Tag Archives: Cardiac Rehab

#GoRedWearRed ~ Women’s Heart and Vascular Health

BW ARA labcoatThe OhioHealth Women’s Heart & Vascular Conference January 30, 2016 was a great opportunity for healthcare professionals to focus on current research and practice for Women’s Heart Health.

It takes dedicated research and study to understand how best to identify heart risk and heart disease in women and dedicated clinicians who will put the research findings into practice. The American Heart Association Wear Red Day, Go Red for Women campaigns work to educate women about heart and vascular disease ~ 

For Wear Red Day 2016, here are a few conference takeaways:

Dr Alton

Dr Alton

  1. Ischemic heart disease is not a “Man’s” disease ~ in fact heart disease is the leading killer of mothers, wives, aunts, daughters, sisters. Cardiac tests may include radiation exposure; ask about the tests your doctor is recommending – are there alternatives that don’t involve radiation.








Dr. Barac discussing CardioOncology

Dr. Barac discussing CardioOncology

2. Cardio Oncology focuses on heart health in the setting of cancer treatment; either history of cancer treatment or current – the goal is to be sure women can receive the most effective cancer treatments while protecting their heart function ~ As with all heart health, making sure you control risk factors for heart disease (hypertension or high blood pressure for example) also helps the heart stay strong during chemotherapy.


Dr Amburgey

Dr Amburgey

3. Consider pregnancy a stress test for your heart  It is important to follow up if you have hypertension in pregnancy, pre-eclampsia, or eclampsia or diabetes in pregnancy because these conditions may improve after delivery but are now included as risk factors for heart disease and stroke for women over the next 30 years.



Dr. Neff-Massullo

Dr. Neff-Massullo

4. Vascular disease is under-diagnosed in women ~ the role of hormone therapy and venous thrombo-embolism (VTE) or blood clots in veins is significant. While it is not recommended to test everyone who starts hormone therapy, it is important to speak up if you have a family history of blood clots or any signs/symptoms of blood clot (leg swelling, pain) – especially in the first 12 months of hormone therapy.


Test of venous disease ~ Doppler showing venous reflux

Test of venous disease ~spectral  Doppler ultrasound showing venous reflux

5. Venous disease can cause leg pain and swelling, over time can be disabling due to skin changes such as ulcers; compression socks and vascular procedures can help.





Dr. Rock-Willoughby

Dr. Rock-Willoughby

6. Women suffer from delay seeking treatment AND delay of diagnosis of acute MI (heart attack).    For Women: Don’t wait for symptoms to go away; it might not be chest pain; women can experience fatigue, sweats, shortness of breath, dizziness, nausea or abdominal pain – call 911. For Healthcare Providers : Think Nose to Navel ~ a program designed to reduce the time to EKG evaluation for women.

7. What’s a treatment that reduces risk of death, heart attack, and more heart procedures?  Cardiac Rehab. Why are referrals and enrollment not 100%? Why are both even lower for women? Make time for Cardiac Rehab and for Heart Health; it’s worth the effort.

Dr Albers introducing Dr Amin to discuss Atrial Fibrillation

Dr Albers introducing Dr Amin to discuss Atrial Fibrillation

8. Women are underrepresented in Heart Rhythm Disorders research; we know that being a woman increases stroke risk in atrial fibrillation. Be sure to ask your doctor if you have atrial fibrillation, if you need to be checked for atrial fibrillation, and if you should be taking a medicine to reduce your risk of stroke. Get involved and participate in clinical research.


McConnell Heart Health Center

McConnell Heart Health Center

Thanks to conference attendees  ~ the room was at capacity ~ more healthcare professionals learning about the diagnosis and treatment of heart and vascular disease in women.

Hello #HeartMonth

BW ARA labcoatThe OhioHealth Women’s Heart & Vascular Program CME event on Saturday 1/30 was a fabulous kick off to February ~ Heart Month ~ which includes #WearRedGoRed for Women Friday February 5 and the Go Red for Women Luncheon here in Columbus on Thursday February 25 to benefit the American Heart Association.

We appreciate the American Heart Association support for the conference (see registration table photo below) with Red Dress pins, wristbands, and great Know & Go cards for participants.

