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Monitoring the baby's heart using electrocardiography (ECG) plus cardiotocography (CTG) during labour provides some modest help for mothers and babies when continuous monitoring is needed.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2016

No evidence has been found to support the use of the electrocardiogram (ECG) for preventing cardiac arrhythmias in methadone‐treated opioid dependents. A maintenance program with methadone is an effective treatment for people who are dependent on opioids, in terms of increased retention in treatment, reduced use of opioids, reduced human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) transmission and reduced mortality. Nowadays methadone represents the most frequently used medication for this disorder. However, the use of methadone has been associated with a potentially fatal cardiac arrhythmia called torsade de pointes (TdP). Evidence supporting the relationship between methadone and TdP is limited. However, given the risk involved for the life of patients, consensus and recommendations for patients receiving methadone treatment have been developed. Recommended procedures aim to identify patients who present a specific alteration of the ECG, represented by prolongation of the QT interval, which is considered a marker for arrhythmias such as TdP. Patients identified as at risk may then be provided with alternative treatment (reduction of methadone dosage; provision of alternative opioid agonist treatment; treatment of associated risk factors). However, the acceptability of ECG screening has been questioned because the procedures involved may be too demanding and stressful, may interfere with the availability of patients to undergo methadone maintenance and may expose patients to health consequences of untreated opioid addiction, including increased mortality risk. This review looked at the evidence on the efficacy and acceptability of such ECG‐based screening procedures. Even though the search was extended to different experimental and non‐ experimental study designs, the authors did not find any study that fulfilled methodological criteria for the review. Therefore, it is not possible to draw any conclusions about the effectiveness of ECG‐based screening strategies for preventing cardiac morbidity/mortality in methadone‐treated opioid addicts. Research efforts should focus on strengthening the evidence about the effectiveness of widespread implementation of such strategies and clarifying associated benefits and harms.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2013

The aim of this study was to assess the evidence about potential benefits and harms of implantable loop recorders (ILRs) compared to standard diagnostic assessment for people with unexplained recurrent faints or blackouts.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2016

Atrial fibrillation is a common cardiac arrhythmia that makes the heart beat rapidly and irregularly. This can occur for brief episodes or may be continuous. Symptoms of the disease include heart palpitations, chest pain, shortness of breath, light‐headedness and fatigue. The condition is rare in those younger than 40 years of age but is more common as people age. Not everyone with atrial fibrillation experiences symptoms, so some people are unaware that they have it; others may experience mild symptoms that they do not attribute to the disease. Atrial fibrillation hinders efficient flow of blood through the heart, resulting in increased risk of clot formation. If these clots leave the heart, they can block the vessels supplying blood to the brain, causing a stroke. Treatment with anticoagulant medication is designed to prevent the formation of blood clots and can reduce the risk of stroke by over 60%.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2016

Coronary artery disease (CAD, also called coronary heart disease, or CHD) is a condition in which the large blood vessels that supply the heart with oxygen have become narrower. This is caused by arteriosclerosis (hardening of the blood vessels). CAD can also lead to other types of heart disease.The heart may perform more poorly, or your heartbeat may become irregular. The risk of a heart attack also increases.

Informed Health Online [Internet] - Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG).

Version: July 27, 2017

Measurements of blood pressure and cholesterol are important to the practice of medicine. But what can they tell us about whether a specific treatment can prevent complications like heart attacks or bone fractures?

Informed Health Online [Internet] - Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG).

Version: September 8, 2016

A heart rate that is irregular and often too fast is the most common sign of atrial fibrillation. Although the condition isn’t immediately life-threatening, it increases the risk of a stroke and can weaken the heart over time. There are a number of different treatment options.

Informed Health Online [Internet] - Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG).

Version: October 5, 2017

An echocardiogram is one of the main types of routine heart examinations. It is sometimes just called an "echo test" or "heart ultrasound." It is helpful in the diagnosis of many different types of heart disease and can be done without the use of radiation.

Informed Health Online [Internet] - Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG).

Version: October 6, 2016

If you’ve had a sleep disorder for a very long time and previous medical examinations and advice have not helped, a sleep study is the usual next step. In the study, your sleep will be monitored for one or more nights monitor using special instruments. Sleep studies demand a bit of time.

