Posts Tagged ‘heart attack’

Are You at Risk for a Heart Attack? Signs You May Need a Cardiovascular Screening

Heart Attack WomenHeart disease (including heart attacks) may be preventable if you are able to improve or eliminate risk factors that predispose you to both heart disease and heart attacks. Find out if you’re at risk for a heart attack below, and if so, take steps now for your health by scheduling a cardiovascular screening.

Some of the heart disease and heart attack risk factors that you may be able to work on to improve your chances of staying healthy are:

  • Physical inactivity – Lack of exercise can lead to high blood pressure, obesity and high cholesterol. By exercising moderately several times a week you can reduce your risk of heart disease. Exercise also improves your blood pressure, blood sugar levels and lowers your LDL (“bad” cholesterol).
  • Diet – by decreasing the amount of processed, fried and sugary foods and eating more fruits and vegetables you can decrease your risk for heart disease.
  • Smoking – This is one of the major causes of heart disease. Tobacco and other toxic ingredients in cigarettes cause damage to the blood vessels. This allows cholesterol to deposit in the arteries and slow blood flow. Secondhand smoke also causes this same effect. If you quit smoking you will dramatically decrease your risk of heart disease.
  • High blood pressure (also known as Hypertension) – high blood pressure increases your risk of having of a stroke or damage to the heart and kidneys. A normal blood pressure is less than 120/80. Control your blood pressure by limiting the sodium in your diet to less than 1500mg per day, exercising, maintaining a healthy weight and taking medications prescribed by your doctor.
  • Diabetes – High blood sugar levels damage the lining of the arteries and allows cholesterol plaques to deposit. Over time, this can decrease blood flow to the heart muscle.
  • High Cholesterol – LDL cholesterol is the “bad” cholesterol, while HDL is the “good” cholesterol. The goal is to lower your LDL and increase your HDL. Your diet and physical activity will help increase your HDL and lower your LDL, along with medications prescribed by your physician.
  • Obesity- A normal body mass index (BMI) range is 19 to 24. Maintaining a normal BMI through diet and exercise contribute to lower cholesterol and blood pressure levels, You can calculate your BMI with this American Heart Association tool.

Women have other atypical risk factors for heart disease and heart attack that many men do not have including:

  • Mental stress and depression – Depressed individuals or those who deal with a lot of stress are less likely to follow the habits needed to live a healthy lifestyle. Stress can cause spasms of the arteries in the heart causing chest pain. Sudden, severe episodes of stress can damage the heart muscle causing a condition known as “Broken heart syndrome”
  • Low estrogen levels – After menopause or hysterectomy, women have lower levels of estrogen. This increases their risk of heart disease compared to women who have not gone through menopause or had a hysterectomy.
  • Autoimmune conditions – such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis are atypical risk factors for heart disease in women
  • Pregnancy-related health problems – Women who develop gestational diabetes or hypertension (including eclampsia or pre-eclampsia) during pregnancy are at increased risk of developing heart disease later in life.

A family history of early heart disease and a person’s age (over 45 for men or over 55 for women) are also risk factors for heart disease. These factors cannot be changed but are taken into consideration when evaluating your risk for heart disease. It is very important to know that although you cannot change our family history or age, you can do a lot to reduce the other risk factors listed above,

Although chest pain is the most common symptom for a heart attack in both women and men, women can have different symptoms and risk factors for heart disease. It is important to see a physician who understands the differences in identifying and treating women versus men.

If you are risk for heart attack based on the information above, you may need to schedule a cardiovascular screening.

About Ijeoma Isiadinso, MD
Dr. Ijeoma IsiadinsoIjeoma Isiadinso, MD, MPH is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Emory University School of Medicine. Dr. Isiadinso completed her undergraduate studies at Binghamton University in New York majoring in biology and sociology. She then pursued a joint degree in medicine and public health at MCP Hahnemann (Drexel University) School of Medicine. Dr. Isiadinso completed a residency in Internal Medicine and a fellowship in Cardiology at Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia. She served as Chief Fellow during her final year of her cardiology fellowship.

Her commitment to public health has led to her involvement in several projects focused on heart disease and diabetes. She has participated in research projects with the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She has been the recipient of numerous awards and presented her work at national conferences. Her research interests include inequalities in health care, community and preventive health, lipid disorders, women and heart disease, and program development and evaluation.

Dr. Isiadinso has served as the health advisor to nonprofit organizations. She has participated in panel discussions at high schools, universities, and with the Black Entertainment Television Foundation.

Dr. Isiadinso is board certified in Internal Medicine, Cardiovascular Diseases, Nuclear Cardiology, Echocardiography, and Cardiovascular Computed Tomography. She is a member of several professional organizations including the Association of Black Cardiologists, the American College of Cardiology, the American Society of Preventive Cardiology, and the American Public Health Association.

