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HEART Insight:
doi: 10.1097/01.HEARTI.0000319866.71955.16
Departments: HeartBeat

New Research Findings You Can Put To Use — Now

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Blood Clots

Muscle ruptures, ankle sprains and other common minor leg injuries may be associated with a higher risk for blood clots in the legs or lungs. A Dutch study of 2,471 people with blood clots in the legs or lungs found that 289 (11.7 percent) had suffered a minor leg injury in the three months before developing their blood clot. Previous studies have shown that major injuries increase the risk for blood clots in the leg (deep vein thrombosis) and pulmonary embolism (a blood clot that travels to the lungs). Since minor leg injuries are so common, the researchers recommend that doctors take steps to minimize risk.

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Childhood Obesity

Obesity-related changes in heart muscle function occur much earlier than thought, according to a study of 168 children ages 10 to 18 who had undergone a cardiac ultrasound test because of a heart murmur, chest pain, acid reflux or high cholesterol. Among the 33 children who were obese and the 20 who were at risk of becoming overweight, the testing detected changes in the relaxation and contraction phases of the heartbeat that were previously assumed to occur in adults who had been obese for years. Nationwide, 17–19 percent of children and adolescents are overweight, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Childhood obesity is associated with adult obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.

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CPR

The American Heart Association has issued a Call to Action: When you see an adult suddenly collapse, call 911 and then push hard and fast in the center of the chest with your hands. Hands-Only CPR can double an adult's chance of survival from sudden cardiac arrest. It is still important to learn CPR that includes mouth-to-mouth because it remains the recommended way to help all other adults who may be unresponsive and not breathing normally. Both types of CPR are taught in programs that include practice on a manikin, such as the AHA's “CPR Anytime Family and Friends” (www.cpranytime.org). Roughly 166,200 out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrest deaths occur in the U.S. each year — the odds of surviving drop an estimated seven percent to 10 percent for every minute without CPR.

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Aspirin Therapy

People who are resistant to the blood thinning effects of aspirin are four times more likely to suffer a heart attack, stroke or die from a pre-existing heart condition than those who are aspirin sensitive, according to a meta-analysis of 20 studies involving 2,930 patients with cardiovascular disease who had been prescribed aspirin to prevent formation of blood clots. The analysis also showed that aspirin resistant patients did not benefit from other blood thinning drugs, either. Further research is needed to determine why someone might be aspirin resistant, as well as to develop a test to determine whether a particular patient would benefit from aspirin therapy, or another blood thinning medication.

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Heart Failure

A new study finds that people aged 65 and older who have heart failure (HF) are more prone to have trouble with grocery shopping and other activities of daily living than their peers who have coronary heart disease without HF. According to the national survey, based on 10,626 respondents to the University of Michigan's 2000 Health and Retirement Study, elderly people who have HF are also more likely to require nursing home placement or care from family members than those without the condition. An estimated 5.3 million Americans have heart failure, according to the AHA.

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© 2008 American Heart Association, Inc.

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