Heart surgery is highly specialized, complex surgery. It can only be performed by trained heart surgeons. Here, we talk about how heart surgeons differ from cardiologists, how heart surgery is performed and how you can expect to recover after heart surgery.
Getting sufficient sleep is pivotal to health and wellbeing. But 4 in 10 Singaporeans report experiencing sleeping difficulty, and more recently 1 in 6. say they aren’t sleeping due to worries about Covid-19.
Singapore is renowned for its excellence in healthcare. In fact, it is one of the top ‘healthcare tourism’ destinations in the world. Every year, half a million tourists visit Singapore for medical treatment alone, with half of those coming from Indonesia. Whether you are a native Singaporean, or are coming to Singapore for heart treatment, it’s important that you know what to expect and where to find the very best heart surgeons and cardiologists.
The heart is a vital organ and its health is central to our overall well being. It’s therefore alarming to see so many myths are being peddled (and believed) about the best ways to keep the heart healthy.
You are never too old, or too young, to care about your heart health. The most simple changes can improve the wellness of your heart and cardiovascular system, and might even save your life one day. One thing you can do for yourself is access comprehensive cardiac screening, which will give you a transparent view of your current heart health and help you better understand any lifestyle changes you need to make.
As a society, we are especially concerned about our outward health. By that, we mean the way our bodies look to others, the tone of our muscles, the quality of our skin and the whiteness of our teeth. But how often do we stop and think about the most important muscle of all - the heart!
There are many fantastic cardiologists working across Singapore. When it comes to your heart health, you should never settle for less than the best, and make sure you have explored all the options open to you.
There are fewer things more important than your heart health. But often, signs and symptoms of a cardiological problem can go unnoticed or overlooked. If you suspect you have a problem, it is crucial to see a trained, professional cardiologist in Singapore as soon as possible.
Heart specialists are not general doctors. They have specialized and extensive education and training to study internal medicine and the heart. They diagnose, manage and treat heart conditions resulting in better patient outcomes.
One of the leading cardiovascular diseases that take a toll on health globally is heart failure. According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 6 million American adults are diagnosed with heart failure. In Singapore, heart failure is common, affecting 1 in 20 Singaporeans.
Symptomatic heart palpitations are incredibly common. While they are usually nothing to worry about, pounding and irregular heartbeats can indicate a serious heart condition in some cases. If you experience heart palpitations, you should get yourself checked by a cardiologist.
Angiography is a broad term used to acquire anatomical and structural images of the vascular system, including the coronary arteries, using X-rays. The imaging procedure provides both anatomical and functional assessment of the heart and its surrounding structures. A Coronary angiogram is the gold standard test to look for blockages in the heart arteries.
According to the World Health Organization, cardiovascular diseases (heart attacks and strokes) are the primary cause of increasing deaths worldwide. Figures show that a quarter of patients who experience myocardial infarction display no clinical manifestations. The CT Coronary Calcium score, can help predict cardiovascular events and prevent death. It is a simple test that calculates the amount of calcium in your heart arteries. More calcium equals more coronary artery disease.
Coronary artery disease is incredibly common and unfortunately causes 1 in 3 deaths. One of the treatments for severe coronary artery disease is to undergo a coronary artery bypass graft (CABG). This surgery bypasses the blockages in the heart arteries allowing you to return to a more normal way of life.
Our clinic has recently seen a number of healthy patients, mostly teenagers and young men, who started to describe symptoms such as chest discomfort, laboured breathing and palpitations (the sense that their heartbeat is abnormal) several days after administration of the 1st or 2nd dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech and the Moderna mRNA–based lipid nanoparticle vaccines.
Despite having a “terribly sweet tooth”, heart doctor Michael MacDonald tries to avoid consuming too many sweet and sugary treats for health’s sake. Once a week though, the 44-year-old who professes to be a “big fan of chocolate” permits himself a small bar of dark chocolate.