Screen Shot 2016-01-29 at 9.26.02 AM

The morning event at the McConnell Heart Health Center brought together health care professionals interested in learning about Women’s Heart & Vascular Health; from Heart & Vascular physicians with keynote presentation from Dr. Ana Barac discussing CardioOncology.

Dr. Mary Alton gave a great opening lecture on Women & Heart Disease, including Yentl syndrome.  She covered cardiac testing for women ~ or how can we choose the best way to learn about a woman’s heart function.

Dr. Barac presented current research in how to protect women’s hearts during chemotherapy for cancer; as well as the risk of high blood pressure (hypertension) and other risk factors that weaken a woman’s heart function when going through cancer treatments.

IMG_6674The OhioHealth Women’s Heart & Vascular Pregnancy Predicts Risk Program ~ why was this started & what’s a risk from pregnancy? was introduced by Dr. Laurie Amburgey, Maternal Fetal Medicine, and discussed by Dr. Ashley Chambers, Internal Medicine. Both providers discussed the fact that a woman’s heart risk with pregnancy issues like pre-eclampsia doesn’t stop with delivery of the baby. Dr. Chambers told us about the OhioHealth program to be sure women have appropriate risk factor management in the years after having a pregnancy that predicts Heart Risk.

Dr. Joddi Neff with Riverside Radiology and Interventional Associates gave a great “Ask the Expert” session on Vascular Medicine – (a big topic that could have its own conference) and focused on risk of blood clots with hormone therapy, and management of venous diseases for women.

Faculty & Course Director Clockwise from bottom left: Dr. Alton, Dr. Nicholson, Dr. Amin, Dr. Rock-Willoughby, Dr. Chambers, Dr. Amburgey, Dr. Neff-Massullo, Dr. Barac, Dr. Albers

Women’s Heart & Vascular CME Faculty 
Clockwise from bottom left: Dr. Alton, Dr. Nicholson, Dr. Amin, Dr. Rock-Willoughby, Dr. Chambers, Dr. Amburgey, Dr. Neff-Massullo, Dr. Barac, Dr. Albers (Course Director)

Dr. David Nicholson and Dr. Jayme Rock-Willoughby with OhioHealth presented the session “From ER to CR” highlighting the “Nose to Navel” goal for early EKG for women with symptoms occurring in that anatomical range, and the Women’s Cardiac Rehab programming launched at the McConnell Heart Health Center in 2015 ~ an effort to get more women through Cardiac Rehab.

Dr. Anish Amin, a Heart Rhythm Specialist closed with an excellent talk on Women’s risk for stroke with atrial fibrillation (a heart arrhythmia).

More to come with take home points for patients from the morning sessions.




Lexie Sines, with OhioHealth CME

Heart Health Doctors go to Washington DC

BW ARA labcoatThe American College of Cardiology (ACC) is home to nearly 50,000 cardiovascular care team members including your Heart Health Doctors. I spent 3 days last week in Washington DC with ~ 400 other ACC members who took time away from their patients and practices to visit Capitol Hill together on October 20 and educate our legislators about heart health.

  • HeartHealthDocs goal is education to gain knowledge and maximize heart disease PREVENTION. James Madison’s words can apply to knowledge used to defend against heart disease and optimize heart health:

IMG_5924 (1)

Photo above: Library of Congress, Madison building inscription.

Last week I learned more about how our government works; and had the opportunity to talk heart health and present the ACC message to 4 legislators from Ohio: Senator Sherrod Brown’s Legislative Fellow LaTasha Lee, PhD, MPH, Congresswoman Joyce Beatty’s Senior Legislative Assistant Donnica Hawes-Saunders, JD, Congressman Patrick J. Tiberi’s Legislative Correspondent Abigail Finn, and Congressman Steve Stivers’ Legislative Assistant Taryn Dorfman.

The ACC advocacy priorities are inspiring by necessity; despite a 50% decline in heart and vascular related deaths over the last 40 years, heart disease remains the #1 killer in the US (and the world), accounting for 1 in 4 deaths in America (ACC).


ACC strives to create a value driven health care system, ensure patient access to care and cardiovascular practice stability, promote the use of clinical data to improve care, foster research and innovation in cardiovascular care, and improve population health and prevent cardiovascular disease.

