<p>As part of the Aga Khan University Hospital's 'Red Week' campaign to commemorate World Heart Day on 29<sup>th</sup> September 2020, a Facebook Live session was conducted to raise awareness on issues pertaining to heart health.</p><p>The cardiology experts who participated in this live session included:</p><p>Dr. Yawer Saeed, Consultant Cardiologist and Electrophysiologist </p><p>Dr. Syed Shahabuddin, Cardiac Thoracic Surgeon</p><p>Dr. Badar Afzal, Asst. Professor and Service Line Chief, Emergency Medicine</p><p>Dr. Shazia Mohsin, Pediatric Cardiologist</p><p>Shahroze Vidani, Interim Nurse Manager</p><p>Dr. Farhala Baloch, Consultant Cardiologist </p><p>The session opened with a discussion highlighting the symptoms of cardiac diseases by Dr. Yawer. He started off by explaining the most common symptoms of a heart attack which included chest and jaw pain, persistent arm pain for an extended period of time, shortness of breath and rapid increase in heartbeat without any reason. He stressed that it was absolutely vital to visit cardiac emergency care service if one or more of these symptoms persist.</p><p>Talking about the prevalence ratio of cardiac diseases in both men and women, Dr. Farhala quoted a WHO report in 2017, citing that the data concluded both were equally at risk of suffering from heart diseases in Pakistan. To which Dr. Yawer added that women were slightly more vulnerable since they tended to downplay their symptoms and may delay treatment.</p><p>A lot of questions received during the session were related to children's cardiac health as well. A concern, which Dr. Shazia Mohsin confirmed was unfortunately a quite common occurrence in Pakistan with around 60,000 children being born with congenital heart diseases annually. She stressed upon the importance of monitoring the symptoms for those kids vigilantly. Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring for 24 hours could also reveal if treatment is needed in children.</p><p>A concern regarding what to do in case of a heart attack was directed at Dr. Badar. She advised that the patient should lie down in case of a heart attack and given an aspirin to thin out the blood. They should be taken to an emergency cardiac care immediately to prevent heart muscle damage. Dr. Badar urged the need for timely intervention as 'time is muscle' when it comes to preserving heart muscle. AKUH'S 24/7 designated cardiac emergency unit can be beneficial in preventing fatalities, she added.</p><p>Shahroze Vidani further added to that advice that AKUH's cardiac facilities could help keep heart health in check. Offering facilities like cardiopulmonary services which include ECHO, ECG, Angiography, CCU, AICU. They can help detect even the most minor symptoms of cardiac disease.</p><p>The panel also discussed how men over 40 and women over 45 should go for heart screening anually, especially if they have a family history or suffer from high risk factors such as cholesterol, blood pressure and diabetes. Regular screening and a lifestyle modification with exercise and diet control can help prevent a future heart health risk. 'Prevention is better than both the cure and disease' Dr. Farhala emphasized. </p><p>The questions from audience showed an interest in knowing about heart valve issues and symptoms. A question which Dr Shahab explained in great detail that shortness of breath and blocked valves were the major causes of valve dysfunction. He added that valve interventional therapy could be helpful in restoring function of valves.</p><p>Among the several questions pouring in during the session, Dr. Farhala and Dr. Shazia addressed the many concerns regarding pregnancy complications in mothers with pre-existing heart conditions. They warned that there was a higher risk in the child contracting heart disease if either of the parent had a cardiac complication previously. Dr. Farhala advised women to discuss concerns about pregnancy with their physician before conceiving and map out a course of strategic treatment. Dr. Shazia also added that fetal echo tests available at AKUH could help detect any heart anomalies in the baby as well. Both agreed that having an obstetrician specializing in women's cardiac health was crucial to the pregnant mother.</p><p>A question from a patient in Lahore lead to Shahroze Vidani advocating for the benefits of a tele clinic. A safe and effective way of providing care for patients in other cities all over Pakistan. She also talked about the successful cardiac rehabilitation program at AKUH that follows up on patient concerns. The discharge teaching by nurses is a crucial element of a cardiac patient's recovery. </p><p>Dr. Yawer further added to her comment that quality care was guaranteed at AKUH for all and welfare and zakat was available for deserving patients without any compromise in standard of care.</p><p>The session ended with the panelists concluding unanimously not to delay heart health screenings and to take cardiac health seriously.
</p><p>The full session can be viewed <a href="https://www.facebook.com/AKUHPakistan/videos/2660300210953856">here</a>