MANILA – Heart failure or the condition where the heart is unable to pump blood properly can be treated with the advances in medications and diagnostics, a health expert said Wednesday.
In an online discussion, Philippine Heart Association (PHA) Communications Committee co-chair Dr. Luigi Pierre Segundo described heart failure as a cardiovascular disease (CVD), a silent killer among Filipinos, and its victims are getting younger.
The Department of Health earlier noted that CVDs remain to be the leading cause of mortality nationwide, accounting for a third of the total deaths in 2021.
About 36 percent of Filipinos aged 20 years old and above are obese and 20 percent are smokers.
Moreover, about 50 percent to 53 percent of those between 20 years and 59 years are binge drinkers, and 40 percent are physically inactive.
Segundo noted that heart failure could be caused by heavy alcohol or drug use, high blood pressure, heart rhythm disorders, valve problems, heart attack, congenital heart problems, and sleep apnea.
Cardiologist Rochelle Regina Cruz said its symptoms include breathlessness, tiredness, edema or swelling, and palpitation.
“’Yung puso po natin ay hindi na makapagbomba o makatibok ng sapat na dugo na may oxygen para suplayan ang iba’t ibang organs (Our heart can no longer pump enough blood with oxygen to supply the different organs),” Cruz said.
“Ang dugo dapat palabas ng puso ang direksyon ay bumabalik sa pinaggalingan, 'yung baga natin, kaya nagkakaroon ng tubig ang baga natin, nalulunod sa tubig kaya hinihingal at namamanas (The blood, which must flow in an outward direction, goes back to the source, the lungs, resulting in water in the lungs, hence the breathlessness and swelling).”
Heart failure, including its type and severity, could be detected through 2D echocardiogram or heart ultrasound.
Once diagnosed, patients with heart failure may undergo cardiac rehabilitation for treatment.
In this treatment, patients perform physical exercises under the supervision of nurses, physical therapists, and doctors who monitor their blood pressure, heart, and symptoms.
“Napatunayan na humahaba ang buhay ng mga pasiyente, hindi sila naa-admit, nababawasan ang hingal at mga ibang sintomas (It is proven that patients live longer. They are not admitted in hospitals. Breathlessness and other symptoms are reduced),” Cruz said.
She added that the treatment helps with depression as patients could socialize with other patients during the sessions.
Because not all hospitals nationwide have facilities offering cardiac rehabilitation, the PHA, through the National Heart Failure Network, established an initiative providing access or connections to specialists, hospitals, and institutions with facilities and technology for treating heart failure patients.
“These are PHA-accredited training institutions. Currently, there (are) 21 in the country. Kami po, nage-espesiyalista sa puso, guided po kame ng mga mentors na cardiologists (We, heart specialists, we’re guided by our mentors who are cardiologists),” Segundo said.
These institutions include the Angeles University Foundation Medical Center, Asian Hospital and Medical Center, Capitol Medical Center, Cardinal Santos Medical Center, Chinese General Hospital, Chong Hua Hospital, De La Salle Medical Center, Makati Medical Center, Manila Doctors Hospital, ManilaMed-Manila Medical Center, Mary Mediatrix Medical Hospital, Perpetual Help Medical Center - Las Piñas, Perpetual Succour Hospital, Philippine General Hospital, Philippine Heart Center, Southern Philippines Medical Center, St. Luke’s Medical Center - Bonifacio Global City, St. Luke’s Medical Center - Quezon City, The Medical City, University of Perpetual Help Dalta Medical Center, University of Santo Tomas Hospital, and Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center. (PNA)