What you need to know about IVC filters

Learn the risks and benefits of filters designed to catch dangerous blood clots

Doctor holding IVC filterMore adults than ever have inferior vena cava filters, cage-like devices implanted in their chest to protect them from stroke or deadly blood clots. News reports that questioned the safety of IVC filters made by CR Bard may have patients wondering: what kind of IVC filter they have, and if, and when, it should be removed.

Vein specialists at the University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center weigh in on the emerging concerns about IVC filters.

How IVC filters work

IVC filters are inserted into the inferior vena cava to capture large blood clots and prevent them from reaching the lungs. The inferior vena cava is the main vessel that returns blood from the lower body back to the heart and lungs. Doctors may recommend an IVC filter if they’re worried about the risk of dangerous blood clots among their patients with risk factors, such as: Continue reading

Stroke Prevention Tips

Many strokes are avoidable

Stroke skull imageStroke is now the 4th leading cause of death and the leading cause of disability in America with more than 800,000 people suffering a stroke every year. Because I’m a stroke neurologist, many people ask me how to prevent stroke.

Best stroke prevention

The best advice is:

  • Maintain good blood pressure (probably the most powerful way to prevent stroke)
  • Control other vascular conditions such as diabetes and high cholesterol
  • Stop smoking
  • Avoid second-hand smoke
  • Exercise
  • Eat well
  • Don’t consume too much alcohol

In some types of stroke, family history plays a role; unfortunately, that is one influence that patients cannot control.  Continue reading

Mexican Americans and stroke: What BASIC means to a South Texas native

Corpus Christi, Texas is 1,500 miles from Ann Arbor, Michigan, yet there is a strong connection between the two cities that I am so honored to be a part of.Nelda Garcia

When people ask me what my job is, I’ll say, “I work for the University of Michigan.”  I usually get a funny look and then explain that I manage a stroke research study being conducted by the U-M. The study is called Brain Attack Surveillance in Corpus Christi (BASIC) and was started over 13 years ago by stroke neurologist Dr. Lewis Morgenstern.

What makes the BASIC study so unique is that it is the only research project in the country that is studying Mexican Americans and stroke. Being born and raised in South Texas, it gives me an even stronger sense of pride to be a part of this critical research.

We have partnered with local hospitals to collect vital information about stroke in a community that is over 60 percent Mexican American.  For those stroke patients who participate in an interactive interview, our field office research staff have the opportunity to connect with them on a one-to-one basis.  The real heroes of this story are the patients.  Their contribution to this knowledge base is beyond measure.  It’s so very rewarding to hear patients and families thanking us for the work we’re doing!

Continue reading

Preventing stroke

Lifestyle changes that can help

vegetables and shrimp in bowl

Eating healthy food is one way to help prevent stroke

Making changes in your lifestyle today can help reduce your chances of experiencing future health issues, such as stroke. For example, “Blood pressure is one of the biggest modifiable risk factors in connection with stroke,” says Dr. Eric Adelman, assistant professor of neurology at the University of Michigan. And there are other lifestyle changes that can help in preventing stroke and improve your overall health:

  • Manage diabetes. Keep your blood sugar levels within a target range.
  • Take aspirin or a blood thinner if recommended by your doctor.
  • Take your medicine exactly as prescribed.
  • Do not smoke or allow others to smoke around you.
  • Limit alcohol to two drinks a day for men and one drink a day for women.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Raise your heart rate by getting at least 30 minutes of exercise (walking, swimming, cycling, etc.) on most days of the week.
  • Eat a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables and low in cholesterol, saturated fats and salt.

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University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center Logo - blueThe University of Michigan Samuel and Jean Frankel Cardiovascular Center is the top-ranked heart and heart surgery program among Michigan hospitals. To learn more, visit the Heart and Vascular page on UofMHealth.org.