‘I am CardioSmart’ Contest Recognizes Inspiring Heart Health Stories

This post was authored by Marth Gulati, MD, MS, FACC, editor-in-chief of CardioSmart.org.

This month, CardioSmart announced the winners of its annual “I am CardioSmart” contest, which has been held every year since 2013 to recognize people living well with heart disease. People from across the country submitted their stories about how they have taken control of their health after a heart disease diagnosis.

CardioSmart asked their Facebook fans to “like” the story that inspired them the most, and Christian Jacobs from West Jefferson, OH, was selected as the overall winner. He won a trip to Chicago during ACC.16 where he will have the opportunity to share his story with ACC.16 attendees and be recognized at the CardioSmart Patient Engagement Reception. Continue reading

National Cardiac Rehab Week: Encouraging Patient Education and Participation

Richard Josephson headshot Derin Tugal headshotThis post was authored by Richard A. Josephson, MS, MD, FACC, member of the ACC Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease Section Leadership Council, and Derin Tugal, MD, a fellow in training at Case Medical Center, University Hospitals of Cleveland and a member of the ACC Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease Section.

Cardiac rehabilitation (rehab) offers patients with coronary artery disease (CAD), recent revascularizations or cardiac surgery, or heart failure, a comprehensive individualized program of supervised exercise, health education, advice on lifestyle behavior modification, physical activity and psychological stress management. There is growing appreciation of the benefit of exercise-based cardiac rehab on reduced cardiovascular mortality, morbidity, unplanned hospitalizations, exercise capacity, health-related quality of life and psychological well-being. Continue reading

Find Your Heart a Home

DEHMER_BOT_2010This post was authored by Gregory J. Dehmer, MD, MACC, chair of the NCDR Public Reporting Advisory Group.

In this era of health care transparency, patients and their families want access to credible information about quality of care to help them make informed decisions. Recognizing this trend, the ACC spent several years developing a program to bring important information about the quality of care provided at NCDR hospitals to the public. In addition to empowering patients to take an active role in their care decisions, ACC’s public reporting program, which U.S. News and World Report called an “initial step towards transformational transparency,” incentivizes clinicians and health care organizations to improve quality of care. Continue reading

Congenital Heart Disease Awareness: Transitioning ACHD Patients Into Specialty Care

Marion Rae headshotThis article was authored by Marion McRae, ACNP-BC, a nurse practitioner in the Guerin Family Congenital Heart Program at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, CA.

Congenital heart disease (CHD) occurs in close to 1 percent of births with over 90 percent living to adulthood. There are now more adults living with CHD than children due to successful surgical and medical treatment over the last six decades. Unfortunately, many adults with CHD have fallen out of congenital heart care either because they were told they were surgically “fixed” or because they were never referred to adult congenital heart disease (AHCD) providers upon reaching adulthood.

It is now known from decades of follow-up that there can be life-long consequences of even the simplest congenital heart surgeries. In addition, we now know that many individuals with complex CHD repairs that have a single ventricle or a systemic right ventricle will experience early heart failure, arrhythmias, and far-reaching manifestations of surgical procedures, such as the Fontan operation, that subject the body to systemic venous hypertension leading to liver cirrhosis, pulmonary hypertension, esophageal varices, protein-losing enteropathy, plastic bronchitis, etc. Many of these individuals will go on to need a heart transplant or multi-organ transplantation in their second to fourth decade of life.  Continue reading

American Heart Month: Making Informed Care Decisions

Williams HeadshotThis post was authored by Kim Allan Williams Sr. MD, FACC, president of the ACC.

At the beginning of each new year, we make resolutions to create healthier habits, typically we try new activities and engage more with friends and family. February is American Heart Month – a month dedicated to raising awareness of cardiovascular disease and the benefits of heart health – and is a great time to renew or continue these resolutions – especially those related to health – so they become lifelong habits.

This year the ACC is taking part in several activities to raise awareness for Heart Month, with a particular focus on patient engagement and making informed care decisions. The month will also focus on initiatives within the College and ACC’s CardioSmart, including calling attention to special awareness weeks for congenital heart disease (Feb. 7 – 13), cardiac rehabilitation (rehab) (Feb. 14 – 21) and heart failure (Feb. 14 – 21). Continue reading