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Seek maximal care.

Reader: My doctors determined that my heart was damaged by radiation, which I received for seven weeks in 2001 to treat lung cancer. My doctor says that I now have atrial fibrillation, a leaky right-sided heart valve, elevated pressures in my lung arteries, and chronic lung disease. I use oxygen 24 hours a day and am concerned about what possibly could happen next.

Dr. Zipes: It sounds like you are suffering from more than just the effects of radiation on your heart. I think much of what you have also resulted from damage produced by smoking over many years (you don't say how long). Medications can help your problems to some degree (you don't say what drugs you are taking) and help make you feel better. However, it is likely you will require the oxygen for the rest of your life. My best advice is to be sure you are being cared for by someone who is knowledgeable about your heart (cardiologist) and lungs (pulmonologist) so that you receive maximal care to treat both of your problems.

Internationally acclaimed cardiologist, professor, author and inventor, Dr. Douglas P. Zipes contributes to The Saturday Evening Post magazine as a featured columnist in "Heart Health." Dr. Zipes, an authority on what is ca(led pacing and electrophysiology (rhythms of the heart), hosts a "heart to heart" discussion about your heart-felt concerns. Contents are not intended to substitute for medical attention from a physician.

Please send questions to: Dr. Douglas Zipes, SatEvePost, 1100 Waterway Blvd., Indianapolis, IN 46202.
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Title Annotation:heart health: ask DR. Zipes: A noted cardiologist answers your questions
Author:Zipes, Douglas P.
Publication:Saturday Evening Post
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 1, 2005
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