Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Signore Antonio Maria Valsalva

I love that I have the emotional and fiery temperament of an Italian. Of course, my husband loves to point out that I'm really only one quarter Italian, but in my eyes, I'm 100%. Perhaps my personality makes it so I have more run ins with palpitations than the chillaxed kind of person.

But Dr. Gary Francis, director of the coronary intensive care unit at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, thinks that the solution to relieving palpitations may be in doing a maneuver that was developed by none other than an Italian.

Forcible exhalation against a closed airway was originally described as a method for inflating the Eustachian tube, and its diagnostic use has been attributed to Antonio Maria Valsalva (b. 1666- d.1723). Francis says that a similar move may help in derailing palpitations. Dr. Francis says that the next time you start experiencing heart palpitations you may want to try the Valsalva's maneuver. Pinch your nose and close your mouth. Then blow out while keeping your nose and mouth shut. The built-up pressure in your nose and mouth can force your heart back into its normal rhythm.

Hey, it's worth a try. Grazie Antonio!

[Precautions: The Valsalva maneuver should not be performed by patients who have severe coronary artery disease , have experienced recent heart attack, or have a moderate to severe reduction in blood volume.]