The History of the EKG Machine

An EKG machine measures the electrical activity of the heart. It displays this activity by drawing waves on a piece of paper that is either displayed on a screen or drawn on a piece of paper that runs through a machine.
• Late 1700’s – The first step in the development of the modern electrocardiograph machine was the creation of a machine that could sense, but not measure, electric current. This machine was called a galvanometer.
• 1786 an Italian physician, Dr. Luigi Galvan, discovered that skeletal muscles worked by producing electric current. In
• 1842 Dr. Carlo Matteucci working at the University of Pisa discovered that there is an electrical current that comes with each heart beat in a frog.
• Mid 1800’s a machine called the “Rheotome” was invented that could now measure this electrical current.
• 1872 – further refinements to this Rheotome led to a machine devised by Gabrrile Lippman  of the “capillary electrometer”.
During this time, a British physiologist, Augustus Waller, was able to record the first human electrocardiogram that using this technology with electrodes placed on the chest and back of a patient. This demonstrated electric activity taking place before ventricular contraction. In
• 1893 – Dr. Wilhelm Einthoven, a Dutch physiologist,  refined the capillary electrometer to show five deflections in the electrical current passing through the heart. The five waves were initially called ABCDE, but were changed to PQRST after a mathematical correction was made to compensate for the inertia in the capillary tube. He used the phrase “electrocardiogram” for the first time at a meeting of Dutch physicians.  In
• 1901 – Dr. Eintoven he developed a string galvanometer, a more sensitive machine. He  was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine and Physiology for his invention of the electrocardiograph.
As time passed, the electrocardiograph machine became much smaller and much more accurate. In 1903 it weighed 600 pounds and by 1930 it weighed about 30 pounds. The importance of an electrocardiograph was recognized as being essential in diagnosing cardiac from non-cardiac pain and able to help diagnose a myocardial infarction or a heart attack. Today we use a 12 lead electrocardiogram as a major tool in diagnosing heart disease. The machine today weighs just a few pounds and is an essential tool in diagnosing diseases of the heart.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

February is American Heart Month

Over 50 years ago President Lyndon B. Johnson proclaimed the month of February to be American Heart Month in order to bring attention to one of the leading causes of death in the United States. This tradition has been carried on by every President since.
Each year over 800,000 lives are taken as a result of heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases.  Every 84 seconds someone in the United States dies from the disease and each year approximately 750,000 people experience a heart attack and of those, about 115,000 will not survive.
The American Heart Association recommends the following behavioral modifications to prevent heart disease:
• Avoid smoking
• Engage in some form of daily physical activity
• Follow a healthy diet
• Maintain a healthy body weight
• Control cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar levels
The death rate from heart disease has been improving slowly over the last decade due to advances in medications, better diagnostic capabilities, and better access to health care, but the statistics are still pretty alarming. If you would like to schedule an appointment with a cardiologist at Jamaica Hospital, please call 718-670-5486.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Benefits of Eating Dark Chocolate

Dark Chocolate has received a great deal of attention because it’s believed to help protect your cardiovascular system. The reason being is that the cocoa bean is rich in a class of plant nutrients called flavonoids.

Higher grades of dark chocolate are where you will find an abundance of flavonoids.

Some benefits to adding a moderate amount of dark chocolate to your diet are:

  • Nutrition – If the dark chocolate you are eating has a high cocoa content it will also have a sufficient amount of soluble fiber and will be rich with minerals.
  • Antioxidants – Dark chocolate is loaded with organic compounds that are biologically active and function as antioxidants, such as polyphenols, flavanols and catechins to name a few.
  • Blood Flow and Hypertension – The bioactive compounds in cocoa have been known to improve blood flow in the arteries and cause a small but significant decrease in blood pressure.
  • Heart Disease – Eating dark chocolate has shown to be beneficial in improving several important risk factors for heart disease, reducing insulin resistance, increase high density lipoprotein (HDL or “good” cholesterol) and decreasing low density lipoprotein (LDL or “bad” cholesterol). These reductions could show decrease in cardiovascular disease.

Be careful about the type of dark chocolate you choose: chewy caramel-marshmallow-nut-covered dark chocolate is by no means a heart-healthy food option. Watch out for those extra ingredients that can add lots of extra fat and calories.

There is currently no established serving size of dark chocolate to help you reap the cardiovascular benefits it may offer, and more research is needed in this area. So, for now, it is recommended that a moderate portion of chocolate (e.g., 1 ounce) a few times per week is sufficient while eating other flavonoid-rich foods (lettuce, almonds, strawberries, celery oranges, etc.).