About the Emory Women’s Heart Center
Emory Women’s Heart Center is a unique program dedicated to screening, preventing and treating heart disease in women. The Center, led by nationally renowned cardiologist Gina Lundberg, MD provides comprehensive cardiac risk assessment and screenings for patients at risk for heart disease as well as full range of treatment options for women already diagnosed with heart disease care. Find out if you are at risk for heart disease by scheduling your comprehensive cardiac screening. Call 404-778-7777.

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Simple Test Can Help Predict Future Risk for Heart Attacks

New research indicates that a blood test that is relatively simple can predict a patient’s risk of suffering a future heart attack. Physicians can determine what patients need more aggressive testing and treatment as well as those who are low – risk patients so they can avoid unnecessary tests. Before this research was completed it was not possible to differentiate a patient with heart disease who was at risk for a future heart attack versus a patient who was not likely to suffer future cardiac events. Therefore, cardiologists are now able to quickly treat the at risk patients and monitor those at lower risk.

Emory cardiologist Arshed Quyyumi, MD and Stephen E. Epstien, MD of MedStar Heart Institute are the senior authors of this research. During the research they studied over 3400 cardiology patients who had confirmed coronary artery disease or suspected disease. Each patient was followed for over 2 years.

Read the full news article and more about the new findings that were published in the Journal of American College of Cardiology.

About Arshed Quyyumi, MD

Dr. Quyyumi is a Professor, Division of Cardiology, Emory University School of Medicine, Co-Director, Emory Clinical Cardiovascular Research Institute (ECCRI)

Dr. Arshed A. Quyyumi has been involved in clinical translational research in cardiovascular diseases for over 25 years. Dr. Quyyumi received his undergraduate degree in Pharmacology and medical degree from the University of London, England. He completed his residency at Guy’s and Royal Free Hospitals in London, and cardiology fellowships at National Heart Hospital, London; Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston; and the National Institutes of Health. After completion of his residency and fellowship, he served in several capacities in the Cardiology Branch of National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, NIH in Bethesda, MD, including Senior Investigator and Director of the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory. In 2001 he was appointed Professor of Medicine in the Division of Cardiology at Emory University School of Medicine, and in 2010 he was named Co-Director of the Emory Clinical Cardiovascular Research Institute (ECCRI). Since 2005, Dr. Quyyumi has been awarded more than $9 million in research funding. He serves on the Editorial Boards of several national journals, is a member on several Scientific Advisory Boards, and is a reviewer for the NIH-NHLBI Study Sections. Dr. Quyyumi has authored more than 180 peer-reviewed publications and has been an invited speaker and session chair at numerous National and International scientific meetings and conferences.

Dr. Quyyumi’s research focus includes vascular biology, angiogenesis, progenitor cell biology, mechanisms of myocardial ischemia, and the role of genetic and environmental risks on vascular disease. Other interests have spanned the fields of personalized medicine and disparities in cardiovascular diseases. During his academic career, Dr. Quyyumi has carried out more than 50 NIH, industry-funded, or investigator-initiated projects, including numerous clinical trials.

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New Treatment Available at Emory for the 850,000 U.S. Adults at Risk for Sudden Cardiac Arrest

New Treatment Cardiac Arrest RiskEmory University Hospital Midtown and Emory University Hospital in Atlanta are among the first hospitals nationwide and the only hospitals in Georgia to have access to the world’s first and only commercially available subcutaneous implantable defibrillator (S-ICD) for the treatment of patients at risk for sudden cardiac arrest (SCA).

Emory has been a part of the clinical trials to get this device approved and was the third highest enrolling center nationwide. Electrophysiologist Michael Lloyd, MD will be performing the procedure for the first time since the device has been approved on the open market on November 12, 2012.

The S-ICD System, produced by Boston Scientific, is designed to provide the same protection from SCA as transvenous implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs); however the S-ICD System sits entirely just below the skin without the need for thin, insulated wires – known as electrodes or ‘leads’ – to be placed into the heart itself. This leaves the heart and blood vessels untouched, offering physicians and patients an alternative treatment to transvenous ICDs.

Sudden cardiac arrest is an abrupt loss of heart function. Most episodes are caused by the rapid and/or chaotic activity of the heart known as ventricular tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation. Recent estimates show that approximately 850,000 people in the United States are at risk of SCA and indicated for an ICD device, but remain unprotected.

Emory Electrophysiologists Mikhael El Chami, MD, Michael Hoskins, MD, Angel Leon, MD, David DeLurgio, MD, Jonathan Langberg, MD and Michael Lloyd, MD have been instrumental in getting this device approved and will be performing this procedure.

