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Heart Disease Blog

Related terms: Congenital Heart Disease

Adults With Congenital Heart Trouble Need Follow-Up, Experts Say

Posted 7 days ago by

MONDAY, April 20, 2015 – The American Heart Association has issued its first-ever guidelines regarding life for patients older than 40 who were born with heart disease. There are now more adults with congenital heart disease than children with the disease, Dr. Ami Bhatt, lead author of the recommendations, said in an AHA statement. "These patients often have a sense that their heart has been 'fixed' and they don't need follow-up," said Bhatt, director of the Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. "However, in adulthood they can develop complications from the underlying disease or the heart repairs that kept them alive as children. Therefore, these adults need lifelong cardiac care." According to the American Heart Association, adults with congenital heart disease can suffer from problems like heart failure, heart valve problems, high blood ... Read more

Related support groups: Heart Disease

Genes May Leave Short People Prone to Heart Disease

Posted 18 days ago by

WEDNESDAY, April 8, 2015 – Short people may be more likely to have heart disease, and that increased risk could be linked to the genetics that also determine height, a British-led research team suggests. A person's risk of heart disease increases about 13.5 percent for every 2.5 inches of difference in height, the scientists said. That means a 5-foot-tall person has an average 32 percent higher risk of heart disease than a person who's 5-foot 6-inches tall, according to the researchers. An in-depth genetic analysis of more than 18,000 people revealed a number of genes linked to human growth and development that likely play a role in the increased risk for heart disease. "We found that people who carry those genetic variants that lower your height and make you shorter are more likely to develop coronary heart disease," said Dr. Nilesh Samani, a professor of cardiology and head of the ... Read more

Related support groups: Heart Disease, Cardiovascular Risk Reduction

Are Heart Surgery Patients Losing Too Much Blood to Tests?

Posted 20 days ago by

TUESDAY, April 7, 2015 – Heart surgery patients often undergo dozens of blood tests while they're hospitalized, potentially losing half a liter of blood or more over time, a new study reports. Patients may not realize they're losing so much blood because the blood tests are typically taken through an IV. But the study authors, who were "astonished by the extent of bloodletting," wrote that the loss of blood could lead to longer stays in the hospital. Blood loss can also lead to transfusions and anemia, requiring more treatment and higher costs, the researchers suggested. "All these little blood tests we do add up to a lot of blood," said Dr. Milo Engoren, a professor of anesthesiology at University of Michigan Health System. The good news, he said, is that solutions exist, and hospitals can take action to protect patients. Findings from the study appear in the March issue of The Annals ... Read more

Related support groups: Heart Disease, Diagnosis and Investigation, Cardiothoracic Surgery

Regular, Vigorous Exercise May Lengthen Your Life: Study

Posted 6 Apr 2015 by

MONDAY, April 6, 2015 – Although any amount of exercise offers health benefits, a new study suggests that rigorous physical activity may be key to boosting longevity. Australian researchers found that middle-aged or older people who get at least some high-intensity exercise that makes them sweaty and winded may reduce their chances of dying early by up to 13 percent. The researchers concluded that doctors' recommendations and public health guidelines should encourage participation in some vigorous types of exercise. The study involved more than 204,000 people aged 45 or older who were followed for more than six years. Researchers compared those who engaged in only moderate activities – like gentle swimming, social tennis or household chores – with people who got some amount of vigorous activity – such as jogging, aerobics or competitive tennis. The participants were divided into ... Read more

Related support groups: Heart Disease, Heart Attack, Myocardial Infarction, Coronary Artery Disease (CAD), Myocardial Infarction - Prophylaxis

Packaged Grocery Foods Often High in Salt, Study Finds

Posted 2 Apr 2015 by

THURSDAY, April 2, 2015 – More than half of packaged grocery store foods included in a new study contained too much added salt, U.S. health officials reported Thursday. That's important because eating too much salt (sodium) is a risk factor for developing high blood pressure, according to the study authors. And high blood pressure can contribute to heart disease and strokes. "We looked at packaged food sales in grocery stores," said study researcher Linda Schieb, an epidemiologist in the division of heart disease and stroke prevention at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "What we found was more than 50 percent of those products exceeded the FDA healthy food label guidelines for sodium." Under the U.S. Food and Drug Administration healthy food label guideline, only 480 milligrams (mg) of sodium per serving are allowed for individual foods – such as cheese, cold cuts ... Read more

