Top 5 Takeaways on Heart Failure

Dr. Todd Koelling's Mini Med School presentation focuses on heart failure

mini_med_school_cardiovascular_graphic heart blogLeading U-M Frankel CVC researchers and physicians are advancing knowledge, finding new treatments and applying new technologies. Each week one of them shared his or her expertise in a six-week Mini Med School community education program focused on cardiovascular topics.

Here are the Top 5 Takeaways from Dr. Todd Koelling’s Mini Med School presentation on Heart Failure:

1. A serious health concern

More than 5 million people in the United States suffer from heart failure. It is the most common cause of hospitalizations for those over the age of 65 in the U.S. and represents a huge cost burden for Americans. Heart failure is caused by the inability of the heart to pump blood efficiently to oxygenate various organs throughout the body.

The two major categories of heart failure are low ejection fraction and preserved ejection fraction. An ejection fraction is an important measurement of how well your heart is pumping and is used to help classify heart failure and guide treatment. Continue reading

Heart transplants: The ultimate gift of life

David Parker inspires others in the fight for their life

Since 1984, The University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center Heart Transplant Program has performed more than 900 heart transplants, as well as implanting more than 500 ventricular assist devices (VADs) — most as a way to “bridge” patients to transplant. The U-M team also provides the multidisciplinary care required for complex transplant patients and includes specialists in advanced circulatory support, cardiac critical care, nutrition and social work.

This closely integrated team of cardiac transplant surgeons and transplant cardiologists is highly skilled in treating and implanting donor hearts in patients with the most urgent cardiac needs. U-M’s high volume, vast experience and active research program makes it a leader in heart transplant surgeries.

U-M patient David Parker received a new heart in December 2012. Today, he is living a full, active life that includes walking three miles, weight training and swimming most days of the week.

David shares his story of courage and his path back to living …

David Parker and his wife, Carol

David Parker and his wife, Carol

“My name is David Parker. I am 64 years old and thankful to the University of Michigan cardiac team for my new life. I first became ill in 2001. I started with an irregular heartbeat called atrial fibrillation, or afib. I was in and out of the hospital getting ‘cardioverted,’ a procedure in which the heart is shocked back into normal sinus rhythm. After a while, the doctors saw that this was not going to work. So I went to the University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center, where Dr. Hakan Oral and his team performed three ablations. This helped for a period of time, but the afib eventually returned.

I was getting weaker and weaker as time passed. My doctors decided the only thing that would work was a heart transplant. I was put into the hospital to try to build up my strength and was put on the heart transplant list. At this time, my organs were starting to shut down and I was told I was too sick for a heart transplant. My only other option was to have a left ventricle assist device (LVAD) inserted. An LVAD is an electrical pump that attaches to the heart and pumps blood throughout the body. With the LVAD surgery, performed by Dr. Jonathan Haft, my organs started improving. I had the LVAD for 11 months, running on batteries during the day and plugged into a wall outlet at night. During that time, I was put back on the heart transplant list. Continue reading

Celebrate Go Red for Women: Wear Red, learn your risk for heart disease

Meet three women meeting the challenges of heart disease

Ask women when they’re at risk for heart disease, and they may say they have until after menopause gored.fwto start thinking about their cardiovascular health.

Not only is this wrong, it’s also dangerous because it prevents women from taking signs of heart disease seriously.

“The idea that heart disease is not a major risk for women is the biggest myth we need to counter,” says Claire Duvernoy, M.D., chief of cardiology at VA Ann Arbor Healthcare and an interventional cardiologist at the U-M Frankel Cardiovascular Center. “The truth is that more women die from cardiovascular disease than all forms of cancer combined.”

The good news is that women can lower their risk for heart disease, and campaigns like Go Red for Women, which celebrates National Wear Red Day, Feb. 7, inspires women to stand together for what is the fight for their lives. Every minute a women dies from heart disease, and 1 in 3 women’s deaths are caused by heart disease.   Continue reading

Heart transplant recovery brings deeper commitment

Bonnie Davis shares couple's story

Ralph Davis

Ralph Davis swam competitively again a year after his heart transplant.

In yesterday’s post we highlighted Bonnie Davis’ commitment to the Patient and Family Advisory Committee at the U-M Frankel Cardiovascular Center, which she became involved in after her husband Ralph’s heart transplant recovery. Today we feature Bonnie and Ralph’s full story, as told by Bonnie.

Bonnie and Ralph’s story

My husband Ralph and I share the same story. He remembers very little of it, while I remember everything. The memories are vivid because of the intensity of emotion attached to it.

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Wife of heart transplant patient tells couple’s story

Patient and Family Centered Care Spotlight: Ralph and Bonnie Davis

Bonnie Davis

Bonnie Davis became a Patient and Family Centered Care Advisory Committee member after her husband Ralph received a heart transplant at the University of Michigan.

If you have ever been a patient or caregiver, then you’ve probably been faced with the uncertainty that comes with medical terminology and procedure. In fact, it might have seemed like your doctor barely discussed your surgery with you or didn’t allow time for your family to ask questions about your options. For most patients and family members, this makes the medical process rather intimidating.

Fortunately, healthcare is moving away from this patient-directed approach and shifting toward a patient-centric model. Patient and Family Centered Care (PFCC) is a healthcare approach that works to remove the barriers between medical professional and medical patient by truly valuing the concerns, opinions and voices of patients and their families.

The “Nothing about me, without me” slogan has been recently introduced as the guiding principle for patient-centered care at the University of Michigan, where PFCC programs act as forums for patients and families to share their personal experiences with faculty and staff. Additionally, the University of Michigan Health System has established numerous Patient and Family Advisory Councils (PFACs) throughout hospital departments. Bonnie Davis, on behalf of her husband, Ralph, has served on the U-M Frankel Cardiovascular Center Patient and Family Centered Care Advisory Committee for more than three years. Keep reading to learn about the Davis’ story, as told by Bonnie Davis.

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Erasing the need for heart transplants

U-M doctors are exploring ways to grow heart tissue for patients, from their own skin cells

Above: Heart tissue created from pluripotent stem cells pulse in a petri dish in Dr. Si’s research lab.

It may sound like a plot point from a sci-fi thriller, but turning skin cells into heart tissue is what Ming-Sing Si, MD, is doing in his research lab at University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital. And one day, it might eliminate the need for heart transplantation.

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