Heart health and depression

Some things that might surprise you


Depression and heart disease blogThe American Heart Association reports that while an estimated 10 percent of Americans ages 18 and older acknowledge depression, up to 33 percent of heart attack patients develop some degree of depression.

Dr. Michelle Riba, professor of psychiatry and associate chair for U-M’s Integrated Medical and Psychiatric Services in the Department of Psychiatry and associate director of the U-M Comprehensive Depression Center, takes it a step further: “It’s very complicated,” she says, noting that “almost every major cardiac condition has psychological issues that need to be addressed.” Monitoring a heart patient’s mental health is just as important as treating his or her physical condition, she says.

It gets even more complicated, says Dr. Riba, because not only can cardiovascular disease lead to depression, but also depression can lead to cardiovascular disease. “It’s bidirectional.”

According to research in the Journal of the American Heart Association, persistent depression may double the risk of stroke in adults over 50. What’s more, new research in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes (American Heart Association journal) reports that the combination of stress and depression can significantly increase a heart patient’s risk of death or heart attack. Continue reading

What women want to know about ICDs

Four frequently asked questions by women about implantable cardioverter defibrillators

women and ICD blogAn implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) is an electronic device that provides immediate therapy to a life-threatening arrhythmia (heart beating too quickly) via a painless pacing sequence or a jolt of electricity. It can also act as a pacemaker if the heart is beating too slowly.

Men and women are equally at risk for arrhythmias and the need for an ICD. However, women have different issues regarding ICD. Here is what women want to know about ICDs.

  1. Can I have routine mammograms?

Depending on your ICD placement, the device may interfere with imaging of breast tissue and may require additional testing for optimal results (possible follow-up ultrasound). Further, the presence of an ICD (typically left or right upper chest area), may make the imaging of the breast more uncomfortable, but it will not cause damage to the device. Continue reading

Living with an ICD

University of Michigan Health System promotes ICD peer-mentoring program and a personal connection

Jeanette McDonald - solo blog

Jeanette McDonald’s trip to Yellowstone National Park last September marked the first time in nearly three years this ICD patient was far from medical resources. Today, she is ready to reach out to other patients.

What if you were told you had a condition that required you to have a device implanted in your body to save your life? It would be a hard reality to accept — one filled with uncertainty and fear. But if you met someone who was living with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) and had a full, happy life, that person might alleviate some of your fears by sharing their story and proving that life isn’t over — just changing to adapt to a new reality.

This is the concept for a unique peer-mentoring program at the University of Michigan Health System designed to help those facing life-changing procedures, such as an ICD.

The University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center has paired up with the Patient and Family Centered Care (PFCC) Program to pilot peer-mentoring initiatives aimed at helping patients with specific health challenges. The U-M outpatient implantable cardioverter defibrillator clinic has been selected as one of the first five sites to pilot such a program. Continue reading

ICD and LVAD lead to a better quality of life

U-M patient Theresa Sturgill shares her story

Theresa blogTheresa Sturgill is enjoying her life these days. She’s doing all the things she loves, including walking, shopping, even traveling to Wichita, Kansas, to visit her son, which is somewhat of a milestone for a woman who felt her life might be ending nine years ago.

Today, an ICD and LVAD — implantable cardioverter defibrillator and left ventricular assist device — are keeping her going strong.

An ICD provides immediate therapy for a life-threatening arrhythmia where the heart is beating too quickly or too slowly. ICDs continuously monitor heart rhythms and are programmed to deliver pacing impulses to restore the heart’s natural rhythm, which can, in some cases, avoid the need for a shock. If necessary, however, the ICD will deliver a shock to the heart.

LVADs work by pumping blood from the left ventricle (lower part of the heart) and moving it forward into the aorta, the main blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to the rest of the body. LVADs assist the weakened heart muscle via a pump implanted inside the body. Continue reading

The Young ICD Connection Conference – A gathering of hope and support

Eighteen years ago at the University of Michigan, a young heart patient struggled with the knowledgeICD image 403x320 that an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) would control her heart. Hospital staff suggested the young girl meet with an adult support group, but quickly realized she would benefit from a different kind of support — and the University of Michigan Young ICD Connection was created.

“The Young ICD Connection was established due to an overwhelming need for children, teens and young adults to know they are not alone in their journey with life-threatening arrhythmias and the ICD they have received as part of their treatment,” says conference co-founder Laura Horwood, MS, ANCP-BC. “The program allows for ICD recipients and their family members to share experiences with others and to develop a support network.”

This year’s conference — “Keep Calm with ICD On” — will be held on Saturday, September 27, 2014, from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., and is expected to attract more than 150 attendees. Continue reading

Erika Laszlo’s story

Living with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator

Erika Laszlo 1 320x320Erika Laszlo is a people magnet for many reasons. Some enjoy her bright outlook on life — a breath of fresh air as she enters a room. Others are drawn to her caring persona. And those who know her very well are in awe of what she’s accomplished in her life, in particular the hurdles she’s overcome, as well as her quiet bravery in the face of significant heart health challenges.

Erika, a referring physician liaison at the University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center, has been living with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator for 24 years. One of her goals is to help others understand that a healthy, normal life is possible after having an ICD implanted.

Erika shares her story of bravery, acceptance and living a full, happy life.

“I was born with Tetralogy of Fallot, a congenital heart defect that required bypass surgery when I was two years old, followed by open-heart surgery to correct the defect at age five. I became one of the first babies to survive both surgeries at the hospital where I was being treated. Continue reading