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Science
CASE NOTES
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Tuesday 21:00-21:30
Repeat Wednesday 16:30
Dr Mark Porter gives listeners the low-down on what the medical profession does and doesn't know. Each week an expert in the studio tackles a particular topic and there are reports from around the UK on the health of the nation - and the NHS.
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LISTEN AGAINListen 30 min
Listen to 17th January
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DR MARK PORTER
Dr Mark Porter
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Tuesday 17th January 2006
heart

Full programme transcript >>

Heart Failure

It's estimated that just under a million people aged 45 and over suffer from heart failure and its prevalence rises steeply with age.

It occurs when the heart is unable to pump enough blood to meet the demands of the body.

Long regarded as the "cinderella of cardiac disease" it's now the most rapidly rising cardiac condition in the UK 's aging population.

In this edition of Case Notes Dr Mark Porter discusses this chronic (long-term) condition, whose typical symptoms include breathlessness, swollen ankles and feet, and extreme tiredness.

He's joined in the studio by cardiologist Dr Martin Thomas for the latest insights into the condition and its causes.

Dr Thomas will also discuss the growing number of treatments available that can alleviate symptoms and improve a patient's quality of life.

Diagnosis
How can you ensure an accurate diagnosis?

Heart failure can manifest itself in many different ways - and as Dr Rachael James of the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton shows, the definitive examination is an echocardiogram.

New 3D technology can now build up a real time detailed image of the heart to show the extent to which the heart is pumping abnormally.

It can then accurately assess the severity of a heart condition.

Exercise
The main treatments are drugs but new evidence is emerging that exercise can play a role in rehabilitation amongst patients with heart failure.

We hear from Dr Malcolm Walker of The London Heart Hospital who is devising exercise programmes for heart failure patients who, over a 12-week period, are achieving dramatic improvements in symptoms.

A new pacemaker
Whilst the condition appears irreversible, a new electrical pacing method - cardiac resynchronisation therapy - to correct the abnormal electrical activity of a failing heart, enables the heart to pump more efficiently and improve the patient's quality of life.

Mark meets Dr David Hildick Smith of Brighton's Royal Sussex County Hospital as he performs this new procedure.
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