Cardiac Amyloidosis team (left to right): Dr. Saul Miller, Dr. Natalie Ho, Dr. Kibar Yared, Margo Wells RN, Violeta Pala RN
Not pictured: Dr. Nisha D’mello
A cardiac diagnosis can be scary for anyone, especially if the diagnosis is uncommon or unknown to the patient. Cardiologists at Scarborough Health Network (SHN) are once again pushing the boundaries to ensure that patients have access to lifesaving care by opening a new, specialized Cardiac Amyloidosis Clinic right here in Scarborough.
The clinic, which opened earlier this month and will operate regularly out of the General hospital, will provide local expertise and diagnostic testing to enhance early detection and diagnosis of cardiac amyloidosis (CA), the most typical type of restrictive heart disease that often results in heart failure.
“For many patients, diagnosis and management of cardiac amyloidosis isn’t available in their community and requires them to travel far to the downtown hospitals,” explained Dr. Natalie Ho, SHN cardiologist and founder of the Cardiac Amyloidosis Clinic. “This clinic brings specialized, high quality care directly into Scarborough.”
Cardiac amyloidosis is a life threatening infiltrative disease, which occurs when clumps of proteins, known as amyloid deposits, deposit around normal heart muscle and cause the heart to become stiff. CA may affect how electrical signals move through the heart, which can lead to abnormal heartbeats (arrhythmias) and faulty heart signals (heart block).
Many CA patients present similar to heart failure patients, however CA has some subtle differences and doesn’t respond well to classic heart failure medications. Individuals with symptoms, including a history of prior carpel tunnel syndrome along with shortness of breath and/or leg swelling, should visit their doctor.
“Cardiac amyloidosis can masquerade as other common heart diseases, like heart failure or valve disease,” added Dr. Kibar Yared, SHN cardiologist. “Diagnoses are often made when the disease has already progressed to an advanced stage, which is something we’re trying to change through early detection and treatment.”
This unique clinic will expand the already vast cardiac services provided by SHN and will advance the advanced cardiac care for the Scarborough community. For more information on cardiac care at SHN, visit www.shn.ca/cardiac.