Complete Atrioventricular Canal Defect (CAVC)

Complete atrioventricular canal defect (CAVC) is a rare congenital heart condition that occurs when there is a hole in the centre of the heart that affects the atria and ventricles. This condition is also known as an atrioventricular septal defect (AVSD), and it can cause a range of serious health problems if left untreated.

In a normal heart, there is a wall (septum) between the two atria and another wall between the two ventricles. These walls prevent the mixing of oxygen-rich and oxygen-poor blood. In CAVC, these walls are missing, and a large hole exists between the atria and ventricles. As a result, oxygen-rich blood mixes with oxygen-poor blood, leading to reduced oxygen levels in the body and heart failure over time.

Diagnosis of CAVC

CAVC is typically diagnosed in infancy or early childhood. Infants with CAVC may experience symptoms such as difficulty breathing, rapid breathing, and feeding difficulties. In some cases, babies with CAVC may also have low oxygen levels, which can cause a bluish tint to the skin (cyanosis).

The diagnosis of CAVC is usually confirmed through diagnostic tests such as an echocardiogram, which uses ultrasound waves to create images of the heart. Other tests that may be performed include an electrocardiogram (ECG) to evaluate the heart’s electrical activity and a chest X-ray to check for signs of heart enlargement.


Treatment for CAVC usually involves surgery to close the hole in the heart and reconstruct the affected valves. This type of surgery is typically done in early infancy or early childhood, depending on the severity of the condition. In some cases, medication may be prescribed to manage symptoms such as heart failure or to prevent complications such as infection.

Long-term outlook

The long-term outlook for children with CAVC depends on the severity of the defect and the timing of treatment. In general, children who receive timely and appropriate treatment have a good prognosis and can live normal, healthy lives. However, in severe cases, CAVC can lead to heart failure, pulmonary hypertension, and other serious complications.

In addition to medical treatment, children with CAVC may require ongoing monitoring and care throughout their lives. This may include regular check-ups with a pediatric cardiologist, medication management, and follow-up diagnostic tests such as echocardiograms.


Complete atrioventricular canal defect is a rare but serious congenital heart condition that affects the atria and ventricles of the heart. Early diagnosis and appropriate treatment are crucial for managing the condition and preventing complications. If you suspect your child may have CAVC, it is important to seek medical attention promptly to ensure the best possible outcome.

How Positron Emission Tomography (PET) Scan Works?

Positron emission tomography (PET) is a medical imaging technique that produces detailed images of the inside of the body. It is used to diagnose and monitor various medical conditions, including cancer, heart disease, and neurological disorders.

What is a PET scan?

A PET scan is a type of medical imaging that uses a small amount of a radioactive substance, called a tracer, to produce images of the inside of the body. The tracer is injected into the body, swallowed, or inhaled, and then detected by a PET scanner. The PET scanner is a large machine that contains a ring of detectors that can detect the radiation emitted by the tracer.

How does a PET scan work?

The tracer used in a PET scan is typically a compound that contains a small amount of a radioactive substance, such as fluorine-18 or carbon-11. These radioactive substances emit positrons, which are positively charged particles that are the opposite of electrons. When a positron encounters an electron in the body, they annihilate each other and emit two gamma rays in opposite directions.

The PET scanner detects the gamma rays and uses them to create a three-dimensional image of the area being scanned. The scanner can detect the gamma rays from multiple angles, which allows it to create a detailed image of the area.

What happens during a PET scan?

Before the PET scan, the patient is injected with the tracer. The tracer is typically injected into a vein in the arm, but it can also be swallowed or inhaled, depending on the type of scan being done.

After the tracer is injected, the patient is asked to rest for a period of time to allow the tracer to circulate through the body. The amount of time the patient needs to rest depends on the type of scan being done and the tracer being used.

Once the tracer has circulated through the body, the patient is taken to the PET scanner. The scanner is a large machine with a narrow table that slides in and out of the machine.

The patient lies on the table, and the scanner is positioned over the area being scanned. The patient needs to remain still during the scan to ensure the images are clear.

