Do healthy people need an aspirin a day?

If you are healthy, haven’t been diagnosed with heart disease or other cardiovascular disease, and don’t have risk factors for them, aspirin probably isn’t for you. You’ll reap little benefit while exposing yourself to side effects you’d rather stay away from.  More »

February 2010 references and further reading

Baigent C, Blackwell L, Collins R, et al. Aspirin in the primary and secondary prevention of vascular disease: collaborative meta-analysis of individual participant data from randomised trials. Lancet 2009; 373:1849-60. De Berardis G, Sacco M, Strippoli GF, et al. Aspirin for primary prevention of cardiovascular events in people with diabetes: meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. BMJ 2009; 339:b4531. Aspirin for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease? Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin 2009; 47:122-5. (Locked) More »

Off-pump bypass surgery: Promise unfulfilled

Off-pump bypass surgery was touted as a better alternative to the traditional method, but findings show the two types yield similar results when performed by equally experienced surgeons. If the off-pump bypass procedure is the one your cardiac surgeon is most comfortable with, and he or she does it often with an experienced team, it’s a perfectly fine choice. But there is no compelling reason to pursue this new procedure, either. For now, the old standby — which itself was once a revolutionary new technique — is still the gold standard. More »

Raynaud's: The big chill for fingers and toes

Raynaud's phenomenon is a sudden spasm of the blood vessels in the hands that blocks blood flow to the skin, causing pain. There are two main types of Raynaud’s. Secondary Raynaud’s and Primary Raynaud’s. It isn’t always easy to tell one type from the other. Your doctor will use your story, symptoms, and some blood and other tests to make a diagnosis. (Locked) More »

Slow adoption of helpful heart failure drug

Studies have shown that people with heart failure can benefit from the drug spironolactone, but concerns about possible side effects may have made some doctors reluctant to prescribe it. It can sometimes boost potassium levels dangerously high. Spironolactone also causes breast swelling and tenderness, a condition called gynecomastia. If you have heart failure and a weakened left ventricle, ask your doctor if spironolactone is an option for you. (Locked) More »

Heart Beat: A vanishing breed

Researchers claim that only 8% of Americans are healthy enough to remain free of cardiovascular disease without the assistance of a medication. (Locked) More »