Many different types of heart disease can be inherited. Common conditions such as high blood pressure and coronary artery disease blood certainly run in families but likely result from a number of different genetic changes that individually have a subtle effect, but work collectively in a complex manner and influenced by other modifiable risks (including smoking, diabetes, cholesterol metabolism) to cause disease. In these situations, genetic testing is not yet available.
Do you wake up in the night short of breath? Does your spouse complain about your snoring, or worse, say your breathing stops in the night? Does it seem like you can never get a full, restful night of sleep? All of these may be indications that you have sleep apnea. This condition can cause all kinds of unpleasant side effects, and being sleep deprived is just the beginning. Suffering from untreated sleep apnea can also lead to an increased risk of heart disease. So, what is sleep apnea, how is it linked to heart health, and what should you do if you have symptoms?
There has been a lot of stir in the media and medical communities lately regarding the Body Mass Index Scale (BMI). Some professionals and public members hold it up as a gold standard measurement of health, while others shout about its uselessness. So which is it? Is the BMI scale a good measure of overall health, or should it be replaced?
Felling your heart beat abnormally is an unnerving sensation. You may be tempted to make an appointment with your doctor immediately. If you have other alarming symptoms, this might be a good idea, but if this is your first time experiencing a palpitation, it may be nothing. Heart palpitations can be caused by something as simple as drinking too much coffee, but it can also be a sign of a severe health concern. The following article will give you information on the causes of heart palpitations and if yours could be caused by stress or a more serious heart condition.
One of the most common answers a doctor will give you on any health-related questions is this: Diet and exercise. The key to increasing your heart health is just that - eat better and work out. However, it can be hard to pick up a new exercise routine if you don’t know where to start. Similarly, changing the way you’ve been eating for years can be just as much of a challenge. We understand how difficult lifestyle changes can be, so we’ve put together a few simple things you can do to start improving your heart health.
Going to see any new doctor can be a nerve-wracking experience. Heart problems are a leading cause of death in many places, making heart health of utmost importance. If you have a problem with your heart or a family history of heart-related issues, the sense of agitation can be even worse when seeing a cardiologist for the first time.
If we are honest with ourselves, most of us have probably seen some blood in our stools or on their toilet paper after wiping...! In this episode of Harley Street Health Dr Michael MacDonald talks to an expert on the bowel Dr Tan Wah Siew. She is a Colorectal Surgeon in Singapore. We talk about what you should do when you see blood, and when you need to see a doctor. We go through what your colorectal specialist will do during your visit and discuss the common causes of blood in the stools.
Varicose veins will affect a lot of us as we get older. They can be both painful, cosmetically unsatisfactory, and create other medical issues. In Harley Street Health Episode 6, Dr Michael MacDonald chats with our very own Senior Vascular Surgeon, Dr. Sriram Narayanan, about everything varicose veins. We discuss why we get them, and what we can do about them. Including invasive and non-invasive techniques to deal with them.
Your heart rate can vary depending on several factors. What you’ve been doing, what you’ve been eating, how much you weigh, your emotions and many other things can all affect how fast your heart beats. That being said, there are ways to tell what a reasonable heart rate is for you whether you are at rest or exercising. Read on to discover how to measure your heart rate, what regular heart rates are for different demographics, and what to do if yours is outside the normal range.
Cardiovascular disease is one of the top causes of death in much of the developed world. Both cardiologists and cardiac surgeons (also referred to as cardiothoracic surgeons) lead the fight against this deadly threat. While both professions are concerned with treatments of heart conditions, there are some critical differences between the two related fields. Both start their journeys by attending higher education programs that teach the building blocks of medicine, but that is where the similarities end. After a few years of medical education, their training diverges, the duties they perform differ, and their specialties can vary greatly.
Gallstones are super common and lead to a lot of discomfort. They cause abdominal pain, back pain and nausea/vomiting. In this episode of Harley Street Health Dr Michael MacDonald talks to Dr Lee Ser Yee, a consultant hepatopancreatobiliary surgeon and all-round gallstone/liver expert about what causes them and what you can do about them. We take a look at the risk factors for gallstones, how they are investigated and different surgical and non-surgical treatments including the use of minimally-invasive surgery.