Even though there is evidence that eating dark chocolate can provide health benefits, it doesn’t mean you should over indulge.  It is still loaded with calories and easy to overeat.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Blood Pressure – Keeping it Under Control in the New Year

It is the beginning of the New Year and many of us will make resolutions to do things better than the previous year. For many people this means living healthy, losing weight, and keeping our blood pressure under control.
High blood pressure affects one in three Americans. If not controlled well it can lead to kidney problems, damaged blood vessels, stroke, and heart attacks. There are many factors that can cause blood pressure to be elevated including obesity, stress, smoking, high sodium diets and elevated cholesterol. Ideally, managing some of these factors can help to maintain a blood pressure that is as close to normal range (120/80mmHg) as possible.
There are many ways that doctors can help us to control our blood pressure, Your doctor can prescribe medication that will help. Additionally other methods include:
• Quitting smoking
• Lose weight
• Stress reduction
• Exercise regularly
• Eat less salty food
• Eliminate beverages that contain caffeine
• Eat dark chocolate
• Cut back on sugar
• Drink less alcohol
Keeping your blood pressure under control is probably one of the most important things you can do to keep yourself healthy. Speak to your doctor about methods that would work best for you.
If you would like to schedule an appointment with a doctor at Flushing Hospital to discuss how you can lower your blood pressure in 2018, please call 718-670-5486.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Tips For Living With AFib

Atrial fibrillation (AFib) is one of the most common forms of heart arrhythmia.  It is estimated that up to six million people living in the United States are affected by this condition.

When a person has AFib their heartbeat is irregular. The upper chambers of the heart are out of sync with the lower chambers.  Irregularities in the rhythm of the heart can increase their risk for complications such as stroke or heart failure.

Living with AFib poses challenges that can affect several aspects of a person’s health.  However, there are lifestyle changes that can be applied to help improve quality of life.  Here are a few:

  • Diet- A heart-healthy diet is important for overall good health and offers many benefits to those living with AFib. Eat foods that are low in sodium and fat. Avoiding caffeine and alcohol is recommended as these substances have been known to trigger AFib episodes.
  • Using medications as advised- There are over-the-counter (OTC) drugs that can have adverse effects. Some OTC cold medications and nasal sprays may contain substances that aggravate AFib. Certain multivitamins and herbal remedies, when combined with prescription medications, can also result in adverse reactions. Therefore, it is highly recommended to speak with a physician before taking any drugs or supplements.
  • Exercise- Adopting an exercise routine that fits your life can help strengthen your heart and improve stamina. As a person living with AFib, it is advised that you speak with your doctor about your exercise regimen because participating in activities that are too rigorous may lead to complications. Exercise also promotes the production of feel-good hormones.
  • Keep stress levels low- High levels of stress or intense bouts of anger can cause heart rates to quicken- this is not good for AFib. Find ways to keep stress to a minimum. Participating in activities such as taking walks or yoga can help to alleviate stress and decrease depression or anxiety.

The key to improving your health while living with AFib involves incorporating these tips as well as communicating with your doctor.   He or she will recommend a care plan for you to follow.

To schedule an appointment with a cardiologist at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, please call 718-206-7001.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

History of the EKG

An EKG machine measures the electrical activity of the heart. It displays this activity by drawing waves on a piece of paper that is either displayed on a screen or drawn on a piece of paper that runs through a machine.
• Late 1700’s – The first step in the development of the modern electrocardiograph machine was the creation of a machine that could sense, but not measure, electric current. This machine was called a galvanometer.
• 1786 an Italian physician, Dr. Luigi Galvan, discovered that skeletal muscles worked by producing electric current. In
• 1842 Dr. Carlo Matteucci working at the University of Pisa discovered that there is an electrical current that comes with each heart beat in a frog.
• Mid 1800’s a machine called the “Rheotome” was invented that could now measure this electrical current.
• 1872 – further refinements to this Rheotome led to a machine devised by Gabrrile Lippman  of the “capillary electrometer”.
During this time, a British physiologist, Augustus Waller, was able to record the first human electrocardiogram that using this technology with electrodes placed on the chest and back of a patient. This demonstrated electric activity taking place before ventricular contraction. In
• 1893 – Dr. Wilhelm Einthoven, a Dutch physiologist,  refined the capillary electrometer to show five deflections in the electrical current passing through the heart. The five waves were initially called ABCDE, but were changed to PQRST after a mathematical correction was made to compensate for the inertia in the capillary tube. He used the phrase “electrocardiogram” for the first time at a meeting of Dutch physicians.  In
• 1901 – Dr. Eintoven he developed a string galvanometer, a more sensitive machine. He  was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine and Physiology for his invention of the electrocardiograph.
As time passed, the electrocardiograph machine became much smaller and much more accurate. In 1903 it weighed 600 pounds and by 1930 it weighed about 30 pounds. Tthe importance of an electrocardiograph was recognized as being essential in diagnosing cardiac from non cardiac pain and able to help diagnose a myocardial infarction or a heart attack. Today we use a 12 lead electrocardiogram as a major tool in diagnosing heart disease. The machine today weighs just a few pounds and is an essential tool in diagnosing diseases of the heart.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Heart Disease and Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction (the inability to achieve and sustain an erection firm enough for intercourse) may serve as an early warning sign of the development of more serious health issues, such as heart disease.   According to Harvard Health Publications, ‘erections “serve as a barometer for overall health,” and that erectile dysfunction can be an early warning sign of trouble in the heart or elsewhere.’

Studies have shown that if a man has erectile dysfunction (ED), he is at a greater risk of having heart disease.  Some experts suggest that men with ED who have no obvious cause such as trauma and no symptoms of heart problems should be proactive and receive an assessment to determine their risk for cardiovascular disease.

