Health and Fitness

Research Warns Of Risks Of Low Potassium In Heart Failure Patients With CKD

New research from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) says low potassium levels produce an increased risk of death or hospitalization in patients with heart failure and chronic kidney disease (CKD). In findings reported in January in Circulation: Heart Failure, a journal of the American Heart Association, the researchers say that even a mild decrease in serum potassium level increased the risk of death in this patient group. "Hypokalemia, or low potassium, is common in heart-failure patients and is associated with poor outcomes, as is chronic kidney disease, " said C. Barrett Bowling, M.D., a fellow in the UAB Division of Gerontology, Geriatrics and Palliative Care. "But little is known about the prevalence and effect of hypokalemia in heart-failure patients who also have CKD." Bowling, a graduate of the UAB Internal Medicine residency program, said these findings indicate that in patients with heart failure and CKD the serum potassium levels should be monitored routinely and carefully maintained within a safe range.

Providence Medical Centers Host 16th Annual Cardiovascular Symposium

Designed for a wide spectrum of generalists and specialists who diagnose and manage cardiovascular conditions, the Providence Medical Centers' 16th Annual Cardiovascular Symposium will explore new advances in preventive and interventional cardiology, electrophysiology, and vascular and cardiovascular surgery. Held Friday and Saturday, February 26 and 27, at the Sheraton Universal Hotel in Universal City, California, a highlight of the Symposium will be a live feed carotid stent procedure performed by Zahi Nassoura, MD, FACS. Sessions will provide updates on preventive cardiology, interventional treatments, cardiac arrhythmia, lead extraction surgery, cardiac surgery and vascular disease. "Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, " said Benjamin Simon, MD, FACC, and course director of the event. "Even as the medical field makes breakthroughs in the treatment of the disease, widespread risk factors are increasing the prevalence of cardiovascular disease.

Statement Of Health And Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius On American Heart Month February 2010

American Heart Month is a time to spread awareness of the dangers of heart disease and stroke, and recommit to strengthening prevention, improving treatments, and helping all Americans live longer, healthier lives. Hundreds of thousands of American families are devastated each year by heart disease. Even though the risk factors for heart disease can be prevented or controlled, it is the leading killer of both men and women in the United States. And yet, heart disease is preventable. By leading a healthy lifestyle, Americans can lower their risk of heart disease by as much as 82 percent. This means following a heart healthy eating plan, getting regular physical activity, maintaining a healthy weight, and not smoking. Even if you're diagnosed with heart disease, there are many steps you can take to extend your years and increase your quality of life. Americans with heart disease should eat a low-fat, low-sodium, nutritious diet, get regular physical activity, take their medication, and talk to their doctor.

Early Life Stress May Predict Cardiovascular Disease

Early life stress could be a risk factor for cardiovascular disease in adulthood, researchers report. "We think early life stress increases sensitivity to a hormone known to increase your blood pressure and increases your cardiovascular risk in adult life, " said Dr. Jennifer Pollock, biochemist in the Vascular Biology Center at the Medical College of Georgia and corresponding author on the study published online in Hypertension. The studies in a proven model of chronic behavioral stress - separating rat pups from their mother three hours daily for two weeks - showed no long-term impact on key indicators of cardiovascular disease such as increased blood pressure, heart rate or inflammation in blood vessel walls. But when the rats reached adulthood, an infusion of the hormone angiotensin II resulted in rapid and dramatic increases in all key indicators in animals that experienced early life stress. Stress activates the renin-angiotensin system which produces angiotensin II and is a major regulator of blood vessel growth and inflammation - both heavily implicated in heart disease.

Simple, Quick Test Can Send Patient Safely Home From ER After Chest Pain

Researchers at the Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center have shown that a simple, inexpensive test can determine whether it is safe to send home a patient who comes to the emergency room with chest pain. "It is imperative to accurately diagnose patients who come to the emergency department with chest pain, " said Dr. John Mahmarian, cardiologist at the Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center and principal investigator of the study. "Unfortunately, diagnosing chest pain is often expensive and time-consuming. This new data could save millions of health care dollars and countless hours spent waiting on unnecessary tests." Mahmarian's research, which was published online today in the Annals of Emergency Medicine, shows that patients with a coronary artery calcium score of zero can be safely sent home without further cardiac testing. Coronary artery calcium scoring (CACS) is a simple and readily available test for identifying coronary artery disease. CACS is done with a computed topography (CT) scanner.

