Roundup: 2010 Advances in Heart Disease and Stroke
-- Steven Reinberg
TUESDAY, Dec. 28 (HealthDay News) -- 2010 was a year that
enjoyed continued advances in the treatment of heart disease and
stroke, according to the American Heart Association/American Stroke
"We have come far in the past decade, reducing heart disease
deaths by more than 27 percent and stroke deaths by more than 44
percent," American Heart Association president Dr. Ralph Sacco,
chairman of the department of neurology for the Miller School of
Medicine at University of Miami, said in a news release.
"But we know there is still much to be done in improving the
lives of heart disease and stroke patients -- and more importantly,
in preventing these devastating diseases in the first place.
Scientific research will help us lead the way," he said.
The top 10 advances in heart disease for 2010 are:
- More individually tailored treatment for people with type 2
diabetes to reduce their risk of heart disease.
- Minimally invasive options -- such as transcatheter aortic
valve implantation -- to replace a blocked aortic valve in
high-risk patients who might not be able to withstand open-heart
- Improving ways to reverse sudden cardiac arrest, such as using
adult CPR with chest compressions alone.
- More alternatives for reducing stroke risk in patients with
atrial fibrillation, such as new anti-clotting drugs like
dabigatran (Pradaxa) that are easier to manage than the standard
drug warfarin (Coumadin).
- Improving outcomes in heart failure patients with new types of
implantable cardioverter defibrillators that can restore normal
- New procedures for infants with congenital heart disease, which
may replace the need for a heart transplant.
- Better options for anti-clotting therapy, including a new drug,
ticagrelor (Brilinta), which may be a better anti-clotting
medication than clopidogrel (Plavix) for patients undergoing
- Experimental advances in stem cell therapy, which may help grow
new heart muscle and that may eventually improve outcomes in heart
- Increasing scientific evidence for lifestyle changes --
including weight loss through exercise and an improved diet with
less sodium -- which can help prevent heart disease.
- Getting more hospitals to follow AHA guidelines, which reduces
racial and ethnic disparities in cardiac care.
The top 10 advances in stroke for 2010 are:
- Clot-busting drugs found most effective in the first 4.5 hours
after stroke and perhaps harmful afterward.
- Scientists identified a new way the body clears clots from
brain vessels, thus restoring blood flow.
- Opening narrowed neck arteries by surgery or stent has similar
risks and benefits, but surgery appears better for those over
- New AHA hospital guidelines improve outcomes of stroke
- Researchers identified the 10 major risk factors for a stroke
and found that reducing blood pressure and smoking, and encouraging
physical activity and a healthy diet could significantly cut the
number of strokes around the world.
- An international study found that ultrasound can detect silent
micro-clots in patients at risk for stroke and help determine which
patients might benefit from surgery or stenting.
- Robot-assisted therapy can improve arm function after stroke,
although not more than intensive care from a physical
- Patients with the genetic disorder Ehlers-Danlos syndrome are
at risk for brain bleeds, but the risk can be managed with the use
of beta-blockers, which lower blood pressure.
- Dramatically lowering blood pressure early after a hemorrhagic
stroke can prevent the bleeding from spreading, thereby improving
- Physical activity, even walking and other moderate exercise,
reduces the risk of stroke in women.
For more information on heart disease and stroke, visit the
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