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According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the leading cause of death last year was ischaemic heart disease, or coronary artery disease, which usually results in heart attacks. This was followed by stroke, another cardiovascular disease.

“Cardiovascular disease and the associated burden have been increasing across the world and represent a key challenge in healthcare," says Dr Behrad Elahi, Consultant - Interventional Cardiology at Al Zahra Hospital Dubai.

Fortunately, some healthcare providers are leading in this challenge. Home to one of only two Joint Commission International-accredited (JCI) heart attack centres in the UAE in the private sector, Al Zahra Hospital Dubai offers first-class cardiology services. With time of the essence, the team ensure that not a moment is wasted in saving lives.

“Acute heart attack requires urgent treatment in the golden hour,” says Dr Rajeev Lochan, Consultant - Interventional Cardiology and Head of Cardiology at Al Zahra Hospital Dubai. “A heart attack is caused by blockage in one of the heart arteries. And the treatment is opening an artery by angioplasty within 90 minutes - our average time is less than 60 minutes.

A heart attack is caused by blockage in one of the heart arteries. And the treatment is opening an artery by angioplasty within 90 minutes - our average time is less than 60 minutes.

- Dr Rajeev Lochan, Consultant - Interventional Cardiology and Head of Cardiology at Al Zahra Hospital Dubai

“We have set a programme where our team stays close to the hospital and can reach the catheterisation lab within 15 minutes 24X7.”

Certainly, well-timed treatment can make the difference between life and death.

“If patients are not treated in time, sudden ventricular tachycardia (a fast, abnormal heart rate) can occur, dropping the blood pressure to a life-threatening state,” adds Dr Lochan.

While the doctors can do their utmost to save a patient’s life, latest medical treatments also change the outcome. At Al Zahra Hospital Dubai state-of-the-art treatments are leading the way in improving patients’ health.

“The latest procedure we have is the intervention for chronic occlusion of heart vessels, or complete blockage in a coronary artery,” says Dr Elahi. “This marks a new era in cardiac intervention where we use high-tech devices and new techniques to open the blocked vessel that previously would have been left untreated or, at best, the patient would have been referred for a major open heart surgery with suboptimal result.”

This marks a new era in cardiac intervention where we use high-tech devices and new techniques to open the blocked vessel that previously would have been left untreated or, at best, the patient would have been referred for a major open heart surgery with suboptimal result.

- Dr Behrad Elahi, Consultant - Interventional Cardiology at Al Zahra Hospital Dubai

At Al Zahra Hospital Dubai there is a broad spectrum of treatments available depending on the problem.

“We provide not only all life-saving tools for heart attack patients, including the best brands of balloons and stents, but we also have specially designed intravascular catheters,” explains Dr Elahi. “This includes the intravascular ultrasound that allows us to view inside the blocked coronary artery and help get the optimal procedure result, with a better understanding of the mechanism of the blockage, which we can follow with appropriate and precise stenting.”

Although there might be a number of treatments that can help treat heart disease, it is still better to try and boost your heart health before a problem occurs. Therefore, preventive measures should always be taken.

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“Fortunately, there are many things you can do to reduce your chances of getting heart disease, according to WHO. These include controlling your blood pressure, keeping your cholesterol and triglyceride levels under control, staying at a healthy weight, eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, limiting alcohol, quitting smoking and managing stress.”

It isn’t always easy to manage outside conditions such as stress, but your heart will thank you for it. If you have spent too many years working in a stressful environment, or put on a few extra pounds, it is never too late to change your lifestyle. However, if you are already encountering difficulties and are experiencing any worrying symptoms, such as chest pain, shortness of breath or even tiredness you can’t shake off, book a check-up with Al Zahra Hospital Dubai. Its accredited team, armed with the innovative treatments, could make a difference to your life.