Treating and preventing heart failure

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Javed Butler, MD, MPH:
Treating and preventing heart failure

July 1, 2009

An aging U.S. population, improved therapies, and an increase in the prevalence of obesity are boosting the number of people living with heart failure.

Javed Butler, MD, MPH, director of heart failure research at Emory Healthcare and associate professor of medicine at Emory University School of Medicine, is looking for new ways to prevent and treat the condition.

"Heart failure is any condition in which the heart is unable to pump enough blood for the metabolic needs of the body, but that does not mean that the heart is not pumping or the heart has stopped working," says Butler. "Heart failure is not a disease but a syndrome, so there's a whole family of different diseases that can precede this condition. They’re known collectively as heart failure."

In the clinic, Butler treats patients already diagnosed with heart failure. His research is now focusing on prevention through life style changes as well as models pinpointing who is at risk for heart failure. He also is deputy chief science advisor for the American Heart Association.

Butler and his colleagues recently created the Health ABC Heart Failure Model for predicting risk of new onset heart failure in the elderly. That model has now been strengthened by validating it via a library of patient data from an earlier cardiovascular study.

The results suggest the Health ABC risk model can be used to identify high-risk individuals for whom interventions can be cost-effectively targeted to prevent heart failure.

To hear Butler’s own words about heart failure and its treatment and prevention, use the player at the top left of this page or subscribe to the podcast.