Your Questions Answered
"Yes I'm wondering I had double bypass mitral valve ring repair and pacemaker how am I to strengthen my heart when I have bad siactic nerve and needing back surgery"Marli55, Support Network Member
"Wow! Sorry to hear that you needed to have all of those procedures, but I'm glad that they went well! Rehabilitation, as you know, is critical after these procedures to get your strength and endurance back as quickly as possible and to increase your functional status, particularly if more, non-heart related procedures are needed. In my patients who also have back, hip, or joint issues that make it more difficult to rehab, I always suggest load-reducing or load eliminating activities such as recumbent bicycles and water aerobics and/or swimming. I would also make sure that you talk to a cardiac rehabilitation specialist and your physical therapist at your local cardiac rehab to individualize your rehabilitation in light of your sciatica and back issues. Good luck on your recovery!John Osborne, Principal Cardiologist
Dr. John Osborne"
"Are heart disease and stroke related to each other? If my child has heart disease, could she have a stroke?"AHA/ASA Katie Bahn, Support Network Member
"In adults, high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, hardening of the arteries, and diabetes can play key roles in stroke. However, this is less common in children. Children can have cardiac issues like congenital heart defects or acquired heart disease that can increase the risk of strokes. It is important for families to discuss the underlying cardiac condition and the risk of stroke with their physician.Dr. Nivedita Thakur, Pediatric Neurologist
Dr. Nivedita Thakure"
"Do children have the same stroke symptoms as adults?"AHAASAKatie, Support Network Member
"Strokes in children, especially infants and newborns, can present differently than in adults. The symptoms could be misdiagnosed with more common conditions that mimic a stroke like viral illness, migraines, or epilepsy.Dr. Nivedita Thakur, Pediatric Neurologist
-Change in mental status--Example: extreme sleepiness
-Using one side of the body more than the other
-Focal signs like weakness
-Change in mental status
-Sudden difficulty with speaking or comprehension
-Sudden vision problems
Should your child experience these symptoms, call 9-1-1 immediately."
"My baby had a stroke in utero. What are the main developmental achievements that I should look for as he grows?"AHA/ASA Katie Bahn, Support Network Member
"Monitoring development will be important, especially milestones that a baby should achieve by a certain age.Dr. Nivedita Thakur, Pediatric Neurologist
Development can be impacted by areas damaged in the brain. Thus the location and extent of injury are important factors. Another important aspect is brain plasticity. Brain plasticity can be seen in babies because the brain is developing and so different parts of the brain or an undamaged area in the same location can take over function. Therefore it is difficult to predict exactly how much difficulty a child will have in the future.
It’s important to follow development closely and get them in therapy to help practice skills they may be struggling with. This will allow the brain to use the pattern of repetition to build pathways that may have been disturbed due to the injury.
Thank you, Dr. Nivedita Thakur"
"What Causes a Pediatric Strokes in children?"AHA/ASA Katie Bahn, Support Network Member
"Strokes in children can be caused by a variety of factors:Dr. Nivedita Thakur, Pediatric Neurologist
Cardiac: Examples--Congenital heart defects or Acquired heart disease
Hematologic: Examples--Sickle cell disease or Clotting disorders
Infection: Examples--Meningitis or Encephalitis
Vascular: Examples--AVM malformation or Moyamoya
Metabolic or Genetic: Examples--Marfan syndrome or MELAS (Mitochondrial encephalomyopathy, lactic acidosis, and stroke-like episodes)
Trauma: Example--head and neck trauma"
"Next week my husband is having surgery to replace his aortic valve. I am getting more and more nervous each day. What advice can anyone give me to get through this and advice for his care after the surgery. I thank you for your help in advance."MarilynU72, Support Network Member
"Heart surgery raises uncertainty and entails risks which cause stress to all family members. No strategy will completely relieve that stress until the surgery and recovery period are over but there are means of coping better: Educate yourself about his condition and the surgery so that you know what to expect both on the day of the operation and afterward. Ask a family member or friend to keep you company at the hospital during the surgery. Line up other friends to drop off meals or help you with errands after surgery so that you can be mostly available to your husband. Ask the surgeon, cardiologist or primary care physician for ways to best communicate with them if you should have any questions or concerns. Give your husband sufficient time to heal. Give yourself sufficient space from him to take care of yourself over the weeks of his recovery.—Barry J. Jacobs, Psy.D., co-author of AARP Meditations for Caregivers"Barry J. Jacobs, Psy.D., Clinical Psychology
"How do you get over your fear of another Cardiac arrest enough to participate in life again?"Slateire, Support Network Member
"Fear is most effectively conquered when it is faced squarely. With your cardiologist’s guidance, gradually resume cherished physical activities which you have been afraid may cause harm. By doing this, you will prove to yourself that you are still capable and will regain some sense of safety. Along these lines, an excellent means of regaining your confidence is to enroll in a cardiac rehab program in which you will be encouraged to take on greater physical challenges with the support of the knowledgeable staff members and other cardiac arrest survivors.Barry J. Jacobs, Psy.D., Clinical Psychology
Thank you, —Barry J. Jacobs, Psy.D., coauthor of AARP Meditations for Caregivers"