Posts Tagged ‘heart attack’

What is a Blood Clot?

bloodclot_7-17When you get a cut, blood clotting is your body’s healthy response to stem the bleeding and begin to close the wound so it can heal. But too much of a good thing can cause problems if it happens inside the body and obstructs blood flow through healthy blood vessels. Depending on where the clot (or “thrombus”) occurs and ends up–they can travel in your blood vessels– it can cause serious problems that require medical attention, including stroke, heart attack, or pulmonary embolism (clot in the lungs).

At risk

Unhealthy clotting can be caused or exacerbated by a number of factors, so it’s worth being aware of danger signs if you take certain medications (like oral contraceptives, hormone therapy drugs and some breast cancer medications), have a family history of blood clots or heart problems, smoke, , are pregnant, obese, have high cholesterol or have recently had surgery.

Causes for concern

Here are some red flags that could indicate a problem. You should seek medical assistance if you have swelling, redness, numbness or pain in an arm or leg, or you:

  • feel short of breath;
  • experience chest pain for more than a few minutes;
  • have pain that extends into your arm, back, shoulder or jaw;
  • have sudden severe lightheadedness
  • have numbness in your face, arm, or leg
  • have sudden trouble speaking or understanding others
  • have sudden trouble seeing (e.g., blurred or double vision)
  • have sudden weakness in an arm or a leg

Treatment

Your doctor will need to consider all medications, supplements, and herbs you’re taking, for their potential impact on blood clotting. Your history, a physical exam, blood tests and imaging may all be used to confirm diagnosis. Depending on the location and severity, drugs to dissolve the clot (or keep it from growing larger) or surgery to remove it might be indicated. There are two types of blood thinning drugs you might be prescribed, anticoagulants (such as warfarin) or antiplatelets (such as aspirin). If you have had a stroke or a heart attack, you will also need a cholesterol medication called statin to reduce the chance of a future event.

Prevention 

Keep that blood moving! Maintaining an active, non-smoking lifestyle with regular exercise, healthy weight and diet and low blood pressure could go a long way in preventing risk factors. Try to break up long periods of sitting with breaks to walk around. If you have risk factors, talk with your doctor about habits and/or drugs that can reduce your risk.

About Dr. Jaber
Wissam Jaber, MD is a cardiologist at Emory University Hospital Midtown where he runs the pulmonary embolism treatment program.  He has more than 7 years of experience in interventional cardiology, including treating patients with heart attack and blocked heart arteries.

What’s Causing Your Leg Pain? – Join Us for a Live Web Chat!

PAD Live ChatPeripheral artery disease (PAD) is a commonly undiagnosed disease affecting about 8.5 million Americans. Symptoms vary from cramping in the lower extremities, as well as pain or tiredness in leg or hip muscles. According to the American Heart Association, many people mistake the symptoms of PAD for something else, which is why it can easily go undiagnosed. Having the correct diagnosis is important because people with PAD are at a higher risk of heart attack or stroke, and if untreated, PAD can lead to gangrene and amputation.

Many people think their leg pain is due to arthritis, sciatica or just a part of aging. People with diabetes may even confuse PAD pain with a neuropathy, a common diabetic symptom that causes a burning or painful discomfort of the feet or thighs. It is important to know that, while PAD is potentially life-threatening, it can be managed or even reversed with proper care. If you’re having any kind of recurring pain, talk to your healthcare professional.

Join me on Tuesday, March 24, at 12:00 p.m. for an interactive web chat entitled “What’s causing your leg pain?” Dr. Robertson will be available to answer questions and discuss various topics about PAD, including symptoms, diagnosis and misdiagnosis, prevention and treatment.

During this interactive web chat, you’ll be able to ask questions and get real-time answers from our Emory Healthcare professional.

Register now for our March 24 chat at emoryhealthcare.org/mdchats.

About Dr. Robertson

Gregory Robertson, MDGreg Robertson, MD, is the chief of the Emory Heart and Vascular Clinic at Johns Creek. At the Emory Johns Creek Hospital he is chief of cardiology and the medical director of the Cardiac Catheterization laboratory and interventional program. He is board certified in Vascular Medicine, Endovascular Medicine, Interventional Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine.

Dr. Robertson’s research has had a focus on the development of new technologies and techniques to treat blocked leg arteries in patients with peripheral arterial disease, helping patients walk farther and prevent limb amputation in diabetic patients. While in the San Francisco Bay Area for 16 years before moving to Atlanta, he practiced with the well-known medical device inventor Dr. John Simpson, whose development teams invented the atherectomy procedure and the first percutaneous arterial closure device. Atherectomy is a procedure which allows the physician to remove plaque in blocked arteries without major surgery. His newest project is with Dr. Simpson’s invention of the Avinger Ocelot and Pantheris devices which open blocked arteries using smart laser imaging.

Dr. Robertson’s clinical expertise is oriented on performing minimally-invasive procedures to avoid major surgery. He has developed many of the vascular programs at the new Emory Johns Creek Hospital including 1) carotid artery stenting, 2) percutaneous repair of abdominal aortic aneurysms and 3) limb preservation for those at risk of limb amputation. He has also developed the cardiac intervention programs for emergency heart attack victims and elective procedures to include PCI and PFO/ASD closure.

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.