When cancer treatment damages your heart

by Carolyn Thomas     @HeartSisters

It seems a cruel irony: the very thing that may have saved your life after a frightening cancer diagnosis is the same thing that can ultimately endanger your heart. I first heard of the known link between cancer treatments and later heart disease when I was a text editor of the palliative care textbook called Medical Care of the Dying.1  I learned about patients with end-stage heart disease caused by their cancer treatments, sometimes decades earlier.  .   .
Continue reading “When cancer treatment damages your heart”

Coronary stents: interventions that come with a cost

by Carolyn Thomas       @HeartSisters

Remember last month when I covered the topic of stretch pain” in heart patients who have had a coronary stent implanted?

To recap, temporary post-stent stretch pain in the chest is due to the dilation of an artery when a metal stent is being implanted inside that artery, and it typically occurs in about 40 per cent of stent patients.  A number of you wrote in with some variation of this question: “Is it still stretch pain if it’s happening months afterwards?”

And now a new study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology  suggests that something entirely different might be going on.2 .      .      , Continue reading “Coronary stents: interventions that come with a cost”

Fun factoids about peppers, pigs and your heart

by Carolyn Thomas      @HeartSisters 

Whenever I do my “Heart-Smart Women”  public presentations, I bring along a unique prop. To help me demonstrate to my audiences what a woman’s heart looks like, I pull out a red bell pepper. Yes. A pepper.

When I shop for my prop at my local grocery store, I look for just the right one: a nice healthy red colour, slightly pointy at the bottom, about the size of my clenched fist, and I weigh it at the produce department scale looking for one that weighs about 250 grams.

But am I wrong about those comparisons to the heart?        . Continue reading “Fun factoids about peppers, pigs and your heart”

Post-stent chest pain

by Carolyn Thomas     @HeartSisters 

A friend’s daughter (who happens to be a cardiac nurse) phoned to check on me a few days after I was discharged from the hospital following my heart attack. I felt so relieved to hear her voice because  something was really starting to worry me:  I was still having chest pain.

Hadn’t the blocked coronary artery that had caused my “widow maker” heart attack just recently been magically unblocked? Wasn’t that newly revascularized artery now propped wide open with a shiny metal stent? Shouldn’t I be feeling better?

And that’s when I heard the words “stretch pain”  for the first time.    .       .  Continue reading “Post-stent chest pain”

A professor’s take on women’s heart disease

by Carolyn Thomas     @HeartSisters 

The ominous title of this 2019 report,Cardiovascular Disease and the Female Disadvantage makes it fascinating reading for all women, but potentially repellent for the minority of physicians who still dismiss the entire notion of a gender gap in cardiology(1)sadly, the ones least likely to read it. Yet I know they are out there, because some of them openly call me names on Twitter whenever I cover a scientific paper on this topic.

Luckily for the rest of us, however, the expert writing this report is the very credible Professor Mark Woodward at the University of Oxford (who also teaches at Australia’s University of New South Wales, and at Johns Hopkins University in the U.S.)         Continue reading “A professor’s take on women’s heart disease”