A form of arthritis, gout is caused by a buildup of uric acid, which occurs when the body contains too much purine. Purine is produced in the body naturally, but it is also present in many foods. The extra uric acid forms crystals around joints, especially in the big toes (although other joints are also often affected). It causes pain, which is sometimes intense, swelling, redness, stiffness, or any combination of these symptoms. It is wholly unpleasant, even in small flare-ups, but you can follow some dietary rules to lessen the number of flares and their severity.
Lipoprotein (a) [Lp (a)] is a low density lipoprotein (LDL) particle with an added apolipoprotein(a), which is bound covalently to the apoB contained in the outer shell of the particle. It is made in the liver and measured in the blood plasma.
There are tons of great things passed down through families: heirlooms, recipes, pictures, and memories. Still, many things are less pleasant that are passed through family lines - one of these things is a higher risk for heart disease. If one or both of your parents have had a heart attack, you may be at risk for suffering the same fate, as it can indicate a strong family history of being genetically prone to heart attacks. It is by no means set in stone, but you should look into factors that may run in your family and take steps to promote a heart-healthy lifestyle.
We all know that exercising too little, or not at all, can lead to several serious health issues. In the Covid-19 age, many of us are dusting off the treadmill, buying weights online, and breaking out the old running shoes. While exercising is a good practice that can improve your overall health, strengthen your body, and help ease mental health, there is such a thing as too much exercise. So how can you tell if your workout routine is too harsh?
Keeping a regular workout routine is one of the best ways to improve your heart health. If that isn't reason enough to get your sweat on, it can also help you to lose weight, maintain a healthy weight, increase strength and lung capacity, and even improve your mental health - The list goes on and on!
Is red wine actually good for the heart? The short answer is yes - and no. It depends very much on your personal and familial health history, among other matters. This article will give you a good idea of the risks and rewards of red wine on heart health, but before going out to buy a bottle for health reasons, consult a medical professional. You should not start drinking red wine for health benefits without discussing it with your doctor, but if you already enjoy an occasional glass with your dinner, you may be at reduced risk for some heart-related health issues.
When people get chest pain they often immediately think of their heart. Heart causes of chest pain are the most important to diagnose, so it’s important if you do have chest pain that you come for assessment so we can reach the correct diagnosis, but are all chest pains a result of heart disease? NO!
Chances are, you have probably heard about the Mediterranean Diet, either in the media or from friends and family. But what is it exactly? It is more of a style of eating than a traditional diet, and top health experts from around the world sing its praise. One of the reasons for this praise is that it is one of the only diets shown to reduce heart attack and stroke in clinical trials (PREDIMED study). The following article will explain the Mediterranean diet, the health benefits of this eating style, and suggestions on following it.
Breathlessness is super common! 25% of patients seen by doctors in the clinic are there because of breathlessness. The medical term for it is dyspnea. Breathlessness or shortness of breath is a common clinical manifestation of many underlying conditions.
High blood pressure (also called hypertension) is often described as a silent killer because it has no obvious symptoms. Patients usually have no idea they have high blood pressure. Hypertension slowly works in the background, damaging your arteries in silence! This condition is considered one of the major public health challenges of the modern era and is linked with serious health issues such as heart attack, heart failure, and stroke.
We all have friends and family with diabetes. Diabetes is now at epidemic levels and leads to major issues like heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure and blindness. In this episode of Harley Street Health Dr Michael MacDonald has a chat with consultant endocrinologist Dr Daniel Wai about everything diabetes!
All the different terms for heart disease can be really confusing.....heart attacks, heart failure, coronary artery disease.... In this podcast episode, Cardiologist Dr Michael MacDonald discusses the differences. The primary process that leads to a lot of heart disease is called atherosclerosis. Lipid rich plaques form in the walls of the coronary arteries. When these plaques get inflamed, they can rupture, and a clot can form in the coronary artery, stopping blood flow to the heart muscle. This is called a heart attack (or myocardial infarction). This process can cause sudden death and damage to the heart muscle.
