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Shortness of breath is a common feature of both heart failure and COPD. Complicating matters further is the fact that many patients with COPD will have heart failure and vice versa. So oftentimes it’s really challenging for the physician and for the patient to know whether their dysthymia is due to heart failure, COPD or both.
Many patients with COPD also have heart disease. It’s estimated that about four in ten COPD patients have a concomitant heart failure disorder. And both of these conditions cause shortness of breath, so diagnostically it may be very hard for you and your doctors to separate out COPD from heart failure—what’s causing what.
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Several conditions require an evaluation cardiogenetic. First, different types of cardiomyopathy, or heart muscle disorders. These include hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, some forms of familial cardiomyopathies, and arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy.
There are also some electric problems of the heart that require an evaluation. These include Brugada syndrome, long QT syndrome among other arrhythmic problems, and also some forms of familial sudden death. There are also some cholesterol problems that need evaluation, as well as some aortic problems.
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Pregnancy is usually a very exciting time for families, and the 20-week screening ultrasound is an important milestone. For most couples, it is a time to get to see baby on the screen, and to find out if it’s a boy or a girl. But for the medical team, it’s an important test that helps us to determine if the structure of baby’s organs—all of the parts—if they are normal.
Sometimes a screening ultrasound will be able to detect an abnormality, and that will result in a patient being referred for a fetal echocardiogram. That can be quite upsetting for families, and I think understanding a bit about what a fetal echocardiogram might be is helpful in alleviating some of that anxiet
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