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Universal Hospital Tirana SMPH

Swimming Safely


Michele Biring


Communication Director/ Universal Hospital Tirana


Summer is here. It’s time to hit the beach.  I can’t wait to jump in the water and start feeling that cool silky water around me.  Swimming is an excellent workout for my heart.  So, why not jump in?
Not so fast.  There are certain precautions I know I must take to stay healthy and I want to avoid any and all trips to the doctor.  So, I asked around for some practical advice.

Interventional Cardiologist at Universal Hospital Tirana Dr. Onur Erdogmus advised against “just jumping in”, saying:  “Often times, the water temperature is quite a shock for your heart – even a normal, healthy heart.  Give your heart a chance to catch up and keep you warm.  Walk into the water until you are about waist-deep.  Then, submerge yourself so your shoulders are under water - briefly.  Then come out for 2 minutes before going in and swimming.  This will give your heart a chance to start pumping that blood around your body and you will acclimate much more quickly.  Better still would be to begin this at home.  You can similarly shower briefly in cold water and after two weeks doing this, you will be better prepared for swimming.”  He also recommended when getting out of the water to go for a run.  The body will warm up much faster than sitting and shivering in a towel.  He warned against beginning any exercise without talking to your doctor.

Why?  Dr. Onur explained that, contrary to conventional wisdom, when the body touches the cold, the heart begins to work harder to pump blood to all areas of the body as an attempt to warm it up.  When our hearts are perfectly healthy, it’s a good idea to exercise them like any other muscle in our body and make them work a little harder – like swimming for 30 minutes every day.

However, if any heart disease is present, exercising the heart may or may not be a good idea.  In fact, seeing the heart work under stress is one of the diagnostic tools that not just Dr. Onur uses but many Cardiologists use.  This is called an exercise stress test.

During an exercise stress test, patients are hooked up to electrodes connected to heart monitoring equipment to measure a person’s heart activity.  Normally, blood pressure and heart activity through an ECG are recorded.  Patients are then asked to walk or jog on a treadmill.  Through this test, cardiologists can determine the exercise capacity of the heart, appropriate exercise levels in those beginning an exercise program, causes of any chest pain, and they can also identify rhythm disturbances during exercise. There may be other health reasons that a doctor orders this test, but these are a few.

If our hearts are under stress and there’s disease, we may have chest pain or we may faint or collapse.  The sea and the ocean would not be good locations for these occurrences.  It’s best to be checked out by a doctor beforehand.
Dr. Onur Erdogmus will have free office hours at Universal Hospital Tirana every Friday beginning July 23rd.


"Agon" newspaper,  13 July 2010

Online  article :


Rafet Rama, Professor Prishtina, Successfully Undergoes Heart Operation

May 31, 2010 Universal Hospital Tirana
– 65-year-old Rafet Rama successfully underwent a major heart operation. Under the auspices of physicians Klodian Krakulli (cardiac surgeon, from Tirana, Albania) and Ernesto Tappainer (cardiac surgeon, from Mantova, Italy), Professor Rama has successfully undergone a quintuple by-pass.

Dr. Klodian Krakulli, the cardiac surgeon involved at Universal Hospital Tirana explains: "The patient presented with complications of acute renal failure. Initially, he did three rounds of hemodialysis in our hospital’s intensive care unit. A week later, we extubated, (simply meaning: we removed the pipe which helps the patient breath). Now, after surgery, Professor Rama is enjoying good health once again."

Professor Rama’s hemodialysis, in Universal Hospital Tirana, is performed by doctors Manjola Makaj and Valbona Bajrami, specialists in Nephrology and Nephrology-Dialysis-Transplantation.

The patient, Professor Rama, stated that he is satisfied with the services provided by Universal Hospital Tirana, commenting on the quality by saying “The hospital is of european standards. I remain amazed by the technology and quality service.

Prof. Rafet Rama is currently a mathematics professor at the “Meto Bajraktari” school in Pristina. With a large circle of friends made up of politicians, professors and intellectuals, he is very popular among Kosovo Albanians.  He is released on 29, May 2010.


Star Academy comes to our hospital

Universal Hospital Tirana has welcomed these days students of Star Academy, the successful spectacle and reality show broadcasted in TV Klan. The dancers have experienced muscular pain and have been treated in the physical therapy pavilion by our specialists. Some of them come for the first time, while for others it is the third or fourth treatment.

Gjoanina Frangaj is a professional dancer in Star Academy. She has stayed at the hospital for one night to receive treatment for a strain in the leg joint. “I have never seen such a great hospital environment”, she says, “it is very relaxing and I have been feeling really well. Doctors and nurses are very communicative, they put you at the center of attention, they are tireless and make your stay here easier”.

Lexoni me shume

The soccer team player Vasil Shkurtaj comes to Universal Hospital Tirana for Physical Therapy treatment


Athlete Vasil Shkurtaj has chosen Physical Service of Universal Hospital Tirana for his treatment. He is 18 years old and     currently plays for the Albanian National Under 21 Football Team. He has refused the offer  that greek national football representative made him in order to make his contribution on green field for the Albanian national team.


“I chose  Universal Hospital Tirana because I like the services of this hospital a lot and especially the Physical Therapy service. I’m very satisfied with all here. “, - expressed Vasili after being asked about his selection.


“Vasili has an ankle joint. On the first days we proceeded with tense, ultrasound and laser. After this therapy, now we moved on to the passive mobilization which means the strengthening of the muscle structure of the ankle.” –explained Ergys Rexha, a physical therapist at Universal Hospital Tirana regarding the problems that footballer has faced.  Vasili traveled to Greece on Saturday, but he will return very soon in Albania to join the Albanian national football team.



Free visits in the cardiology department at Universal Hospital Tirana


Starting from May 14, 2010, each Friday Dr. Onur ERDOGMUS, cardiologist at Universal Hospital Tirana, will carry out free visits to those with heart problems.


Dr. Onur ERDOGMUS, has conducted his Master studies in Istanbul’s "Siyami Erseka Hospital” for 2 years; has worked in Istanbul’s "Memorial Hospital" for 2 years as well as in Istanbul’s “Florence Nightingale Hospital” for 3 years, and is certified in surgery at the Heart Transplant Institute from JCI.


Dr.ERDOGMUS is already a part of Universal Hospital’s staff.


If you are interested, please call 04 22 90 000 to book your visit. There will be free visits every Friday until June 14.





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