Pelvic congestion syndrome is a remarkably common cause of chronic pelvic pain in women, but it is incredibly underdiagnosed. In this video Dr Michael MacDonald interviews Dr Sriram Narayanan, a senior consultant vascular surgeon at the Harley Street Heart & Vascular Centre, Singapore. Dr Ram talks about how PCS is caused, how to investigate it, and how to manage the condition
The first episode of the Harley Street Health Series. In this video Dr Reginald Liew and Dr Michael MacDonald discuss the common symptom of palpitations. What are palpitations? What are they caused by? How can you treat them? What lifestyle changes can make the difference?
In this video Dr Michael MacDonald (Singapore Cardiologist) explains how most people feel when they have high blood pressure. The simple fact of the matter is that high blood pressure is also called "The Silent Killer" for good reason. Most people have no symptoms whatsoever! High blood pressure slowly damages your blood vessels all over your body leading to heart attacks, kidney failure, strokes and death.
Your doctor's told you you have high cholesterol! You will be at a higher risk of heart attack and stroke. So what can YOU do about it?? The first thing to do is take the cholesterol-lowering medication if your doctor has recommended it. But that's not all. There are simple dietary tricks you can do to lower your cholesterol naturally. In this video I explain the 5 most effective, scientifically proven techniques to bring your cholesterol down. This includes the single most important supplement that has been proven to work.
High cholesterol leads to premature blockages in the heart arteries, heart attacks and strokes. But how do you know if you have high cholesterol? What are the symptoms? The answer is that the majority of people have no symptoms at all until they have a heart attack or a stroke! High cholesterol works in the background causing atherosclerosis, slowly furring up the arteries all over the body. The only way to know if you have it is to get a blood cholesterol check by your doctor.
Swelling of the legs, breathlessness and tiredness are some of the common symptoms of a condition called heart failure. Heart failure is increasingly common, and is caused by common conditions like high blood pressure, coronary artery disease and diabetes. There are lots that can be done to treat it, but the first step is getting it diagnosed. If you have any of the above symptoms you should visit your doctor to get assessed.
How many of you have tried a diet, lost some weight, then a few months later you are back to square one?! You are not alone. Studies show us that most people that try a diet have put that weight almost completely back on within 1-2 years. But why is that? Why is it so difficult to keep weight off long-term? What is the best way to lose weight and keep it off? In this educational video, I explain how your body tries to keep you at your current weight and why short terms diets don't work in the long term. I will also explain the techniques needed to sustain weight loss long-term and improve your overall wellness.
What is the difference between a cardiologist and a cardiac surgeon? Both specialties are involved in managing patients with heart problems, but they do very different things. A cardiologist diagnoses and treats conditions of the heart and blood vessels usually with medication and sometimes with minimally invasive techniques like angioplasty. Some conditions cannot be dealt with in this way and this is when a cardiac surgeon steps in. A cardiac surgeon often performs major surgery where the patient is given a general anesthetic and their chest is opened up to access the heart. Cardiac surgeons do operations like valve replacements and coronary artery bypass grafting.
It can be scary when you have to visit a cardiologist for the first time. Worrying about what they will do and what they might find. Don't worry! It's really not that scary. In this video I talk you through what happens at a first visit and what tests you can expect. It will always start with a conversation about your symptoms and background history followed by an examination of the heart. After this you will most likely get an ECG and a number of other tests depending on your symptoms.
There has been a lot published in the media about the relationship between COVID-19 and hypertension (high blood pressure). In this video Singapore cardiologist Dr Michael MacDonald goes over the available data on COVID and high blood pressure and offers practical advice on how to manage hypertension during this pandemic.
Have you ever wondered what a heart screening is? Singapore Cardiologist Dr Michael MacDonald walks you through what commonly happens when you visit your doctor to get a heart checkup. He will tell you what tests are most important and why your doctor might order them.