Dr. Michael LloydAbout Michael Lloyd, MD:
Dr. Lloyd began practicing medicine at Emory in 2007—he specializes in Cardiology and Cardiac Electrophysiology. His areas of clinical interest and research include arrhythmias, electrophysiology lab, and pacemaker. Dr. Lloyd’s organizational leadership memberships include the American College of Cardiology, the American Heart Association, and the Heart Rhythm Society.

 

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Astounding Percentage of Heart Failure Patients Suffer Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Stress & Heart Attack RiskAn alarming percentage of people who suffer heart attacks or other acute coronary events, one in eight, experience clinically significant symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

PTSD is an anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to a terrifying event or ordeal in which grave physical or personal harm occurred or was threatened to occur. Post-traumatic stress disorder, usually, associated with military personal after war or sexual assault victims, is now being referenced for heart failure patients.

Each year, about 1.4 million people in the United States experience an acute coronary syndrome (ACS), a condition brought about by sudden reduced blood flow to the heart. The most common symptom prompting diagnosis of ACS is chest pain, often radiating of the left arm or angle of the jaw, pressure-like in character, and associated with nausea and sweating. Numerous small studies have suggested that ACS-induced PTSD is common and can have serious health consequences, but its prevalence is not known.

To understand the severity of the problem, the first combined review, or meta-analysis, of clinical studies of ACS-induced PTSD was recently conducted. The 24 studies in the meta-analysis included a total of 2,383 ACS patients from around the globe.

The research conducted suggests that clinically significant PTSD symptoms induced by ACS are moderately prevalent and are associated with increased risk for recurrent cardiac events and mortality. Although, further tests of the association of ACS-induced PTSD and clinical outcomes are needed, the numbers are significant; overall 12 percent (one in eight) of the patients in the study developed clinically significant PTSD symptoms and four percent of study participants met full diagnostic criteria for the ACS-induced PTSD.

Dr. Donald Edmondson, leader of the study, stated, “Given that some 1.4 million ACS patients are discharged from the U.S. hospitals each year, our results suggest that 168,000 patients will develop clinically significant PTSD symptoms. That is quite substantial. However, there is abundant evidence that psychological disorders in heart patients are under recognized and undertreated. In fact, under diagnosis may be even more pronounced in cardiac practices than in other types of medical practices.”  Edmondson also states that “Fortunately, there are good treatments for people with PTSD, but first, physicians and patients have to be aware that this is a problem. Family members can also help. We know that social support is a good protective factor against PTSD due to any type of traumatic event.”

For more information on the ACS induced PTSD analysis, you can review the paper titled “Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Induced by Acute Coronary Syndrome: A meta analytic review of prevalence and associated clinical outcomes.” or check out the video below with Emory’s, Dr. Laurence Sperling, Director for the Center of Heart Disease prevention at the Emory Clinic.

Understanding Cardiac Arrest in Athletes Such as Fabrice Muamba

Fabrice Muamba

Source: CNN

Emory Heart & Vascular Center cardiologist Chandan Devireddy, MD recently sat down with the team at CNN to discuss what likely happened to English soccer player, Fabrice Muamba, when he collapsed from sudden cardiac arrest during a game earlier this month.

In the CNN interview, Dr. Devireddy also the cautions and guidelines athletes need to take to diagnose and prevent sudden cardiac death. To get Dr. Devireddy’s full take on cardiac arrest and athletes, check out his interview with CNN here.

Emory’s Heart & Vascular Center is consistently recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of the top heart health centers in the nation. The Emory Heart & Vascular Center offers services that cover the entire continuum of care, from prevention and early detection to the latest in cardiovascular treatment. In fact, Emory has one of the few dedicated hypertrophic cardiomyopathy clinics (HCM) in the US. Emory’s specialized HCM center offers comprehensive care (surgery, interventional cardiology, genetic testing, etc.), as well as greater experience and expertise.

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Can You Regenerate Your Heart after Heart Attack with Your Own Stem Cells?

Emory physicians are conducting research on how to use heart stem cells to help regenerate heart muscle in individuals who have experienced a heart attack. This effort is looking at ways stem cells can replace damaged heart cells and restore cardiac function.

Heart attack survivor Don Robinson was involved in a phase I clinical trial at Emory to test if his own stem cells would help regenerate his heart. For this, stem cells were taken from his body during a bone marrow transplant.

Clinicians involved in the trial are working to find cells that are likely to enhance blood vessel formation and protect the heart muscle from further damage. Mr. Robinson was given 10,000,000 cells after the heart attack, but before the scaring could take place. Scans performed as part of the study now show that Mr. Robinson’s heart has regenerated.

