Featured Speaker Heart Beat Now
Dr. Frank Halperin graduated from engineering at Queens University in 1985 and from medicine at the University of Toronto in 1989. He trained in internal medicine at the University of Western Ontario until 1992, where he retuned to Toronto and completed his cardiology fellowship at St. Michael’s and the Toronto General Hospitals in 1994.
He continued his training as a Heart and Stroke Foundation research fellow at the Hospital for Sick Children, where he studied the role of proteases in angiogenesis. During his research fellowship he also pursued extra training in clinical cardiology focusing on nuclear cardiology and diagnostic angiography. He subsequently worked as a staff cardiologist at the Rouge Valley Health System where he was the director of non-invasive cardiology and an assistant professor at the University of Toronto until his move to Kelowna in 2004. Here he has continued his work as a busy staff cardiologist at Kelowna General Hospital, with interests in clinical research, education and community cardiology.
His current passion is quality improvement.. He has focussed his attention on atrial fibrillation, developing and managing the AF clinic at KGH, and management of acute coronary syndromes. He is currently the medical director for cardiology at Kelowna General Hospital and the Interior Health Authority. He is involved in research and education as an assistant clinical professor of medicine at the University of British Columbia.
( Dr. Frank Halperin, Cardiologist, Kelowna, BC ) is in good standing with the College of Physicians and Surgeons.
Heart valves are a very important part of your heart’s anatomy, or structure, and allow the heart to do the job that it was meant to do. The heart actually comes in two parts: a left heart and a right heart.
The right heart’s job is to pump the blood from the body up into the lungs. The left heart will then take the blood from the lungs and pump it out to the body. For the heart to do its job, when it squeezes it needs check valves to cause the blood to flow in the correct direction. So we have for each chamber an inlet valve and an outlet valve.
Heart valves can malfunction in really one of two ways. Firstly they can be stuck in a more closed position. Should that be the case, the flow through the valve will be restricted. It can also be stuck in a more open way, in which case the blood can leak back through the valve.
If these issues should occur, it can result in blood not flowing the way that it should, and can result in issues for the patient. If one has problems with their heart valve, one typically will develop symptoms at some point. These symptoms can include shortness of breath, tightness of pain in the chest, dizziness, or irregular or rapid heart rate.
If you should note these symptoms occurring, this is important that you go see your family physician or cardiologist, and they can look into matters further. If you or your doctor have concerns about your heart valve, there’s a number of ways that this can be tested.
Firstly, your doctor will ask you questions about your symptoms. They will examine you, listening to your heart to see if there’s any heart murmurs, and likely they will proceed to a test called an echocardiogram or cardiac ultrasound. This is a very valuable test that allows us to look at the heart valves and actually measure the flows through the valve and assess if there’s any leakage.
This gives us a very clear understanding of the state of your heart valves, and whether anything further needs to be done. If your doctor finds that you do have an issue with your heart valve, there are a variety of treatments that are available.
For some patients, all we need to do is observe the valve, and this can be done through annual checkups and assessments. For other people we tend to use medications, and that can help relieve symptoms and control the issue.
For some patients, however, we need to do something further, and do something surgical, in other words actually fix the valve. Sometimes we will go in and actually repair the valve, other times we’ll actually take the valve out and replace it with an artificial valve.
What is appropriate for you depends on your particular condition and your particular circumstances, and I strongly encourage you to discuss this further with your cardiologist. If you have concerns about your heart or heart valves, I strongly encourage you to discuss this further with your family doctor or cardiologist. They can provide you with more information that you need to help understand your condition.
Local Practitioners: Cardiologist
Dr. Frank Halperin, MD, FRCPC, FACC, Cardiologist, discusses controlling atrial fibrillation with drug therapies.
We have agents known as antiarrythmics which are drugs or medications which help control atrial fibrillation.
What these agents do is they help keep a patient in normal sinus rhythm, so make it less likely for atrial fibrillation to occur and if atrial fibrillation should occur, it makes it more likely for them to revert back into normal sinus rhythm on their own.
There are a number of these agents that are currently available. The most effective agent is one known as amiodarone, this is an agent that has been on the market for quite some time. It has quite a number of side effects some related to the heart, and others related to other organ systems, and given this it’s really important that this type of medication be administered through the use of a specialist from help from the family doctor.
We have other agents that we use as well, a brother of amiodarone known as dronedarone, and this one tends to be a little bit less effective than the amiodarone, but it also has less in terms of side effects which can be helpful.
We have a few other agents, one of which being sotadol, which is a brother in the beta blocker family. This agent is also very helpful in terms of preventing recurrent episodes of atrial fibrillation, and it also helps prevent the heart from beating rapidly should atrial fibrillation occur.
The last group of medications are agents such as propafenone of flecainide, and these agents are also very effective but tend to be used only in patients with good normal, good structurally normal hearts.
If you have any questions about these medications you should discuss this further with your family physician or with your specialist and they can discuss with you in detail the potential benefits these medications may offer and as well the potential risks that there may be in your particular case.
Local Practitioners: Cardiologist