High density lipoproteins are important for the transport of cholesterol (collectively known as HDL-C) to the liver for breakdown and removal. In clinical practice, HDL cholesterol, rather than HDL particle structure or function, is used to risk stratify patients. Because these molecules transport cholesterol away from the arteries to the liver, HDL-C is commonly viewed as 'good' cholesterol and has been associated with reduced risk of coronary heart disease.
Has your partner ever said you snore? Have they ever mentioned that you sometimes stop breathing when you sleep? If so, you may have sleep apnea, a potentially serious sleep disorder that can have significant consequences for the heart and arteries.
We know that having a high cholesterol is associated with heart attacks, strokes and death (cardiovascular disease) and that lowering cholesterol with medications called statins is an effective way to lower your risk of disease.
When your body perceives a threat, it increases the production of stress hormones like adrenaline that alter the way multiple systems in your body function i.e. digestion and immune systems. When the threat diminishes the hormone levels return to normal.
The stress response is a normal physiological response to help you deal with threats. When your body perceives a threat, it increases the production of cortisol and adrenaline. Cortisol raises your blood sugar and adrenaline elevates your heart rate and blood pressure. They are complex hormones that combine to alter the way multiple systems in your body function i.e. digestion and immune systems. When the threat diminishes the hormone levels return to normal.
What is a Light Reflex Rheography or LRR? Light reflex Rheography is a refined form of Photo-Plethysmography (PPG). This method is a non-invasive examination which measures the venous blood flow in the lower legs using infrared light, to evaluate the function of venous valves and the effectiveness of venous muscle pump. Venous blood volume changes...
Hypertension or high blood pressure is common among Singaporeans. The Health Promotion Board reports that 1 out of 2 Singaporeans aged 60-69 have high blood pressure. While it is a common condition, high blood pressure rarely causes any symptoms - in many cases, you would not know that your blood pressure has already risen to a dangerous...
We've always been told that engaging in regular exercises like walking, running, or swimming gives us a healthier heart. But do you know that over-exercising may also over-work your heart and increase your chances of having heart disease? A fast heart rate of over 100 beats per minute can make you lose your breath and...
While the classic symptoms of a heart attack, such as chest pain and discomfort in the left arm, are common for men, symptoms in women are less well-defined and may even be silent. Over the years, we have seen many female patients that had suffered from a minor heart attack without even knowing it. Some...
There is nothing more painful than losing a loved one to sudden death due to heart attack, cardiac arrest or stroke. These cardiovascular diseases all find their root cause in coronary artery disease, which you could develop when your heart artery is blocked with fatty plaques. Thankfully, seeing your cardiologist in Singapore for regular cardiac...
What is Dobutamine Stress Echocardiography? Echocardiography uses ultrasound waves (high-frequency sound waves) to assess the motion of heart muscle and bood vessels. Dobutamine stress echocardiography (DSE) is a non-exercise stress test that allows the cardiologist to study the capacity and reserve of heart muscle function under stressful condition. Dobutamine, a cardiac medication, is infused through...
What is Exercise Stress Echocardiography? Echocardiography uses ultrasound waves (high-frequency sound waves) to assess the motion of heart muscle and blood vessels. Exercise Stress echocardiography (ESE) is an exercise stress test that allows the cardiologist to study the capacity and reserve of heart muscle function under stressful condition. You need to exercise on Treadmill machine...
The hot searing pain you are experiencing in your chest might just be a heart burn, but what if the pain in your chest is telling you that your heart is in trouble instead? Here are some common signs of heart-related chest pain and why heart surgery may be necessary to help alleviate it. Common...
A healthy heart functions in such a way that it pumps blood sufficiently and enables blood to flow from the heart chambers into the other organs of the body. Unfortunately, leaks can sometimes develop in the heart valves, impairing the forward flow of blood. Leaky heart valves, such as mitral regurgitation, cause blood to flow...
It comes without warning; it kills within minutes. No wonder, Sudden Cardiac Death or SCD has been called the widow maker's disease. In Singapore, about 1000 women lose their husbands to SCD yearly. According to the National Heart Centre Singapore, about 90% of SCD occurs in males aged around 47 years old. Whereas for females...