The scanner emits a small amount of radiation to detect the tracer in the body. The patient will not feel anything during the scan, but they may hear a clicking or buzzing sound coming from the machine.

After the scan is complete, the patient can go home. The amount of radiation in the tracer is small, and it typically does not pose a health risk.

What are the uses of PET scans?

PET scans are used to diagnose and monitor a variety of medical conditions, including:

  1. Cancer: PET scans can help to diagnose cancer and determine the extent of the disease. They can also be used to monitor the effectiveness of cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy.
  2. Heart disease: PET scans can be used to diagnose heart disease and determine the extent of damage to the heart muscle. They can also be used to assess blood flow to the heart and to determine the effectiveness of treatments, such as angioplasty.
  3. Neurological disorders: PET scans can be used to diagnose and monitor neurological disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and epilepsy.
  4. Mental health disorders: PET scans can be used to study the brain and to diagnose and monitor mental health disorders, such as depression and schizophrenia.

What is Vasculitis?

Vasculitis is a medical condition that affects the blood vessels in the body, leading to inflammation and damage to these vital structures. The blood vessels affected by vasculitis can range from small capillaries to larger arteries, depending on the type of vasculitis. This damage to the blood vessels can cause a range of symptoms and health problems, including impaired blood flow, organ damage, and increased risk of infections and bleeding.

Types of Vasculitis

There are several different types of vasculitis, each with its own unique causes, symptoms, and treatment options. Some of the most common types of vasculitis include giant cell arteritis, Takayasu’s arteritis, and Wegener’s granulomatosis. These diseases can affect people of all ages, and can be caused by a variety of factors, including infections, autoimmune disorders, and exposure to certain medications or chemicals.


The symptoms of vasculitis can vary widely, depending on the type and severity of the disease, as well as the location of the affected blood vessels. Some common symptoms of vasculitis include fever, fatigue, weight loss, joint pain, skin rashes, and sores that do not heal. In severe cases, vasculitis can also cause organ damage, such as kidney failure, heart attack, or stroke.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Diagnosing vasculitis can be challenging, as the symptoms can be similar to other diseases and conditions. The process usually involves a thorough medical history, physical examination, blood tests, and imaging studies, such as MRI or CT scans. In some cases, a biopsy may be necessary to confirm the diagnosis.

Treatment for vasculitis depends on the type and severity of the disease, as well as the age and overall health of the patient. In many cases, treatment involves a combination of medications, such as corticosteroids and immunosuppressants, to reduce inflammation and prevent further damage to the blood vessels. These medications can be taken orally or intravenously, and may need to be taken for an extended period of time.

In severe cases of vasculitis, treatment may also involve other interventions, such as stents, surgery or radiation therapy. For example, if the vasculitis is causing a blockage in a major blood vessel, such as the aorta, surgery may be necessary to remove the blockage and restore normal blood flow.

Living with vasculitis

Living with vasculitis can be challenging, but with proper treatment and care, many people are able to manage their symptoms and lead healthy lives. It is important to consult a specialist and monitor your symptoms and medical condition regularly. This may include regular blood tests, imaging studies, and physical exams, as well as lifestyle changes, such as maintaining a healthy diet and getting regular exercise.


Vasculitis is a group of rare diseases characterized by inflammation and damage to the blood vessels in the body. The symptoms and treatment options can vary widely depending on the type and severity of the disease, but with proper care and management, many people are able to live active, healthy lives.

Coronary Microvascular Disease (CMD)

Coronary microvascular disease (CMD) is a condition that affects the small blood vessels in the heart. It is a common cause of chest pain and can also lead to heart failure. While CMD is often overlooked, it is a serious condition that can have significant consequences for people who have it.

How is CMD Caused?

CMD is caused by a blockage or damage to the small blood vessels in the heart, which can reduce blood flow to the heart muscle. This can cause chest pain, shortness of breath, and other symptoms. It can also lead to heart failure, in which the heart is unable to pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs.

CMD is often difficult to diagnose because the symptoms can be similar to those of other conditions such as angina or heart attack. In addition, traditional tests such as angiography may not be able to detect the blockages or damage in the small blood vessels. As a result, CMD may be misdiagnosed or go undiagnosed for some time.

