After a bunch of top cardiologists got together in San Francisco recently for the annual American College of Cardiology scientific meetings, Debra Sherman and her team did a fine job summing up highlights for Reuters.* One of their first take-home messages: some cardiologists believe that drug prescribing has gotten out of hand. Continue reading
“Despite national campaigns to increase awareness and reduce cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality in women, CVD remains our leading cause of death, annually killing more women than men.”
That statement from experts meeting at the Minnesota Women’s Heart Summit should send chills down your spine. For a number of years we have known that women are under-diagnosed for heart disease – and then under-treated even when appropriately diagnosed – yet here are a bunch of world-class cardiologists and public health experts still puzzling on how to address the deadly issue that is our #1 killer. Or, to paraphrase heart attack survivor Laura Heywood-Cory‘s take on the state of women’s heart health:
“Sucks to be female. Better luck next life!” Continue reading
Put your hand on your heart right now. I’m guessing that your hand is likely in the correct general location (although if you’re like most people in my women’s heart health presentation audiences, your hand is resting on your left chest area rather than over the heart’s actual central chest location, slightly tipped to the left). So go ahead and slide your hand a wee bit to the right where it belongs.
Now compare that little exercise to how well you’d know the location (or function) of your liver or your pancreas.
I’m pretty sure if we were playing Pin The Tail On the Major Organ, we’d lose on those two examples. That’s why I loved Dr. Roxanne Sukol‘s creative and plain-English description of the heart. Dr. Sukol is the founder of Your Health Is On Your Plate, and has spent much of the past 15 years making complex medical information easy for the rest of us to understand. Here’s how she describes our hearts: Continue reading
Being asked to write a book review is largely a royal pain. Authors hope you will be kind, while you hope the book at best might tell you something that every other book for heart patients hasn’t already told you. I frequently write here about books I like reading, but I won’t write about books I don’t – a waste of the very limited hours I have left on this earth, preferring instead to simply ignore them. As my late friend and co-author Jill Stewart Bowen used to say of our first book project together:
“The mediocre they can find for themselves.”
Perhaps that’s why a review copy of the book called Your Personal Guide: Angioplasty* sat on my coffee table for weeks (looking quite smart nestled on top of a pile of other heart books next to the candle centrepiece, I thought). One day, I finally got tired of looking at this latest addition to my living room decor and decided to give it a go. And within a very few pages, I learned some fascinating things I didn’t know before. Continue reading
It all started when cardiologist Dr. William Dillon of Louisville, Kentucky made this observation on his Twitter page about doing cardiac catheterization procedures:
As a two-time veteran of transradial (wrist) caths*, I felt just a wee bit alarmed by the last line of his tweet. We heart patients tend to get a wee bit alarmed by implications that those we trust may “never be good” at what they’ve just done to us, as described by the very people who work alongside them – those known as interventional cardiologists.
I felt similarly alarmed, by the way, during the recent FDA recall of defective Riata cardiac defibrillator leads when Dr. Laurence Epstein of Harvard’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital told Heartwire interviewers that ICD leads are sometimes “implanted poorly”, bluntly adding:
“You can’t account for knuckleheads putting them in. Some lead failures are going to be expected . . . Others fail because people put them in in horrible ways.” Continue reading
The incidence of atrial fibrillation increases as we age, so be on notice, you Baby Boomers. It’s the most common heart rhythm condition, and it’s also the most common heart-related reason for hospital admission. And as shown in this 90-second Heart and Stroke Foundation film (featuring Toronto’s Our Lady Peace drummer Jeremy Taggart), we should all know more about this heart rhythm condition, which can triple our risk of stroke. Continue reading