Heart attack is the second most common cause of death in Singapore, and the third most common reason for hospital admission. According to the Ministry of Health, 261 patients were admitted to the National Heart Centre for open heart surgery (coronary artery bypass graft) from 1 May 2014 to 30 April 2015. 67 patients were...
For many people with a coronary artery disease, the Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery, a heart surgery that removes blocked artery and replaces it with a healthy artery, serves as a much-needed lifeline. Many patients experience improved quality of life after a CABG. The effectiveness of the surgery depends on a lot of factors, including post-surgery...
Catheter ablation is a procedure that uses radiofrequency heat (similar to microwave heat) to destroy abnormal heart tissue that causes irregular and rapid heartbeats known as cardiac arrhythmias. As your cardiologist would explain, cardiac arrhythmias can cause shortness of breath, weakness and fainting as a result of your heart's failure to effectively pump blood. While medications...
While it's no secret that heart attack occurs without any warning, most people who have had a heart attack confess to one thing: They knew they were at risk, but they either denied or ignored it. Seeing your cardiologist in Singapore for regular heart checks is a good first step towards prevention as long ...
Heart attack is the second most common cause of death in Singapore. Heart attack occurs when the coronary artery supplying blood to the heart becomes hardened or blocked, subsequently cutting the oxygen supply to the heart. The part of the heart muscle that is oxygen-starved begins to die, resulting in heart attack. As your cardiologist...
When your heart is not able to pump enough blood to supply much needed oxygen and nutrients to your body's organs and tissues, the condition is known as heart failure. In most people, heart failure is a chronic disease that has no cure. If you have been diagnosed with chronic heart failure, seeing your cardiologist will...
The heart of a healthy adult beats from 60 to 100 times a minute at rest. As your cardiologist would explain, abnormal heart rhythms, also known as arrhythmia, may cause the heart to beat too fast, too slow or erratically. When this happens, the heart is not able to pump blood effectively, therefore, affecting its...
Many of you may not heed your doctor's advice to start having a healthy lifestyle until you are diagnosed with cardiovascular disease. As your cardiologist in Singapore would explain, managing risk factors (such as high blood pressure and high total cholesterol) is crucial to preventing cardiovascular diseases. Seeing your cardiologist in Singapore for proactive screening is...
According to the Singapore Heart Foundation, 15 people die from cardiovascular disease (heart attack and stroke) every day. This accounts for nearly 1 out of 3 deaths in Singapore. As your cardiologist in Singapore will explain, heart attack is a silent killer and many first attacks are fatal or permanently disabling. Because of this, early prevention...
Your chest starts to tighten; you find it hard to breathe. You feel your heart racing fast, and suddenly you are nauseated and start to collapse. You could be having a mild stroke or a heart attack and need to be rushed to the ER. Heart attack results from coronary artery disease, a condition where...
Many people who suffer from congenital and coronary heart diseases owe their second life to heart surgery and other heart procedures. In Singapore, more than 500 heart surgeries were performed in 2011, according to the National University Heart Centre. This number is seen to rise as many patients who had been operated on in infancy...
Stroke and heart attack are two dreaded consequences of coronary artery disease (CAD), which occurs when fatty plaques clog up your coronary arteries. Eating fatty and cholesterol-laden foods is seen as the main reason for fatty plaques to build up in your arteries. Because fatty plaques build up overtime, you may not experience symptoms until...
Dr Reginald Liew talks about what are palpitations and what are the causes of it. He will also talk about different types of heart rhythm problems, how to detect them and the various treatment options available.
Have you given your heart a check lately? According to the Ministry of Health, 15 people die from cardiovascular disease everyday in Singapore. This means that 1 out of 3 deaths in the country are caused by a heart disease or stroke. As with many other diseases, keeping your heart healthy is an important defence...
Regular exercise of moderate intensity is widely encouraged to reduce one's long term risk of heart disease. The incidence of sudden cardiac death of an athlete is a rare tragedy that is related to the increased risk associated with strenuous exercise in the presence of a quiescent cardiac abnormality. Pre-exercise cardiac screening for individuals participating...