Risk Factors

Risk factors for CMD include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and smoking. It is also more common in women and people with a family history of heart disease. These risk factors can damage the small blood vessels in the heart and lead to CMD.

Treatment of CMD

The good news is that CMD is a treatable condition. The first step in treatment is to manage any underlying risk factors such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol. This may involve lifestyle changes such as eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, and quitting smoking. In some cases, medications may be necessary to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels and improve blood flow to the heart.

In addition to managing risk factors, it is important to address any symptoms of CMD. This may involve the use of medications to manage chest pain and improve blood flow to the heart. In some cases, procedures such as angioplasty or stenting may be necessary to open blocked blood vessels.

It is important to regularly consult with the specialist who can develop a treatment plan to manage CMD. This may include regular check-ups, blood pressure monitoring, and medication management. By taking steps to manage CMD, patients can reduce their risk of heart failure and other serious complications.


CMD is a serious condition that affects the small blood vessels in the heart. It can cause chest pain and lead to heart failure if left untreated. Risk factors for CMD include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and smoking. Treatment may involve lifestyle changes and medications, and in some cases, procedures to open blocked blood vessels.

What is Pulmonary Valve Stenosis?

Pulmonary valve stenosis is a medical condition in which the pulmonary valve, which regulates blood flow from the right ventricle of the heart to the lungs, becomes narrowed or obstructed. This can lead to difficulty breathing and reduced oxygen levels in the blood, causing a range of symptoms and potentially serious health complications if left untreated.

Causes of Pulmonary Valve Stenosis

There are several potential causes of pulmonary valve stenosis. One common cause is congenital heart defects, which are present at birth and may be inherited or caused by environmental factors during pregnancy. Rheumatic fever, a condition that can develop as a complication of strep throat, can also lead to pulmonary valve stenosis. In rare cases, the valve may become narrowed or obstructed due to scarring or inflammation. In some cases, the cause of the stenosis is unknown.


Symptoms of pulmonary valve stenosis can vary depending on the severity of the condition. In mild cases, individuals may not experience any symptoms or may only have mild shortness of breath during physical activity. More severe cases may cause significant difficulty breathing, chest pain, fatigue, and fainting. In severe cases, the condition can also cause heart palpitations, swelling in the legs and ankles, and a bluish tint to the skin due to low oxygen levels.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Diagnosis of pulmonary valve stenosis typically begins with a physical exam and a review of the individual’s medical history. The doctor may also order several tests to confirm the diagnosis and assess the severity of the condition. These tests may include an echocardiogram, a chest X-ray, and an electrocardiogram.

There are several treatment options available for pulmonary valve stenosis, depending on the severity of the condition and the individual’s overall health. In mild cases, treatment may include medications to manage symptoms and reduce the risk of complications. These may include diuretics to reduce fluid build-up in the body and beta blockers to reduce the heart’s workload.

For more severe cases, surgery may be necessary to repair or replace the valve. Repair surgery involves making changes to the existing valve to improve its function, while valve replacement surgery involves replacing the faulty valve with a new one. There are several different types of valves that can be used in replacement surgery, including mechanical valves, which are made of man-made materials, and biological valves, which are made from animal tissue.

In some cases, a procedure called balloon valvuloplasty may be used to widen the narrowed valve. This procedure involves inserting a balloon catheter into the narrowed valve and inflating the balloon to widen the opening.

It is important for patients with pulmonary valve stenosis to work closely with their doctors to manage their condition and reduce the risk of complications. This may include regular check-ups and monitoring of symptoms, lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking and eating a healthy diet, and taking prescribed medications as directed.


Pulmonary valve stenosis is a serious condition that can have a significant impact on an individual’s quality of life. With proper treatment and management, however, it is possible to live a full and active life. It is important for individuals with the condition to stay in close communication with their doctors and follow their treatment plan to ensure the best possible outcomes.

Women and Heart Disease

It is generally considered that heart disease affects men more than women. However, coronary heart disease is a leading cause of death for both men and women, though the symptoms may be different for both. According to research, cardiovascular disease accounts for 1 in every 3 deaths around the world.

