Services

Alfieri Cardiology serves the residents of Newark and Wilmington, Delaware, in addition to many nearby towns. Dr. Paul Alfieri and Dr. Anthony Alfieri specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of many different cardiac conditions. Read about them below.

What Is Arrhythmia?
An arrhythmia is, in basic terms, an irregular heartbeat. Heartbeats that are too slow are referred to as bradycardia, while a rapid heartbeat is known as tachycardia. Premature contractions are given to heartbeats that occur too early and a heartbeat that is irregular or off is called fibrillation. An irregular heartbeat of any kind can be an indication that something is wrong with the heart muscle, over and above normal work and stress. A heart can skip a beat at any time and be completely normal and healthy. If the heart continues to skip beats or race uncontrollably, a doctor’s visit is in order, especially if the person has a history of heart disease.

How Is It Treated?
Different types of arrhythmias will require different types of treatment. Antiplatelet and anticoagulant therapy use medications to help thin the blood and regulate blood flow so that it is easier on the heart to function. Beta-blockers can also be used to effectively control the rhythm of a person’s heart. Pacemakers are also considered for individuals who have an irregular heartbeat that does not respond well to certain types of medication. If a pacemaker is not an option, a cardioversion treatment is used. This is when the doctor places the patient under mild sedation and gives the heart a mild shock to help reset its proper rhythm.

Can It Be Prevented?
Arrhythmia is a heart condition that can disappear as quickly as it shows up. The best way to prevent an irregular heartbeat is to keep the heart as healthy as possible. Regular exercise, a proper diet, and sufficient amounts of sleep are the keys to good health and will help to keep the entire body functioning as it should. Individuals who have a family history of heart disease and other medical problems should try to remain as healthy as possible. This includes avoiding alcohol and tobacco use. It is important to eat as healthy as possible and eliminate salt and certain types of fats from the diet.

What Causes High Blood Pressure?
High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a serious health condition that causes the heart to work harder than it normally should. Pressure builds up in the blood vessels making it harder for the heart to pump blood throughout the body. If the pressure continues to rise, it can damage the walls of the blood vessels and weaken the heart muscle. Obesity, lack of exercise, poor diet, chronic disease, stress, aging, and sleep apnea are just a few of the most common causes of high blood pressure. Individuals who have close relatives with high blood pressure are considered to be at a higher risk of developing the condition.

How Is Hypertension Treated?
Hypertension is treated by addressing the cause and finding ways to reduce the pressure in the arteries. If a person smokes, they are encouraged to stop. Making positive lifestyle changes like improving their diet, getting more exercise, and reducing the amount of stress they deal with on a day-to-day basis are all part of a healthy treatment plan to reduce high blood pressure and take pressure off of the heart. Anticoagulants are also used to thin the blood and make it easier to travel through the circulatory system. Doctors may also prescribe other medications to help reduce the pressure in the arteries and improve blood flow.

What Happens if a Person’s Blood Pressure Is Not Kept Within a Normal Range?
If a person’s blood pressure is allowed to get out of control, it can lead to many different heart conditions, including congestive heart failure, hardening of the arteries, and a dramatic increase in the risk of a potential heart attack. High blood pressure is known as a silent killer because many people can have the disease and not even realize it. The higher the pressure gets, the harder the heart has to work to push the blood through the body and bring it back to its starting point. It is important for a person to have their blood pressure checked at least once a year to determine if they are at risk for high blood pressure or other serious heart problems.

What Is Congestive Heart Failure?
Congestive heart failure is a term used to describe a group of symptoms that are associated with the overall weakening of the heart muscle. If the heart is forced to worker harder than normal for an extended period of time, portions of the organ can become damaged or weakened. This decreases the amount of power the heart has at its disposal to force the blood through the body. Edema is a common sign of congestive heart failure. As the heart finds it harder to pump the blood, the kidneys may begin to slow down how they process fluid. This allows fluid to build up in the extremities, like the hands, feet, and lower legs.

How Is It Treated?
While congestive heart failure cannot be cured, doctors have several things at their disposal to help them control how the condition progresses. Closely monitoring the types of medications a person takes is one of the first steps. The next steps include improving the diet by adding heart-healthy foods and eliminating the bad, like fried foods and salt. Mild exercise like walking and swimming can help to strengthen the body and improve circulation, making it easier on the heart to function more efficiently. It is also important to reduce or stop altogether, the use of cigarettes and other tobacco products.