Heart disease and erectile dysfunction share many risk factors including:

  • Tobacco use
  • Alcohol intake
  • Diabetes
  • Age
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Low testosterone
  • Obesity

If you are believed to be at risk for heart disease and have ED, your doctor may recommend applying lifestyle changes that may include drinking alcohol in moderation or none at all, quitting smoking, exercising and eating a balanced diet.  For those diagnosed with ED and heart disease your doctor may explore treatment options that include medication management to help regulate both health issues

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Holiday Heart Syndrome

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Holiday Heart Syndrome, coined in 1978, is a real syndrome in which the heart’s vulnerability to certain arrhythmias is increased by excessive alcohol ingestion (binge drinking) and the onset of a heart rhythm disturbance in people who are otherwise healthy.

The most frequently seen arrhythmia during the holiday season is atrial fibrillation, in which the top chambers of the heart quiver or fibrillate causing the heart to beat irregular and often quite fast.

Excessive alcohol intake in women is defined as consuming seven or more drinks per week or over three doses at one time.  For men, heavy consumption is defined as over 14 drinks per week or over four drinks at one time by the U.S. Department of health and Human Service.

Alcohol alone does not fully explain Holiday Heart Syndrome.  There are other risk factors for atrial fibrillation that are higher around the holidays such as:

  • Overeating
  • Stress
  • High levels of sodium consumption
  • Dehydration

Everyone has some degree of stress in their lives.  Health concerns, family and relationship issues, financial problems can all cause stress which can ultimately affect your health; the idea of “letting go” at a holiday event and consuming more alcohol than usual as a way to forget the present may have a negative effect on your future.

If you have any heart symptoms, it is best to seek medical attention immediately; even if your symptoms appear ON a holiday.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Healthy Heart = A Health You

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Every year, more than 1.2 million Americans die from heart attacks. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost 50 percent of those deaths occur outside the hospital—a figure suggesting many people with heart disease don’t act on early warning signs.

Some signs to watch for are chest pain or discomfort that lasts more than a few minutes, shortness of breath, cold sweats, nausea, lightheadedness, and upper body discomfort are  red flags and an indication to immediately call 911. Just a few wasted minutes can stand between life or death.”

There are several factors that can put you at risk for heart disease, including high blood pressure, being overweight, having diabetes, and being over 55 years old for men and 65 years old for women.

Individuals who maintain a nutritious diet, exercise regularly, manage stress, and quit smoking, in  addition to making healthy lifestyle changes, or are taking your heart medication regularly are great ways to protect yourself against heart health conditions.

Flushing Hospital offers a non-invasive Cardiology Lab, as well as other services for heart diseases, such as arrhythmia, coronary heart disease, and cardiomyopathy.
Our non-invasive Cardiology Laboratory performs the following tests:

• Electrocardiograms, which allow the electrical activity of the heart to be examined
• Echocardiograms, which use sound waves to take pictures of the heart to assess how it is working
• Stress tests, both chemical and exercise, with and without imaging modalities to assess the blood flow to the heart and the function of the heart with exercise
• Holter monitors
• Event recorders
• Tilt table testing
• Nuclear wall motion studies
• Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring

Non-invasive treatment of coronary artery disease is available for patients who are not candidates for angioplasty, stenting or coronary artery bypass surgery, but who have continued chest pain or angina.

To speak with a cardiologist about your heart health or to obtain more information about the cardiology services offered at Flushing Hospital, please call 718-670-5489.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

World Heart Day

September 29th has been designated as “World Heart Day”. This observance serves to bring international attention to the dangers of cardiovascular disease. According to the World Heart Federation, over 17.3 million deaths occur each year due to cardiovascular disease. By the year 2030 it is expected that this number will rise to 23 million. This makes it the leading cause of death in the world. The most common cardiovascular diseases include coronary heart disease (heart attack) and cerebrovascular disease (stroke).
Ways to control heart disease and protect the heart:
• Keep active – a minimum of 30 minutes a day of physical activity or exercise
• Do not smoke – if you do smoke, quit and if you don’t smoke, don’t start
• Healthy eating – A healthy diet includes fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains, lean meat and fish
• Maintain a healthy weight – keep away from food that is high in sodium and sugar or contains unsaturated fat
• Keep blood pressure under control
• Take medication as prescribed to control cholesterol, pressure, and diabetes if present
It is very important to know the warning signs of heart disease.  For instance, a person who is experiencing a heart attack will often experience chest pain (fullness, squeezing, pressure), discomfort in areas of the upper body ( neck, jaw, arms, back), shortness of breath, and may also experience nausea, lightheadedness, and cold sweats. A person who is experiencing a stroke may have sudden trouble seeing, sudden confusion, a severe headache, loss of balance, trouble speaking, and sudden numbness and weakness of the face, arms and legs that is often just one sided.
It is very important to receive a medical check – up at least once a year to ensure that your heart is healthy. If you would like to schedule an appointment with a physician at Flushing Hospital please call 718-670-5486

Stethoscope and heart shape mascot.

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All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.