Women and men experience heart disease differently due to the differences in the respective cardiovascular system. For example, women have smaller heart chambers and blood vessels than men. They have lesser number of red blood cells and cannot take in as much oxygen as men. Sudden drop in blood pressure and fainting are more likely in women.

Oestrogen and progesterone hormones are dominant in women, while in men it is the testosterone hormone. These also impact heart health differently.

Identification of heart disease in women

In women symptoms of cardiovascular disease are generally noticed much later than in men. The most common symptom is chest pain or angina which may feel like heaviness, pressure, aching, numbness, squeezing, etc. 

Other symptoms usually observed include fatigue, breathlessness, heart palpitations, nausea, sudden sweating, etc. Anxiety, loss of appetite, frequent indigestion, intense headache and discomfort in the jaws or teeth, are other warning signs of a possible heart attack.

Women are also at higher risk for having a silent heart attack, that is an attack without any visible symptoms.

Hence, it is very essential to get medical help whenever any unusual symptoms are noticed to prevent the chances of heart attack.

Risk factors for heart disease in women

While risk factors like high cholesterol and high blood pressure affect both men and women, women face certain unique risks that affect them more. These include the following:

  • Obesity: During menopause women face greater risk of obesity and gaining abdominal fat which puts them at higher risk of heart disease.
  • High cholesterol: In women aged 65 and above, low level of HDL or good cholesterol is closely linked with death, more than in men.
  • Diabetes: Women with diabetes have a much greater risk of developing cardiovascular disease than men with diabetes.
  • Hypertension: Hypertension or high blood pressure has been found to be linked more closely with heart attacks in women than in men.
  • Family history: Instances of early heart disease in the family cause greater risk to women than men.  

Reducing the risk of heart disease

According to Dr. Ramji Mehrotra, it is very important to adopt a healthy lifestyle in order to reduce the risk of heart disease. A healthy diet with whole grains, vegetables and fruits must be consumed. Saturated fats and high amounts of salt and sugar must be avoided to maintain good health.

Regular exercise is a must, especially for women who are overweight, in order to reduce the risk of heart disease. Stress must be kept under control with meditation and yoga, as high levels of stress have been found to cause microvascular disease.

In addition, other health conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol should be managed by regular consultations with the medical practitioners.

By following the above guidelines, heart disease can be prevented in women and they can lead healthy lives.

Heart Attacks Are Becoming Common In Young People

Heart attacks, which were once called “old man’s disease”, are now occurring more frequently in younger people including women. It is increasing in people in the 20’s to 40’s age group. Presently, 1 out of every 5 heart attack patients is under the age of 40 years.

Hence, it is very important to take the required steps to protect one’s health and prevent cardiovascular disease and heart attacks.

Causes for Early Heart Attack

There are several factors that lead to heart attacks in young people. Generally, a heart attack results from a combination of factors and not just any one factor.

  • Diabetes: Diabetes is a key risk factor that can lead to blockages in coronary arteries which can cause an early heart attack. Adults with diabetes are 2 to 4 times more likely to be affected by heart disease than those without diabetes. High blood sugar can damage the blood vessels and increase the build-up of fats in the arteries thereby causing atherosclerosis.
  • Hypertension: Another major risk factor for cardiovascular disease is hypertension or high blood pressure. The occurrence of hypertension is increasing at a faster rate in the younger population than in the older people.
  • Obesity: Being obese or overweight can also increase the risk of heart attack. Excess weight not only puts a lot of strain on the heart but can lead to other health complications like diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol which affect heart health.
  • Stress and anxiety: Stress levels are increasing rapidly in today’s youth due to various reasons. Healthy ways of dealing with stress and anxiety such as proper sleep and relaxation of the mind are not being adopted. Chronic stress is not good for the body and can lead to hypertension and obesity which affect the heart health.
  • Sedentary lifestyle: Decreased physical activity coupled with a sedentary lifestyle also leads to an increase in cardiovascular diseases in young people. Sometimes too much of exercise is also not good for the heart. Excessive exercise, in cases where there is a per-existing un-diagnosed heart condition, can lead to a heart attack.
  • Unhealthy dietary habits: Unhealthy eating is on the rise among the young population.  Consumption of saturated and trans fats, found in deep-fried and oily foods, increases the risk of heart disease and other health problems. Taking a variety of health supplements without medical advice is also harmful and can lead to health issues.