Can Congestive Heart Failure Be Prevented?
While individuals who already have a heart condition are at higher risk, the best possible way to prevent congestive heart failure is to improve a person’s lifestyle. Eliminate bad habits like using tobacco products, consuming alcohol, and eating unhealthy foods. Include heart-healthy foods in the diet and exercise whenever the opportunity arises. It is important to maintain a certain degree of activity to help keep the heart and cardiovascular system strong. A person should also take a close look at their family medical history and discuss the findings with their doctor. Between the two of them, they can come up with a treatment plan that will correct existing conditions and reduce the risk of future ones developing.

What Causes Coronary Artery Disease?
Coronary artery disease is a condition in which your arteries become diseased or damage. Your arteries are the body’s pipeline, constantly transporting nutrients and oxygen via the bloodstream. Over time, damage can occur that weakens the arterial walls. High levels of cholesterol can begin to collect in certain areas. As more and more cholesterol and plaque travel through the blood, deposits begin to form in the arteries that eventually restrict blood flow. These deposits can damage the walls of the artery, causing them to harden and become less pliant. Hardening of the arteries makes it extremely difficult for the heart to pump blood efficiently.

How is it Treated?
There are three main types of treatment considered for coronary artery disease. These include making positive lifestyle changes, medications, and, in some cases, surgical procedures to help dilate or re-open the blood vessels so that blood can flow more efficiently. Positive lifestyle changes include exercising more frequently, eating healthier foods, getting sufficient amounts of sleep and eliminating the use of tobacco and alcohol products. Changing a person’s lifestyle takes time, but offers long-lasting benefits. Surgical procedures, like balloon angioplasty, offer an immediate correction to the problem at hand but depend on the positive lifestyle changes to elicit a true healing response.

What is an Ischemic Stroke?
An ischemic stroke is characterized by decreased blood flow to the brain. This can be caused by a blood clot blocking a major artery or large plaque deposits that dramatically reduce the amount of blood flow that makes it to the brain. A stroke is the result of the brain not getting sufficient amounts of oxygen and nutrients to maintain proper function. While the movement of a blood clot can occur rather suddenly, the build up of plaque and fats in the arteries is gradual and occurs over an extended length of time. Strokes often exhibit no symptoms whatsoever and occur suddenly and without warning.

What is Syncope?
Syncope is also referred to “fainting.” It is basically a loss of consciousness that results from extremely high levels of stress, dehydration, exhaustion, or when a person’s blood pressure drops too low. The most frequently diagnosed form of syncope is neurally mediated syncope in which the brain does not get the nutrients and oxygen it needs to maintain proper function. As the person’s blood pressure begins to fall, they may experience nausea, lightheadedness, dizziness, and blurred vision. A person normally does not remain unconscious for long periods of time, but any time syncope occurs a visit should be made to the doctor to uncover the cause.

What Causes Syncope?
The most common cause of syncope is a drop in blood pressure. When a person’s blood pressure is too low, the brain does not receive the oxygen and nutrients it needs to thrive. When this occurs, syncope occurs to help the brain conserve its resources and regain its bearings. High levels of stress, dehydration, exhaustion and extreme hormonal imbalances may also result in a person fainting or losing consciousness. If the episode is due to an irregular beating of the heart or strenuous exercise, it may be indicative of a serious, underlying health condition. If a person faints for no apparent reason, they should be immediately checked by the doctor.

Can Syncope be an Indicator for Other Health Problems?
Syncope or fainting is a sign that the brain is experiencing some form of distress. If the cause of the episode is due to decreased blood pressure, the doctor can begin to look for problems within the cardiovascular system. If a person faints for no apparent reason, it may be due to an underlying health condition. Hormone imbalances, diabetes, unstable blood pressure, and panic disorders are all possible causes. If a person has recurrent episodes of syncope, it is important they receive a medical examination as soon as possible to find out what is happening with their health. Syncope is an indicator for many different types of serious illness.

Contact & Locations

39 Omega Drive
Building G
Newark, DE 19713

Mon-Fri 8am-5pm
Sat-Sun Closed

701 Foulk Rd
Suite 1A
Wilmington, DE 19803

Mon-Fri 8am-5pm
Sat-Sun Closed

2600 Glasgow Ave
Suite 103
Newark, DE 19702

Mon-Fri 8am-5pm
Sat-Sun Closed

Appointments & General Inquiries: 302-731-0001