Heart Beat September 2011 Issue

Heart Beat: September 2011

BARIATRIC SURGERY CAN HELP CUT INCIDENCE OF CARDIAC EVENTS
For people who are obese and at high risk for heart attack, stroke and early death, bariatric surgery can help reduce the risk of those events by 25 to 50 percent, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery. Researchers compared the health of bariatric surgery patients for five years after their operations with patients who had similar health and risk profiles who underwent joint replacement surgery or gastrointestinal surgery (for hernia or gallbladder). Five years after surgery, the incidence of heart attack was 50 percent less and stroke was 30 to 50 percent less compared to the control groups. Bariatric surgery has long been considered an effective treatment for obesity and diabetes. But this study and other similar efforts confirm that the weight-loss procedure can have life-saving benefits for obese men and women. Other recent studies have suggested that older adults can be good candidates for bariatric surgery. If you think this may be a good option for you, discuss the risks, benefits and details of the procedure.

STENTING SAFE IN THE LONG TERM FOR LOW-RISK HEART PATIENTS
Left main coronary artery disease is on of the most serious types of heart disease and it has typically been treated by heart bypass surgery. A recent study, however, suggests that lower-risk patients with this condition may have favorable outcomes if they are treated with angioplasty with medication-coated stents instead of bypass surgery. The study, published in the June issue of the journal Catheterization and Cardiovascular Interventions, found that for patients with left main coronary artery disease and normal artery function, the less-invasive angioplasty procedure may be safe and effective in the long term. The average age of patients was 68 and the majority of study subjects were male. Angioplasty and stenting is considered a safer alternative for patients who may be poor candidates for open surgery. Patients at high risk for surgery include those who have health concerns such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, old age or a severely calcified artery.

COFFEE CONSUMPTION GENERALLY SAFE FOR WOMEN WITH HEART DISEASE
The question of whether coffee is safe to drink has been addressed in numerous studies, often with mixed results. But a recent study involving more than 11,600 women revealed that caffeinated coffee does not raise the risk of mortality or a cardiovascular event. The research, reported in the May 13 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, followed women who had known cardiovascular disease and tracked coffee consumption before and after event—among those women who had some kind of cardiac event during the three-year study. Researchers found that there was no association between coffee and heart risk, and even noted other studies that indicate some heart-protective qualities of coffee. However, the researchers did advise patients discuss coffee drinking with their doctors, particularly if those patients have an arrhythmia or high blood pressure or a condition about which your doctor has already expressed concern about your continued coffee consumption.

PROLONGED TV WATCHING INCREASES RISK OF DIABETES, HEART DISEASE
You know that a sedentary lifestyle can contribute to weight gain and does not give your heart the workout it needs to stay healthy for the long term. But a recent study suggests that sitting in front of the television for hours on end may have some serious consequences. The study, published in the June 15 issue of the Journal of American Medical Association, showed that for every two hours of television watched daily, the risk of diabetes increased by 20 percent, the risk of cardiovascular disease increased by 15 percent and the risk of all-cause mortality increased by 13 percent. Researchers noted that as people watch more TV, they gain weight and then with the extra weight, they find it harder to exercise, and so on. Researchers pointed out that television viewing is often associated with the consumption of junk food, too. Researchers suggested that people set a reasonable limit on TV time, avoid snacking while watching, and they consider using a treadmill or other exercise equipment when they do watch.