The specific ask for our representatives is 4-fold:

  1. Support legislation to expand patient access to CARDIAC REHAB – by maximizing cardiovascular care team members’ work and programs.
  2. Promote the usability of electronic health records; to maximize your cardiovascular specialists’ time and energy focused on patients’ cardiac health, not on the computer.
  3. Support new funding for the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration ~ where funding levels have remained flat for the past 12 years.
  4. Work with medical specialty societies to develop alternative payment models for effective and efficient patient care.

Read more about the importance of Cardiac Rehab here, only through research will we find ways to manage heart disease and promote heart health; without usable workflow, our cardiovascular care team members are limited both in access for patients and range of services offered.

The trip was full- great education and inspiration. October 20 was a remarkably successful legislative day for heart health not just for Americans in general, but also for those of us walking the hill. I logged > 18,000 steps on my pedometer on Tuesday.

Photo is at the 7 am start for the day on Capitol Hill – 


#Heart Health for Women; Start here this Valentine’s Day #LoveYourHeart

IMG_2641 ara echoWhat better day to talk about the Heart than Valentine’s Day?

More science is showing the benefit of starting early with habits that promote heart health.  Treatments already available & scientifically proven are UNDERUTILIZED: would you think 20% was a good score?! No. But 80% of people eligible for cardiac rehab DON’T take part in this essential treatment / program.

This post covers TWO topics for Women’s Heart Health:

  • A recent study showing the impact of 20 years of healthy choices for young women 
  • A NEW program to promote the established, effective heart treatment Cardiac Rehab.

Heart month is a great time to bring attention to what we know about preventing heart disease as well as what opportunities are available for managing heart risk.

  • A recent study showing the impact of 20 years of healthy choices for young women 

In 2015 we have learned about healthy habits or behaviors that impact RISK for developing heart disease with PRIMARY prevention. A paper published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC) in January reports the impact of 6 habits on the risk of heart disease for women. This study,

Healthy Lifestyle in the Primordial Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease Among Young Women

looked at a group of young women ages 27-44 years old and followed them over 20 years. Can you think of what the 6 healthy behaviors might be? We have covered them here on HeartHealthDoctors – like a lot of heart healthy changes they are available to us NOW. So pick one and START living a healthy lifestyle:

A healthy lifestyle was defined as not smoking, a normal body mass index, physical activity ≥ 2.5 h/week, television viewing ≤ 7 h/week, diet in the top 40% of the Alternative Healthy Eating Index–2010, and 0.1 to 14.9 g/day of alcohol.

1) Not smoking

2) Get to GOAL weight which is a normal Body Mass Index (BMI)

3) Move your body through space; physical activity at least 2 1/2 hours per week

4) TV viewing < or equal to 7 hours per week

5) Follow a heart healthy diet 

6) If a woman chooses to drink alcohol, amount of 1 drink per day or 12 oz beer, 4 oz wine, or 1.5 oz liquor correlates to ~14gm

Marlene Busko writes for Medscape about the JACC paper that ” Adoption of six healthy lifestyle behaviors could avert about 73% of coronary heart disease (CHD) cases among women over 20 years, as well as 46% of diabetes, hypertension, and hyperlipidemia, conclude researchers, based on their analysis of about 69 000 participants …”

Key to know with the Nurse’s Health Study findings is that Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) risk was lower for women without AND with heart disease risk factors BOTH groups showed decreased events with more healthy lifestyle habits/behaviors.

  • A NEW program to promote the established, effective heart treatment Cardiac Rehab.

At OhioHealth we have launched a cardiac rehab program for women to help give every opportunity to succeed at SECONDARY prevention and prevent or slow disease progression. To improve the ‘ low test score of 20%’ participation in Cardiac Rehab the OhioHealth Women’s Heart and Vascular Program launched a program for cardiac rehab designed for women. Education and exercise in the company of other women with heart disease offers a new way to help women who have had a heart event (Chest Pain, Heart Attack, Coronary artery Stent, Heart Valve surgery, Coronary artery bypass surgery) and are starting on their SECONDARY prevention journey.

Read more about Cardiac Rehab here; 10TV News did a great story / coverage of the Women’s Cardiac Rehab program (click text to view story and video).