Breakthrough Heart Scanner Being Developed At The University Of Leeds Will Allow Earlier Diagnosis

An innovative cardiac scanner will dramatically improve the process of diagnosing heart conditions. The portable magnetometer* is being developed at the University of Leeds, with funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) playing a key role. Due to its unprecedented sensitivity to magnetic fluctuations the device will be able to detect a number of conditions, including heart problems in foetuses, earlier than currently available diagnostic techniques such as ultrasound, ECG (electrocardiogram) and existing cardiac magnetometers. It will also be smaller, simpler to operate, able to gather more information and significantly cheaper than other devices currently available. Another key benefit is that, for the first time, skilled nurses as well as doctors will be able to carry out heart scans, helping to relieve pressure on hospital waiting lists. The device will also function through clothes, cutting the time needed to perform scans and removing the need for patients to undress for an examination.

Women's Health Alert: Fighting Heart Disease In Your 40s

The risk for heart-related death is increasing in young adults ages 35 to 54, and the numbers are even more alarming for younger women. It is the number-one cause of death for both men and women in the United States, yet every year since 1984 more women have died of cardiovascular health problems than men, according to the American Heart Association. "Although there has been a general decline in deaths caused by heart disease, the last decade has seen a steady increase among younger women ages 35 to 44. Women account for more than 50 percent of deaths due to heart disease, " says Dr. Holly Andersen, the director of education and outreach for the Ronald O. Perelman Heart Institute at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center. Dr. Andersen offers the following advice to women the following advice on how to stay healthy, know their risk factors, and get the best medical treatments to take better care of their hearts. -- Enjoy yourself. Eat right, attempt to get a good night's sleep, practice stress reduction, and have some fun -- all have been shown to lower the risk of heart disease.

Sorin Group Announces Market Release And First Implant Of Next-Generation Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy Defibrillator

Sorin Group (MIL:SRN) (Reuters Code: SORN.MI), a global leader in the treatment of cardiovascular disease, announced U.S. FDA approval and first implant of its next-generation of cardiac resynchronization therapy defibrillator (CRT-D), Paradym™ CRT Model 8750. Featuring a new, state-of-the-art battery technology, Paradym™ CRT delivers 37 Joules, the highest energy of any implantable cardiac defibrillator (ICD) currently available. In addition, Paradym™ offers consistent charge times throughout the life of the device (10s at Beginning Of Life, 13s at Elective Replacement Indicator - ERI), improved longevity, and a 6-month ERI to End of Service (EOS) period, twice as long as any other ICD. Paradym™ CRT is designed to allow more flexibility in the management of cardiac resynchronization and anti-tachyarrhythmia therapy in heart failure patients. BTO (Brady-Tachy Overlap) is designed to unlock pacing and detection to ensure delivery of resynchronization therapy at high pacing rates during exercise without any compromise on the management of slow ventricular tachycardias (VTs).

German Man Bridged-to-Transplant After 615 Days Of Life With SynCardia's Total Artificial Heart

Bobby Dhawan, 51, is the owner of a successful taxi service in Germany. Normally, he does not allow bumper stickers to be placed on his cabs, but recently, he made a special exception for a sticker which reads, "Don't take your organs to heaven - heaven knows we need them here! " Last August, Dhawan received a donor heart transplant after living for 615 days with a SynCardia temporary CardioWest™ Total Artificial Heart. For nearly a year and a half prior to his transplant, Dhawan had enjoyed life at home with his family and gone back to work using the European portable driver to power his Total Artificial Heart. "With the Total Artificial Heart, my health was so good and I felt so strong. I told myself, 'I don't want a human heart anymore, I want to keep my Total Artificial Heart, ' " said Dhawan. "Today, however, I think the donor heart transplant is the best thing I've ever done. I feel like a newborn person." Dhawan was first diagnosed with an enlarged heart in 1996.

Medtronic Announces Two Late Breaking Clinical Trials Accepted For American College Of Cardiology Meeting

Medtronic, Inc. (NYSE: MDT) announced pivotal data for the Medtronic Arctic Front® CryoAblation Catheter System will be presented as a late breaking clinical trial at the 59th Annual Scientific Session of the American College of Cardiology on Monday, March 15 at 8 a.m. ET. The STOP-AF (Sustained Treatment of Paroxysmal Atrial Fibrillation) clinical trial is evaluating the safety and efficacy of the Arctic Front CryoAblation Catheter System for paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (AF) patients. The system is approved for use in Europe, Australia and Hong Kong and is under investigational use in the United States. Additionally, data from the Medtronic-sponsored CONNECT (Clinical Evaluation of Remote Notification to Reduce Time to Clinical Decision) clinical trial also will be presented as a late breaker on Monday, March 15. The trial is assessing how the use of the Medtronic CareLink® Network to remotely monitor patients with Medtronic cardiac resynchronization therapy-defibrillators (CRT-Ds) and implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs) equipped with Conexus®

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