Tips for Preventing Heart Attack in Young People

Dr. Ramji Mehrotra recommends that it is important to be physically active by exercising for at least 30 minutes every day. Cardio exercises such as brisk walking, jogging, cycling and swimming keep the heart in good shape. Yoga and meditation are also very helpful in reducing stress and anxiety levels.

Smoking as well as alcohol and tobacco consumption must be stopped completely. Salt intake must be reduced in the diet while nutritious food including fresh vegetables, fruit and whole grains must be consumed regularly.

If a person has high blood pressure, cholesterol or diabetes, it is essential to keep them under control by consulting a doctor regularly.

By adopting all the above suggestions, the incidence of heart attack in young people can be minimized, according to Dr. Mehrotra.

How Depression and Heart Disease are interlinked?

Depression and heart disease are two widespread diseases observed among the general public today. They often occur simultaneously within the same person. Many patients have been affected by depression after a heart attack, though they had no prior history of depression. Similarly, people with depression have been observed to develop heart diseases at a higher rate than normal persons.

It is natural for a patient to feel sad or depressed temporarily after a heart attack or cardiac surgery. The feelings of sadness generally go away after a few weeks as the patients adjust to a normal routine after recovery. However, if the depressed mood persists for a longer duration along with other symptoms it is necessary to take treatment.

Factors leading to depression

Depression is a medical illness that negatively affects how a patient feels, thinks, and behaves. It is caused by a combination of many factors like genetic, environmental, and psychological. Some of the major symptoms of depression include:

  • Feelings of sadness and hopelessness
  • Irritability over small matters
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Tiredness and lack of energy
  • Reduced appetite and weight loss
  • Anxiety and restlessness
  • Trouble in thinking, concentrating, and remembering

However, with proper diagnosis and treatment, it is possible to recover from depression and lead a normal life. Over a period of time, it can help to improve the patient’s overall health and decrease the risk of heart disease.

Effect of depression in patients with CVDs

Studies have shown that around 15 percent of patients with cardiovascular diseases experience depression. If not managed properly stress can lead to high blood pressure, damage to arteries and irregular heart rhythms. It can also increase adrenergic drive and other humoral changes  which are risk factors for cardiovascular disease. In many cases, depression leads to negative lifestyle habits like smoking, consumption of alcohol and poor diet, all of which could interfere with the heart disease treatment.

According to Dr Ramji Mehrotra, in patients with heart disease if depression is left untreated, it because of reasons enumerated above can increase the risk of heart attack and blood clots. 

Managing depression and heart disease

It is very important to take the right steps for managing depression and consequently reduce the risk of heart disease. Some of the lifestyle changes that can help to manage both depression and heart disease include:

  • Consume healthy foods: A balanced diet improves the health of the heart and reduces the risk of heart disease.
  • Regular exercise: Exercise helps significantly in improving the health of people with depression. It also improves heart health.
  • Avoid alcohol: Alcohol is a depressant and lowers the serotonin levels in the brain thereby causing depression to worsen. It can also increase the blood pressure and increase the risk of heart attack or stroke.
  • Quit smoking: Many depressed people take up smoking which is a major risk factor in developing heart disease. By not smoking the chances of developing heart disease can be lowered significantly.

A few other techniques to lower stress levels and prevent depression include:

  • Doing meditation and deep breathing exercises
  • Using visualization and recollecting positive memories
  • Getting adequate sleep and rest
  • Sharing feelings with others or writing them down


Dr. Mehrotra says that early detection of depression and treatment are crucial to not only improve a patient’s quality of life but also reduce the probability of heart disease. If not treated in time, depression can increase the risk of a heart attack. Patients with depression should not be stigmatized and must be helped to recover by providing them with the right treatment and support.