Related support groups: Heart Disease, Ischemic Stroke

More People Dying of Heart Disease, Stroke Worldwide: Study

Posted 2 Apr 2015 by

THURSDAY, April 2, 2015 – Despite medical advances, a new study shows that more people are dying of heart disease and stroke worldwide than did a quarter century ago because the global population is growing, and growing older. The good news is that the death rate – the number of deaths in relation to the size of the population – fell in most regions of the world. The declining death rate reflects better diets, less tobacco smoking and improvements in medicine, said Dr. Simon Capewell, a professor of clinical epidemiology at the University of Liverpool in England. However, the numbers are still too high, said Capewell, who was not involved in the study. "A lot of these deaths are premature, meaning they kill people below the age of 75," Capewell said. "Ninety percent of these premature deaths are preventable and avoidable through healthy diets and zero smoking." In the study, ... Read more

Related support groups: Heart Disease, Ischemic Stroke

Heart Groups Issue Updated Blood Pressure Guidelines

Posted 31 Mar 2015 by

TUESDAY, March 31, 2015 – Three leading groups of heart experts have issued updated guidelines that set blood pressure goals for people with heart disease. Specifically, the guidelines reinforce a target blood pressure of less than 140/90 mm Hg for those at risk for heart attack and stroke. The guidelines also set a goal of 130/80 mm Hg for those with heart disease who have already had a heart attack, stroke or a ministroke, or who have had a narrowing of their leg arteries or an abdominal aortic aneurysm. However, the new guidelines are intended to be more flexible than ones crafted in 2007, said Dr. Clive Rosendorff, chairman of the committee that wrote the updated guidelines. Ultimately, the blood pressure goal any individual patient tries to achieve should be left to the discretion of the doctor and the patient. For example, the lower goal may not be appropriate for older, frail ... Read more

Related support groups: High Blood Pressure, Hypertension, Heart Disease, Ischemic Stroke - Prophylaxis, Thromboembolic Stroke Prophylaxis, Cardiovascular Risk Reduction, Ischemic Heart Disease, Myocardial Infarction - Prophylaxis, Hypertensive Heart Disease

FDA Expands Approval for 'Valve in Valve' Aortic Replacement

Posted 31 Mar 2015 by

TUESDAY, March 31, 2015 – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday that use of the CoreValve "valve-in-valve" aortic replacement has been expanded to include people at extreme risk for serious complications of traditional open-heart surgery. The CoreValve System is designed for people who had a prior aortic valve replacement and are now in need of a second one, the FDA said in a news release. Some people whose own valves wear out have open-heart surgery to replace the original valve with one made of animal tissue. It's when that second valve needs replacing that the CoreValve product may be prescribed. The CoreValve valve is made of tissue from the heart of a pig. It's attached to a supportive metal frame of nickel-titanium alloy, the FDA said. Insertion is made via a catheter inserted into a leg artery, or via a small incision between the ribs. This removes the need for ... Read more

Related support groups: Heart Disease, Prosthetic Heart Valves - Tissue Valves, Valvular Heart Disease, Cardiothoracic Surgery, Aortic Insufficiency

New Blood Pump System Approved

Posted 24 Mar 2015 by

TUESDAY, March 24, 2015 – The Impella 2.5 System has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to maintain stable heart function and blood circulation during high-risk cardiac operations, the agency said in a news release. The miniature blood pump is sanctioned for coronary artery disease patients during higher-risk procedures such as angioplasty, when a blocked artery is unclogged using an inflated balloon, the agency said. The system is guided into the left ventricle of the heart via a catheter that's typically inserted into a leg vein. An external controller and monitor turns the pump on and off, measures heart function and allows doctors to adjust the pump as needed, the FDA said. People with coronary artery disease commonly have diminished blood flow to the heart, which could lead to serious complications during surgery, the agency said. The Impella System is produced ... Read more

Related support groups: Heart Disease, Cardiothoracic Surgery

For Mexican-Americans, Heart Risks Can Rise Even If Not Obese

Posted 20 Mar 2015 by

FRIDAY, March 20, 2015 – In Mexican-Americans, heart-damaging risk factors such as high blood pressure or high blood sugar levels are common, even in the absence of obesity, a new study finds. Those who weren't obese but were metabolically unhealthy showed similar signs of early artery hardening as those who were obese, according to the study published in the March 18 issue of the Journal of the American Heart Association. Hardening of the arteries increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. The findings suggest that "interventions to maintain metabolic health may be a more important goal than focusing on weight loss alone [for Mexican-Americans]," study lead author Dr. Susan Laing, a professor of cardiovascular medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, said in a journal news release. Laing's team used ultrasound to measure the thickness of neck arteries ... Read more

Related support groups: Diabetes, Type 2, Heart Disease, Pre-Diabetes, Cardiovascular Conditions and Disorders

