Were your 12-lead ECG electrodes placed where they should be?

by Carolyn Thomas    ♥   @HeartSisters

If you’ve had as many 12-lead ECG tests as I’ve had done over the years since my heart attack, you too may marvel at how swiftly the nurse or paramedic or Stress Test Clinic tech can slap those sticky electrode patches onto your chest, arms and legs.  Having observed many people slapping patches on me, I often wonder:  how do they know if they’re attaching those electrocardiogram patches onto the right anatomical places?       .  

Continue reading “Were your 12-lead ECG electrodes placed where they should be?”

Modern medicine is male-centric medicine, and that’s a problem for women.

by Carolyn Thomas    ♥   @HeartSisters 

In September, I mentioned here an important book written by Dr. Alyson McGregor, an Emergency physician and associate professor of medicine at Brown University.  The book: Sex Matters:  How Male-Centric Medicine Endangers Women’s Health and What We Can Do About It“.   Her first chapter opens with a story about Julie, a 32-year old woman she met in her Emergency department one day – a story that’s disturbingly familiar to women like me whose heart attack has been misdiagnosed:          .    Continue reading “Modern medicine is male-centric medicine, and that’s a problem for women.”

Why heart patients generally don’t say: “Doc, tell me what to do and I’ll do it!”

by Carolyn Thomas     ♥    @HeartSisters 

When you need medical help, how does your family doctor decide which diagnostic tests to order for you, and which treatments to recommend based on those test results?  Physicians are trained to rely on a type of professional playbook called clinical guidelines to help them make those decisions. But as Dr. Michael Vallis, a professor of family medicine at Dalhousie University in Halifax, described the problem family docs face with clinical guidelines:

“There’s just no way they can follow every single guideline. One of the biggest impediments to physicians following new guideline recommendations is that they’re overwhelmed.”       .
Continue reading “Why heart patients generally don’t say: “Doc, tell me what to do and I’ll do it!””

Family history of unusually early heart attack? You may carry this gene

by Carolyn Thomas     ♥    @HeartSisters 

.            Katherine Wilemon*

“After the shock of having a heart attack at age 39, I was a new mom at home with an infant, trying to make sense of being both a new parent and a heart disease patient”.    Katherine Wilemon had known since age 15 that she had high LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, but years later was diagnosed with a cholesterol disorder called familial hypercholesterolemia (FH), and then with elevated levels of another fatty particle in the blood called lipoprotein(a) – Said out loud, this is called “LP-little-(a).

One in five people worldwide have the same cardiac risk factor that Katherine had.  Dr. Henry Ginsberg at Columbia University, a leading expert on lipoprotein(a), explained in the New York Times: (“A Heart Risk Factor Even Doctors Don’t Know About”):

“People don’t know about it, physicians don’t know about it.”    
Continue reading “Family history of unusually early heart attack? You may carry this gene”

Heart Month awareness: doing the same thing, yet expecting different results

by Carolyn Thomas   ♥   @HeartSisters

February is our shortest month of the year and also the month officially acknowledged almost everywhere as Heart Health Awareness Month. Then we all turn the calendar page and glide over to March, the official month of Liver Health Awareness, Disability Awareness, Ovarian Cancer Awareness, Red Cross Awareness worldwide – and many other causes. My niggling question remains: do these assorted official days/weeks/months of awareness-raising actually help to raise awareness out there?  Continue reading “Heart Month awareness: doing the same thing, yet expecting different results”