Nonsurgical Treatments for Heart Disease
WebMD Live Events Transcript
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. Doctors are working to find new techniques to diagnose and treat without invasive surgeries. We discussed the latest nonsurgical treatments for heart disease with cardiologist E. Murat Tuzcu, MD, from The Cleveland Clinic Heart Center on July 26, 2005.
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Dr. Tuzcu, can you explain your work in the catheter lab and how it is helping you and your colleagues care for patients with heart disease?
Over the years this basic technique allowed cardiologists to expand their diagnostic abilities and also do some treatments. For example:
As you see, the profession called interventional cardiology has a very large scope and in a nutshell, it means to treat many, many heart diseases through tiny tubes inserted through the leg or the arm -- diseases that used to be in the domain of heart surgery. So that's what I do.
Moreover, many patients, particularly those with other issues, or elderly patients, may have serious complications or die after surgery. Treatments done through catheters generally require only an overnight hospital stay, have much shorter recovery times, are generally less uncomfortable, and in many cases, may have less risk of complications and death.
Having said this, it is very important to understand that a cardiologist should always keep in mind the available treatment options, be it from surgery or through the catheter or by medications, and choose the one or the ones that suit that particular patient best.
So I would not present the interventional cardiologist's work as a competitor to the surgeon's work, but I rather like to think these are all complementary tools in our toolbox when we help our patients.
This is the No. 1 killer in our country, as well as most of the world. The World Health Organization declared that coronary artery disease will be the No. 1 killer of the world in the year 2020.
This is an immense health care problem. For the last 20 years we've made tremendous advances in the treatment of coronary artery disease using catheter techniques.