One Patient's Story: From a Racing Heart Back to Racing Pigeons

Posted by Perspectives Blog Team on Feb 10, 2016 11:00:00 AM

Mikolaj Mlynarczuk struggled with atrial fibrillation, the most common sustained heart arrhythmia.

The condition was interfering with his work activities and his hobbies—including gardening and pigeon racing—and he looked for answers at Einstein. This is his story in his own words.

“My doctor suggested ablation to treat my racing heart.

The staff at Einstein explains everything each step of the way. They tell you what your options are and what to expect. Everyone was kind and caring and always willing to answer my questions.

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Topics: Heart and Vascular

Do You Know the Signs of a Heart Attack?

Posted by Perspectives Blog Team on Feb 9, 2016 2:25:58 PM

When in doubt, always call 911. Early intervention saves lives.

Would you know if you were having a heart attack? Many symptoms mimic a heart attack, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), chest muscle pain or anxiety. It can be difficult to know when your symptoms are heart-related. Knowing the symptoms of a heart attack can help you decide what to do.

In a study of more than 2,000 heart attack patients, those who recognized heart attack symptoms early and received medical attention within 90 minutes did far better than those who waited for treatment.

No two heart attacks are alike. Heart attacks may cause sudden, intense pain or pressure in the center of the chest. They may also come on more slowly with little or no pain, but cause vague symptoms such as weakness or indigestion. These are the symptoms that people may ignore. Additionally, a woman’s symptoms may differ from a man’s, advises the American Heart Association (AHA).

When every second counts, it’s important to know the signs of a heart attack. If you or someone you are with is experiencing any of these symptoms, call 911 immediately.

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Topics: Heart and Vascular

5 Things Every Woman Should Do To Take Care of Her Heart

Posted by Perspectives Blog Team on Feb 3, 2016 3:23:55 PM

Did you know that 90 percent of women have one or more risk factors for heart disease?

Many women are unaware that heart disease is the greatest threat to their health. Yet, heart disease takes more women’s lives annually than every form of cancer combined.

Women’s symptoms of heart disease can be more subtle than men’s, and their response to them is often delayed. Women may feel tired or easily fatigued, but they often make excuses to themselves about what is happening and dismiss the signs.

There are anatomical distinctions as well. Women tend to develop diffuse plaque that usually builds up evenly in their arteries, which are smaller than a man’s. This is significant because it makes it harder for doctors to see a blockage in a woman’s arteries.

The challenge is compounded because women typically wait longer than men to go to the emergency room when they are having a heart attack, and they are less likely than men to present with chest pain and EKG changes. As a result, physicians may be slower to recognize heart attacks in women.

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Topics: Heart and Vascular

Peripheral Arterial Disease: The Most Dangerous Disease You Never Heard Of

Posted by Denise Foley on Feb 2, 2016 4:43:19 PM

You walk up a flight of stairs or down the driveway to get the mail, and your legs are screaming with pain as though you’d just climbed Mt. McKinley. After a few minutes rest, however, you’re feeling as good as new.

You blame it on muscle stiffness, just another of the indignities of age, along with the ache in your arms when you raise them to wash your hair and the unremitting cold feeling in your fingers.

What you don’t consider is cardiovascular disease.

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Topics: Heart and Vascular

Meet Olayinka Afolabi-Brown MD

Posted by Jeff Meade on Jan 26, 2016 9:55:08 AM

Olayinka Afolabi-Brown, MD, is Director of Einstein Cardiac Rehab at Germantown. He specializes in hypertension and preventive cardiology. (Photo by Wes Hilton)

Perspectives: What is preventive cardiology?

Dr. Brown: Basically it’s a part of cardiology that tries to identify patients at high risk of developing cardiac disease, and it offers programs to prevent cardiac disease, or keep it from getting worse if they already have it—to keep it from progressing, through diet, exercise, weight loss and other lifestyle modifications. Two of the biggest modifiable risk factors are high blood pressure (hypertension) and diabetes.

In terms of secondary prevention for patients who already have coronary heart disease, or if they have had an MI (myocardial infarction, or heart attack), we have a pretty big cardiac rehab program. We bring them into our gym and get them into an exercise program.

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Topics: Heart and Vascular

High Blood Pressure: Can We Talk?

Posted by Megan Othersen Gorman on Jan 25, 2016 12:30:37 PM

High blood pressure is surprisingly common, uncommonly stealthy, and potentially deadly. It’s also highly treatable—you just have to know you have it first.

Silence is often thought of as golden. But when it comes to high blood pressure—a common and potentially deadly condition dubbed “The Silent Killer” for its tendency to sneak up on sufferers with no warning signs or symptoms—silence is the darkest, most dangerous aspect of the disease.

“High blood pressure greatly elevates the risk of heart attack and stroke, two of the top five leading causes of death in Americans,” says Vincent M. Figueredo, MD, Associate Chair of Cardiology at Einstein Medical Center and director of the hypertension specialty clinic there. “Yet it is deceptively quiet. You can have mild to moderate high blood pressure for years—even decades—before it becomes an emergency. Only then will it speak to you with any symptoms.”

By that time, it might be too late—which is why we’re talking out about it now.

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Topics: Heart and Vascular

For Patients with Atrial Fibrillation, Einstein Offers a Game-Changing Alternative to Blood Thinners

Posted by Jeff Meade on Jan 22, 2016 2:44:39 PM

At right: D. Lynn Morris, MD, Chairman of Cardiology and Director of the Einstein Institute for Heart and Vascular Health, and Sumeet Mainigi, MD, Director of Electrophysiology, with the Watchman™ Implant (Photos by Wes Hilton)

It resembles a tiny wire mesh jellyfish, roughly the size of a quarter. Looking at it, you would never guess what it really is. But if you are one of the 2.7 to 6.1 million Americans who suffer from atrial fibrillation, this diminutive device has the potential to change your life. And Einstein has it.

Atrial fibrillation—also known as “Afib”—is the most common heart arrhythmia. Afib causes the upper chambers of the heart to beat erratically. Because of this irregular heartbeat, blood clots are more likely to form in the heart and move through the bloodstream, increasing the risk of stroke.

For years, the treatment of choice for Afib has been blood-thinning drugs like warfarin (Coumadin). These drugs, also known as anticoagulants, are effective, but often difficult to regulate and patients are often scared to take them, says Sumeet Mainigi, MD, Director of Electrophysiology at Einstein Medical Center. “Patients need to take blood thinners for the rest of their lives to reduce the risk of stroke. The problem is, only about 60 percent of patients will end up taking and staying with blood thinners at the right level,” he says.

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Topics: Heart and Vascular

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About this blog

Perspectives highlights the expertise and services provided by the physicians, specialists, nurses and other healthcare providers at Einstein Healthcare Network. Through this blog, we share information about new treatments and technologies, top-tier clinical teams and the day-to-day interactions that reinforce our commitment to delivering quality care with compassion. Here, you will also find practical advice for championing your health and wellness.

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