The Emory Heart and Vascular Center is offering screenings and information during the month of February to heighten awareness about America's leading health problem. Low cost or free screenings and lectures will be offered on the Emory University campus and around the metro Atlanta area throughout the month in observance of American Heart Month.
Many of the common and effective screenings and tests that will be offered include: EKGs, blood glucose, cholesterol, osteoporosis and blood pressure. Emory Healthcare professionals, including cardiologists and dieticians, will cover lifesaving topics including: Gum Disease and Its Relationship to Heart Disease; Healthy Nutrition Choices; Reducing Your Risk of Heart Disease and Leg Pain from Atherosclerosis. Other highlights of the month include a Q&A session with an Emory cardiologist and cooking demonstrations.
"Empowering people with knowledge and encouraging them to take action is essential in the fight against heart disease," says Laurence Sperling, MD, Emory medical director of preventive cardiology. "Even if a person finds they are at high risk for heart disease, there are a number of proven ways you can lower those risks and work to prevent future heart attacks and strokes."
Dr. Sperling will speak about prevention Saturday, Feb. 10 at Noon in The Emory Clinic (Building A), 1365 Clifton Rd NE.
February was first proclaimed National Heart Month by President Lyndon Johnson in 1964. Even though great advances in diagnosing and treating heart ailments have been made over the last forty years, more people die from cardiovascular disease annually than from the next five leading causes of death combined, including cancer, diabetes, accidents and influenza/ pneumonia. Recent Heart and Vascular Advances at Emory Patients who have suffered a very recent acute heart attack can participate in an Emory clinical study using stem cells generated within the bone marrow and then injected into the heart arteries in an attempt to generate new heart muscle. In response to damage to heart muscle, the body makes growth factors that stimulate the bone marrow to release stem cells that develop into new blood vessels or new myocardial (heart muscle) tissue. Emory doctors hope to make a larger number of cells available to the area of heart muscle damage.
Emory cardiologists are actively involved in percutaneous procedures for valvular heart disease. They perform both aortic and mitral valvuloplasty and are one of six national sites named to study a new mitral valve repair device. Emory expertise affords a patient who is too sick to undergo major heart surgery an opportunity to have a mitral valve repaired with this non- surgical procedure. Soon, Emory doctors will begin a new clinical trial to study implantation of a new aortic valve using a catheter.
Georgia Tech and Emory University researchers have developed an innovative new technology using a 3- D model of the heart that will help pediatric cardiac surgeons design and test a customized surgical procedure before they ever pick up a scalpel. With a better understanding of each child's unique heart defect, surgeons could greatly improve the likelihood that children with complex defects could have smoother recoveries and an improved quality of life.
A new imaging technology, PET- CT, is used by Emory cardiologists to create exceptional clarity when viewing the heart to more precisely diagnose problems as well as speed up evaluation and treatment selection. For example, with this technique doctors can see which artery is supplying a certain area of the heart and correlate that with information about the artery causing the patient's defect, and then quickly determine the most beneficial procedure.
Cardiothoracic surgeons at Emory have set a new standard for performing coronary artery bypass surgery using an "off- pump" procedure in order to keep the heart beating during surgery rather than having to stop the hear t. By keeping the heart beating in 80 percent of the bypass surgeries at Emory [vs. nationally where the heart is stopped in 80 percent of cases], doctors can help patients recover more quickly and with fewer problems.
At Emory, nursing researchers have found that heart patients experience heightened anxiety and depression after a implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) implant, especially during the first year. When the researchers gave these patients information on symptom management and provided cognitive behavioral techniques, coping skills and illness appraisal, the patients increased their use of active coping techniques and reduced their threatening perceptions of the ICD.
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