New Guidelines Call for No Heart Tests for Low-Risk Patients

Posted 17 Mar 2015 by

TUESDAY, March 17, 2015 – Many patients who are at low risk for heart problems don't need to have screening tests such as EKGs and stress tests, a national association of primary care physicians recommends. The new guideline jibes with research that has suggested the tests are overused in patients who don't need them. "These tests are very unlikely to be helpful in low-risk patients. They are unlikely to give findings that will change patient management or improve patient outcomes," said Dr. Roger Chou, director of the Pacific Northwest Evidence-based Practice Center at Oregon Health & Science University. He is the lead author of the guidelines that were released Monday by the American College of Physicians. At issue are electrocardiography (EKG or ECG), echocardiography (echo) and myocardial perfusion imaging (nuclear) tests. All of these can be used in "stress tests" that require ... Read more

Related support groups: Heart Disease, Cardiovascular Risk Reduction, Diagnosis and Investigation, Abnormal Electrocardiogram

CT Scans Might Spot Heart Risks More Clearly in Patients With Chest Pain

Posted 15 Mar 2015 by

SUNDAY, March 15, 2015 – New research suggests that CT scans may help doctors do a better job of diagnosing heart disease in patients with chest pain, compared to standard tests. A Scottish team found that CT scans seemed to spot more heart problems and allowed doctors to act to lower the risk of a heart attack. "A CT scan clarifies the diagnosis, changes treatments and may reduce the risk of a heart attack," said chief investigator Dr. David Newby, a professor at the University of Edinburgh. The patients in question were suffering from chest pain and suspected heart disease. In most cases, the disease is caused by clogged arteries that disrupt the flow of blood in the body. "The chest pain, or angina, is a tightness in the chest which comes on when they exert themselves," Newby said. "Patients are usually seen in the clinic and can undergo a range of potential tests that could include ... Read more

Related support groups: Heart Disease, Diagnosis and Investigation, Computed Tomography

Study Gauges Value of CT Scans for Heart Patients

Posted 15 Mar 2015 by

SATURDAY, March 14, 2015 – In the first head-to-head study of its kind, researchers say that CT scans may offer some advantages over traditional "functional stress tests" for people with symptoms of heart disease. As explained in a news release from the American College of Cardiology (ACC), a heart CT scan gives doctors 3-D images that they can use to assess the degree of narrowing in the heart's arteries. A functional test uses electrical signals, sound waves or imaging to monitor the heart's response to stress, the ACC said. Both CT scans and functional tests are widely used but have never before been compared head-to-head in terms of patient outcomes, according to a team led by Dr. Pamela Douglas, a heart disease expert at Duke University in Durham, N.C. In the new study, Douglas and colleagues tracked outcomes for more than 10,000 patients with suspected heart disease who were ... Read more

Related support groups: Heart Disease, Diagnosis and Investigation, Computed Tomography

Salt May Be Bad for More Than Your Blood Pressure

Posted 13 Mar 2015 by

FRIDAY, March 13, 2015 – Even if you don't develop high blood pressure from eating too much salt, you may still be damaging your blood vessels, heart, kidneys and brain, a new study warns. Researchers reviewed available evidence and found that high levels of salt consumption have harmful effects on a number of organs and tissues, even in people who are "salt-resistant," which means their salt intake does not affect their blood pressure. High salt consumption levels can lead to reduced function of the endothelium, which is the inner lining of blood vessels. Endothelial cells are involved in a number of processes, including blood clotting and immune function. High salt levels can also increase artery stiffness, the researchers said. "High dietary sodium can also lead to left ventricular hypertrophy, or enlargement of the muscle tissue that makes up the wall of the heart's main pumping ... Read more

Related support groups: Heart Disease, Sodium Chloride, Cardiovascular Risk Reduction, HalfLytely and Bisacodyl, Cardiovascular Conditions and Disorders, Hyper-Sal, Rhinaris, Potassium Chloride/Sodium Chloride, Ayr Saline Nasal, Saline Nasal Mist, NasoGel, ENTsol, Bisacodyl/Polyethylene Glycol 3350/Potassium Chloride/Sodium Bicarbonate/Sodium Chloride, Rhino-Mist, Ocean, Thermoject, Pediamist, Dextrose/Sodium Chloride, Normal Saline Flush, Nasal Saline

Stress, Depression a 'Perfect Storm' of Trouble for Heart Patients

Posted 10 Mar 2015 by

TUESDAY, March 10, 2015 – Heart disease, depression and stress can be a deadly combination, a new study finds. Researchers looking at the effect of significant stress and deep depression on nearly 4,500 patients with heart disease called the pairing a "psychosocial perfect storm." "The combination of high stress and high depression symptoms may be particularly harmful for adults with heart disease during an early vulnerability period," said lead researcher Carmela Alcantara, an associate research scientist at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City. "We found that those who reported both high stress and high depression were 48 percent more likely than those with low stress and low depression to have another heart attack or die in the first 2.5 years of follow-up," she said. Longer follow-up did not show a significant association, however. People with both stress and ... Read more

Related support groups: Depression, Anxiety and Stress, Heart Disease, Heart Attack, Major Depressive Disorder, Myocardial Infarction

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