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Heart disease and stroke statistics update — 2008.
American Heart Association.
National quality indicators: 2005 national statistics, coronary
artery bypass surgery.
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
Culler SD, Simon AW, Brown PP, Kugelmass AD, Reynolds MR, Rask
KJ. Sex differences in hospital risk-adjusted mortality rates for
Medicare beneficiaries undergoing CABG surgery.
Archives of Internal Medicine 2008; 168:2317-22.
For anyone who takes warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven,
generic), a number of studies have demonstrated that
checking how quickly blood clots using a meter at home once a
week is as good as going to a clinic once a month. It's much less
hassle and just as accurate. The Home INR
Study, reported at the American Heart Association meeting,
showed that the two strategies are equivalent. Unfortunately, it
isn't as easy to get a meter to check your international
normalized ratio (INR), a measure of the blood's tendency to
clot, as it is to get a home blood sugar monitor. First you have
to get a prescription from your doctor. Then you have to get a
loaner device and be trained to use it. Some doctors' offices are
set up to do this, but most work with a business that specializes
in home INR monitoring. These include:
Quality Assured Services and
Adapted from the Harvard Heart Letter
Minutes matter when someone collapses from a cardiac
Every day more than a thousand Americans keel over, felled by a
cardiac arrest. Most stricken with this type of attack die. More
could be saved with faster emergency care.
Generic medications work as well as their brand-name counterparts
at a fraction of the cost. Doctors aren't always aware of which
drugs have generic versions, so you may need to do some
We can recommend two excellent Web sites for doing this:
DrugDigest.org lets you
look up individual drugs or browse through drug categories. To
find out whether a brand-name drug has a generic alternative,
enter its name in the Search box on the left side of the page.
Along with telling you its active ingredient and drug class, the
information lists whether or not there's a generic version
available. Just because a particular drug hasn't yet gone generic
doesn't mean there isn't a generic alternative. At the top of the
DrugDigest.org page, hover over the "Compare Drugs" tab and
choose "Drug Comparisons" from the drop-down box.
Researchers examining deaths during or soon after bypass surgery
found that the surgeons and hospitals that did the most surgeries
had the lowest death rates.
A high-sensitivity version of the C-reactive protein test can
help detect inflammation caused by atherosclerosis in people at
moderate risk of heart disease.
Analysis of clinical trials showed that generic versions of cardiovascular medications are as effective as their name-brand counterparts.
Heart disease and depression are often closely linked. Depressed
people are more likely to develop heart disease, and those living
with heart disease are more likely to become depressed. The main
avenues of treatment are medication, therapy, and exercise.
Women who experience preeclampsia during a pregnancy may be at
higher risk of a heart attack, stroke, or other heart disease
later in life.
Two studies found that use of a statin or daily low-dose aspirin
may artificially lower the reading of a prostate-specific antigen
Home monitoring devices for use by people taking warfarin
compared favorably to regular blood tests done at a medical
More people are surviving heart attacks and receiving better care
afterward, which has led to an increase in the number of people
living with heart failure.
Another large study adds to the evidence that taking vitamin C
and vitamin E to protect against heart disease is not effective.
In the first month after surviving a heart attack, people are
four times more likely to have a cardiac arrest than in the
Using a special garment to squeeze the legs in time with the
heart can ease chest pain. The inflammation that causes
rheumatoid arthritis affects the heart as well as the joints.
My doctor told me I have an enlarged heart. What is this? What
causes it and what does it mean for my health?
Can muscle damage from a statin, or from strenuous exercise,
elevate creatinine even after I stopped taking the statin and
exercising but continue to take Zetia and Diovan HCT?