December 2018

Insider Advice: How to Optimize an Appointment with Your Doctor

If there are specific concerns that you would like to have addressed, please write them down before you leave home and raise them early in the appointment. Please don't wait until the end of the visit to speak up. Knowing what's on your mind helps us plan our time with you, and you will be more likely to leave the office satisfied, if your questions have been answered.   More...

Heart Beat: December 2018

It's very common for people to need multiple anti-hypertension medications to lower their blood pressure into an acceptable range. If you resent taking medications, try diet and exercise. Researchers studied 129 overweight adults with blood pressures between 130 and 160 millimeters of mercury (mmHg) systolic and 80 and 99 mmHg diastolic, but who were not taking anti-hypertension medication. The researchers randomized one-third to the DASH diet (an eating plan designed to lower blood pressure) plus supervised exercise three times a week and behavioral counseling for weight loss. One-third were randomized to the DASH diet only. The remainder made no changes to their diet or exercise habits. Over a 16-week period, those who participated in the diet, exercise and counseling group lost an average of 19 pounds and reduced their blood pressure by an average of 16/10 mmHg. The diet-only group lowered their blood pressure an average of 11/8 mmHg. Blood pressure in the group that made no changes dropped only 3/4 mmHg.   More...

The Best Heart Bypass Operation Available Today

Subscribers Only — The study examined only outcomes up to five years after CABG. At this point, no difference was seen in survival rates with either the vein or artery graft. But other studies have confirmed that a second arterial graft significantly increases the likelihood the patient will be alive 10 years after CABG. Cleveland Clinic and other major heart centers follow Society of Thoracic Surgery guidelines and use an artery as a second conduit whenever possible.   More...

Holiday Heart Health Secrets

You're standing in a friend's dining room with a magnificent spread before you. On a table sparkling with ornaments and candles, you see an endless array of food. In an instant, you are seduced by the sights and smells of the holiday season. You reach out and pick up a plate-and your resolve to eat sensibly flies out the window.   More...

Can an Implantable Defibrillator Prevent You from Dying?

Subscribers Only — At this point, it is common practice to ask the patient whether they would like the shocking function turned off. Disarming the device will not prolong or hasten death: It simply prevents the discomfort of a shock, should a rapid heart rhythm occur. "The defibrillator will ignore the episode and not respond," Dr. Wilkoff says.   More...

Ask The Doctors: December 2018

An enlarging left ventricle caused by heart failure can strain the muscles and cords connected to the mitral valve, distorting the leaflets and preventing them from closing tightly between beats. When this happens, blood flows backwards into the left atrium, further overloading the heart. The condition, called mitral regurgitation (MR), increases the risk of hospitalization, poor quality of life and death from heart failure. Surgery in these patients is often very risky and may not be beneficial.   More...