Emory is continually leading the way for advanced new treatments for heart disease. The phase I trial was testing safety of this procedure, but a phase II trial will soon begin at Emory to test this procedure further.

To learn more about Mr. Robinson’s experience, view the full story here.

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Patient Story – Can Stress Lead to a Heart Attack?

Stress & Heart Attack RiskEmory patient, Donna Fielding, a healthy looking 41 year old mother of two is sure that stress and her high-intensity type A personality lead to her heart attack at 37. Her heart attack taught Donna to “take a step back, take a deep breath, and make a decision.” She doesn’t let the “little things” in life ruin her days any longer.

Emory physicians are doing research to study the connection between stress and heart attack risk. According Emory physician, Dr. David Sheps, when you get stressed your heart rate and blood pressure go up.

View Donna’s story and learn about the research Emory is doing in a video from Fox 5 Atlanta, below:

Take control of your stress and potentially reduce your risk for heart disease!

Heart Attack Atop Stone Mountain?

Atlanta Heart Walk 2011We hope having a heart attack on Stone Mountain is not something you will never have to worry about, but for one Emory Heart & Vascular Center patient, he had to take quick action to save his life. Luckily Howard Dean survived to tell the story and is now participating in the Emory HeartWise Heart Disease Risk Reduction program. He has even returned to hike Stone Mountain since that crazy day. View this Fox 5 Atlanta piece on Howard’s story:

To help keep your heart healthy, register to join us this Saturday, October 29th for the American Heart Association’s Metro Atlanta Heart Walk! If you don’t have a team, you can join our Emory team!

  1. Visit www.atlantaheartwalk.org
  2. To register as a participant, click Register and then click “I agree to the waiver.”
  3. Select Join a Team. Find Emory Healthcare in the drop-down box, and find the name of the team you want to join.
  4. Login to your personal Heart Walk page and personalize it by telling your story and adding a photo.

Coronary Artery Calcium Scoring: What Does it Involve?

As we’ve mentioned in previous blog posts, atherosclerotic plaque is made up of a combination of fat, cholesterol, and calcium beneath the inner layer of the arteries. The coronary arteries supply oxygen-rich blood to the heart, and the presence and severity of calcified plaque in these vessels is an indirect way to assess the presence of atherosclerosis. The sudden rupture of one of these plaques can cause a heart attack, which is why it’s crucial to know if an individual has accumulated large amounts of atherosclerosis.

An easy way of accomplishing this is through a cardiac CT scan—with this non-invasive method we obtain information on the level of calcified plaque build-up. If calcified plaque is detected, atherosclerosis of the coronary arteries (coronary artery disease: CAD) is present. Two-thirds of heart attacks aren’t caused by the narrowing of the coronary artery, but as I mentioned—by plaque rupturing within the artery wall.

With CT scanning we calculate a calcium score, which measures the extent of plaque burden on your arteries. We report 3 pieces of information with the calcium score: 1) your own absolute score 2) your percentile of calcium score, which tells you how you rank in comparison with people of the your age, sex and race, and 3) your estimated “vascular age”; this is an estimation of how healthy (i.e. young) or diseased (i.e. older) your coronary arteries are compared to people with similar backgrounds, and therefore gives you an indication of your relative risk.

Other components of our Heart CT scan screenings include:

Blood Pressure

If your blood pressure measures over 140/90 mm Hg, it is considered to be at a high level. Some people refer to high blood pressure as “the silent killer” because it can cause severe damage on the body with little to no symptoms.  In fact, it can cause strokes, heart disease and damage to your kidneys or eyesight if left untreated.

Fasting Glucose

The fasting glucose test measures your blood sugar level for the presence of early diabetes. While diabetes is a treatable condition, it may not manifest for years, and can cause damage to your heart and vessels without you realizing it.

Framingham Risk Score

The Framingham Risk Score indicates your risk of experiencing a heart attack within ten years, and is based on a combination of factors such as your age, sex, your blood pressure and cholesterol level.

Overall Cardiovascular Risk

This measurement results from the combination of your Framingham Risk Score and calcium score.

Emory’s comprehensive cardiovascular screening is very reasonably priced at $150, and includes all of the components listed above.

If you have any questions about our Heart CT scans, please let me know in the comments.

About Paolo Raggi, MD:

Dr. Raggi specializes in Internal Medicine and Cardiology, and has been with Emory since 2006. His areas of clinical interest include cardiac CT and MRI, echocardiography, nuclear cardiology, arteriosclerosis and lipids, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and valvular disease. Dr. Raggi is fluent in Italian, Spanish, and French, and holds Organizational Leadership Memberships at the American College of Cardiology and the American College of Physicians.