Informed Health Online [Internet] - Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG).

Version: March 9, 2016

People with atrial fibrillation have two main treatment options: Treatment to restore their heart rhythm or treatment to control their heart rate. Studies have shown that there are no differences between these treatment approaches in terms of life expectancy and the risk of developing medical conditions associated with atrial fibrillation.

Informed Health Online [Internet] - Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG).

Version: October 5, 2017

Lots of people who want to stay healthy go for regular general health check-ups. But the benefits of these check-ups shouldn’t be overestimated. So far studies haven’t proven that regular general health check-ups can protect healthy people from illness or increase their life expectancy.

Informed Health Online [Internet] - Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG).

Version: September 7, 2017

Lots of people with heart failure avoid physical exercise to prevent breathlessness and heavy breathing. But exercise has been shown to be good for heart failure in the long term: Studies show that special cardio training programs can imrpove fitness and quality of life.

Informed Health Online [Internet] - Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG).

Version: August 27, 2014

Coronary artery disease (CAD) is caused by the narrowing of the large blood vessels that supply the heart with oxygen. These vessels are called coronary arteries. The symptoms of CAD can vary greatly, depending on how long the arteries have been narrowed and how constricted they are.

Informed Health Online [Internet] - Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG).

Version: July 27, 2017

Using fetal pulse oximetry to assess the baby's well‐being during labour does not change overall caesarean section rates.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2014

Background: Patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) are at increased risk of coronary artery disease (CAD) and adverse cardiac events. Screening for CAD is therefore an important part of preoperative evaluation for kidney transplant candidates. There is significant interest in the role of non‐invasive cardiac investigations and their ability to identify patients at high risk of CAD. 

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2012

Background: EBT is a type of massive blood transfusion (where blood is taken from a healthy person and infused into the bloodstream of an ill person) which predisposes to low blood calcium as a result of the bonding (chelating) effect of anticlotting chemicals used to preserve donor's blood. Low blood calcium can cause abnormal functions of muscles (including the heart) and nerves. In this review, we investigated the benefits of administered calcium on blood calcium levels and the safety of calcium administration to newborn infants receiving EBT.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2017

How do we know whether a particular treatment really works? How reliable is the evidence? And how do we ensure that research into medical treatments best meets the needs of patients? These are just a few of the questions addressed in a lively and informative way in Testing Treatments. Brimming with vivid examples, Testing Treatments will inspire both patients and professionals.

Pinter & Martin.

Version: 2011

This book aims to help consumers and practitioners develop the skills to assess health advice – and hopefully to make decisions that will improve the quality of their care. For some people, making better-informed decisions could be life saving. We hope that it will be useful if you are struggling to come to terms with an illness or injury, and the best ways of managing it. Or you may simply want to lead a healthier life, and may be wondering how to make sense of the often conflicting flood of health information that deluges us every day, through the media, and from our friends and health practitioners.

Hammersmith Press.

Version: 2008

Tongxinluo, in capsule form, is a traditional Chinese medicine which consists of herbs and insects. Traditionally it has been thought to have clinical benefits for patients with angina, including the reduction of the occurrence of acute myocardial infarction (AMI), and complications of some types of heart surgery. Some studies also suggest a possible benefit in reducing the frequency and severity of angina attacks and improving symptoms. However, none of these individual studies have been reviewed systematically.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2013

During general anaesthesia, a tube may be inserted into the trachea (windpipe) using an instrument called a laryngoscope in order to safely deliver oxygen and anaesthetic gases and to remove carbon dioxide. This procedure is known as laryngoscopy and tracheal intubation. It initiates a reflex response (the haemodynamic response to intubation) of an increase in blood pressure and heart rate. Several drugs in varied doses and by different routes have been used to blunt or prevent this response in order to prevent serious complications for the heart and the brain, which may even be fatal. This is because the increase in blood pressure and heart rate may put undue stress on the heart and the brain circulation. In some patients it may lead to abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmias) and lack of oxygen to the heart muscle (myocardial ischaemia) resulting in changes in recorded electrical activity of the heart (shown on the electrocardiogram (ECG)), heart failure, or stroke. In spite of several studies on the use of drugs to suppress this response, it remains unclear what the best drugs to use are and in what dosages.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2013

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