Commentary by Prof
Tan Huay Cheem, Senior Consultant, National University Heart Centre Singapore highlighted that since the beginning
of the pandemic, many experts have noticed that COVID-19 survivors may suffer
from the long-term sequelae of COVID-19. Prof Tan said that there was a good
reason to believe that, like influenza, coronavirus infection could increase
the risk of myocardial infarction, stroke and death after 30 days.
Commentary by Prof Tan Huay Cheem, Senior Consultant, National University Heart Centre Singapore highlighted
that dilated cardiomyopathy is a condition where the heart, usually the left
ventricle, is enlarged and weakened. He explained that this disease is
difficult to treat, and mostly occurs in males and people between the ages of
30 and 60.
Tan Huay Cheem, Senior Consultant, National University Heart Centre Singapore highlighted that processed and
preserved food tend to have high sodium concentration. For patients suffering
from kidney failure, consuming food high in sodium concentration may result in
them going into a state of oedema. For patients suffering from heart failure,
consuming too much high sodium food will also worsen their condition.
A new study by National University Heart Centre Singapore (NUHCS), National University Hospital (NUH) and NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine researchers found that the overall risk of heart inflammation (myopericarditis) following COVID-19 vaccination has been found to be very low, affecting just 18 people per million vaccine doses. The study, which was published in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine, confirms that the risk of myopericarditis following COVID-19 vaccination is comparable to or lower than the risk following non-COVID-19 vaccinations.
Reports noted the study was led by researchers including Dr Kollengode Ramanathan, Senior Consultant, Department of Cardiac, Thoracic and Vascular Surgery, NUHCS, Dr Somani Jyoti and Prof Dale Fisher, senior consultants at the Division of Infectious Disease, NUH, as well as Mr Ryan Ruiyang Ling from NUS Medicine.
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Cardio-sleep specialist Prof Ronald Lee Chi
Hang, Senior Consultant, Department of Cardiology, National University Heart Centre Singapore, said obstructive
sleep apnoea (OSA) can lead to heart disease, stroke and metabolic disease when
left undiagnosed and untreated. An National University Health System study found that almost one in three
Singaporeans suffer from OSA. Middle-aged men and those who are overweight are
particularly susceptible to developing OSA. National University Hospital is conducting a research
project for people who snore at night and have high blood pressure. A sleep
study will be provided to participants and those diagnosed with OSA will be offered
treatment by a team of specialists.
The Straits Times quoted Asst Prof Seow Swee
Chong, Senior Consultant and Director, Cardiac Electrophysiology and Pacing,
Department of Cardiology, National University Heart Centre Singapore, who shared that he saw a 10 to 20 per cent
rise in patients who reported heart palpitations last year compared to 2020. He
said that apart from stress and anxiety, palpitations can occur more frequently
when a person is sick or worried about his health. He also explained that a
vaccine serves to stimulate the immune response and may cause upheaval in the body,
including fever, inflammation and body ache. The body then responds with the
heart beating faster and harder which may be interpreted as “palpitations”.
Commenting on High Intensity Interval Training
sessions, Prof Tan Huay Cheem, Senior Consultant, Department of Cardiology,
National University Heart Centre Singapore, said that one needs to have some baseline fitness level before engaging
in such high-intensity workouts. He cautioned that group dynamics may sometimes
cause people to exercise beyond their usual limits.
Prof Tan Huay Cheem,
Senior Consultant, Department of Cardiology, National University Heart Centre Singapore, commented on how medicines
work for patients with high cholesterol levels and addressed some common
misconceptions about statins. He explained statins are most effective at
lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol, but they also help to lower triglycerides and
raise HDL (good) cholesterol. He added that a new class of injectables have emerged
in recent years to provide an alternative for patients who are unable to
achieve their targeted cholesterol levels, who are statin intolerant, or unable
to adhere to regular therapies.
Asst Prof Yeo Tee
Joo, Senior Consultant, Department of Cardiology, National University Heart Centre Singapore addressed questions on
the buildup of fluids in the lungs. He explained that doctors will generally
first expel excess water from a patient’s body to reduce the burden on the
lungs and heart. However, this is not a cure and patient should consult their
doctors on the treatment plan.
Commentary by A/Prof Ronald Lee, Senior Consultant,
Department of Cardiology, National University Heart Centre Singapore, highlighted his experience treating a patient
who was suffering from rheumatic heart disease leading to mitral valve
stenosis. A/Prof Lee noted that there are no obvious symptoms in the early
stage of rheumatic heart disease, but later, due to impaired cardiac function,
patients can experience breathing difficulties, palpitations and fatigue.
Prof Tan Huay Cheem, Senior Consultant, National University Heart Centre Singapore, and
Chairman, Singapore Heart Foundation, explained that takotsubo cardiomyopathy
is a sudden stress-induced condition that causes temporary loss of function of
the left heart ventricle. A rare condition, it is mostly triggered by severe
emotional or physical stress. Induced symptoms may be similar to a heart attack
and may be fatal.
a letter to Zaobao Forum, Ms Ang Geok Lan shared that her eldest brother had
been admitted to National University Hospital since July 2021 and passed away on 30 January 2022. On
behalf of her family, Ms Ang expressed her deepest gratitude towards all the
healthcare staff who had taken care of her brother, especially Dr Ng Jun Jie,
Consultant, Department of Cardiac, Thoracic and Vascular Surgery, National University Heart Centre Singapore, who
was the patient’s attending physician. Ms Ang shared that Dr Ng would always
take the trouble to communicate with the family. When her brother would rather
die than undergo an operation to amputate his leg as a result of his diabetic
wound, Dr Ng never gave up. He tried different treatments and managed to save
the patient’s leg. Ms Ang commented that Dr Ng is a role model, exemplifying
the value of benevolence in healthcare workers.
Lin Weiqin, Consultant and Clinical Director, Heart Failure Programme,
Department of Cardiology, National University Heart Centre Singapore, explained misconceptions about heart diseases
and symptoms that may lead to delays in diagnosis and treatment. For example,
it is not uncommon for women to attribute symptoms of heart failure such as
shortness of breath, lethargy, effort intolerance and leg swelling to menopause
or a hormonal imbalance.
Prof Tan Huay Cheem, Senior Consultant, Department of Cardiology, National University Heart Centre Singapore, shared familial hypercholesterolemia is an inherited condition that affects the body's ability to manage cholesterol. He added that there are many available treatments for the condition and early diagnosis is important, as is family screening to identify others who may have inherited it.
National University Heart Centre Singapore patient Ms Linbert Lim, who inherited the genetic condition, shared her patient journey highlighting her cardiac arrest at the age of 41.