cholesterol that rises up to 300 milligrams per deciliter of blood means an increase of four times the risk of suffering a heart attack. But if someone with this altered parameter is also a smoker, diabetic and has high blood pressure, the danger of having a heart attack goes up tenfold.

The word to the surgeon

If necessary, when modern interventional cardiology techniques are not sufficient to fix the clinical picture, the heart surgeon can come into play. “Cardiac surgery deals with cardiovascular diseases and malformations – explains Rinaldi. The heart surgeon comes into play to remedy the damage caused by diseases on the heart and large blood vessels when medical therapies are ineffective or no longer sufficient.

Valvulopathies, ischemic heart disease, thoracic aortic aneurysms, acute aortic dissections, and cardiomyopathies are the most frequent cardiovascular diseases. In the specific case of valvular pathology, cardiac surgery is indicated only when the valvular defect is defined as severe echocardiography. In the case of mild or moderate valve stenosis or insufficiency, patient management involves the optimization of medical therapy and serial echocardiographic checks.

Research today points to less and less invasive techniques in order to minimize surgical trauma, pain and possible complications. We talk about video-assisted minimally invasive surgery, which allows you to reach the heart and the diseased valve through an incision of a few centimeters on the lateral wall of the chest and to avoid the median sternotomy ". And when there is no way to repair the heart, it is possible to replace it. On December 3, 1967 at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town, Christian Barnard transplanted the heart of a woman who died in a car accident on a 54-year-old man with heart disease.

Since then, heart transplants have multiplied and today thousands of people live with a new heart. The number of heart transplants in the world is growing steadily but is still insufficient to meet the demands of patients with end-stage cardiomyopathy.

The alternative to heart transplantation is the artificial heart, which, to date, has not yet completely overcome the problems related to infections, bleeding and thrombosis of the device.

Protect the heart, from good habits to the scalpel

Live web – Saturday 26 September – 4.00 pm

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