February 2012 references and further reading

Fischer MA, Choudhry NK, Brill G, Avorn J, Schneeweiss S, Hutchins D, Liberman JN, Brennan TA, Shrank WH. Trouble getting started: predictors of primary medication nonadherence. American Journal of Medicine 2011; 124:1081.e9-22. Bosworth HB, Granger BB, Mendys P, Brindis R, Burkholder R, Czajkowski SM, Daniel JG, Ekman I, Ho M, Johnson M, Kimmel SE, Liu LZ, Musaus J, Shrank WH, Whalley Buono E, Weiss K, Granger CB. Medication adherence: A call for action. American Heart Journal 2011; 162:412-24. Wolf MS, Curtis LM, Waite K, Bailey SC, Hedlund LA, Davis TC, Shrank WH, Parker RM, Wood AJ. Helping Patients Simplify and Safely Use Complex Prescription Regimens. Archives of Internal Medicine 2011; 171:300-5. (Locked) More »

Another warfarin alternative for stroke prevention in people with a-fib

Xarelto and Pradaxa offer alternatives to warfarin. While the two new drugs are more convenient to use and seem less likely to cause brain bleeding, only time will tell whether unforeseen side effects and risks crop up as more people use them. They are also more expensive than warfarin. People currently on warfarin who are thinking about switching and those with newly diagnosed atrial fibrillation who need to take a blood thinner should have a comprehensive conversation with their doctors about this important but very personal choice. If you do opt for one of the new drugs, pay attention to any future reports of adverse effects. (Locked) More »

No-surgery aortic valve replacement okay for some, not all

Until recently, replacing the aortic valve required open-heart surgery. Now that the FDA has approved  transcatheter aortic valve implantation, or TAVI, a no-surgery technique for replacing a failed aortic valve, many people with aortic stenosis are asking, "Can I get this?" Maybe — the FDA has for now restricted its use to people who are not good candidates for open-heart surgery. (Locked) More »

Living with an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator

Implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs) save many lives. They monitor the heart's rhythm and rate, emitting a low-energy electrical correction when they detect a minor heart rate abnormality. They can also deliver a more significant jolt, likened to a swift kick in the chest, to halt potentially life-threatening rhythm disruptions. But having an ICD can complicate — as well as save — a person's life. If you're contemplating getting an ICD, the more you know about how it works and what it's like to live with one, the better. Such knowledge can help you accept having the device, especially if a shock occurs. (Locked) More »