t’s already Spring 2017! Welcome to yet another information
packed issue of Heart Insight. I think you’ll find it very
In our feature story, we present patients’ perspectives
on heart valve replacement surgery. These procedures were
once so very challenging with one or more patients of every
ten not surviving. Life is different now and we consistently
expect very good outcomes. But valve disease is one of those
wait-and-see conditions, and that waiting can be excruciating
for patients. Michaeline Della Fera of New Hampshire is anxiously awaiting valve
replacement surgery; Christine Rekash of Illinois has had the surgery and shares
how she prepared and got through the process. In this issue, we turned to one of
the very best heart valve specialists in the country — Cardiologist Robert Bonow —
to outline some of the variables that doctors are evaluating during the waiting period
and why we must be so precise in our decision making.
In the third installment of our After a Heart Attack series, we address the issue
of emotions. Survivors often feel a wide spectrum of emotions, including relief, joy,
fear and depression. We talked with clinical psychologist Barry Jacobs about what
is normal and what needs special attention. For instance, sadness is a natural
response, but clinical depression needs to be treated because it hampers recovery.
Melissa Murphy, who survived a heart attack at 43, shares her experience of an
emotional roller coaster.
In “What NOT to Do,” Susan Blake explains how she and her husband explained
away his heart attack symptoms for nine hours. She paints a vivid picture of how we
convince ourselves that the worst can’t be happening. Their experience drove her to
become a CPR instructor, and she tells every class, “Don’t do what I did.” Susan’s
story is a must-read story in this issue.
Hyperkalemia happens when potassium levels are above normal. When it occurs,
it can interfere with the heart’s electric signals and can lead to different types of heart
rhythm problems. It can be dangerous. We explain the risk factors and warning signs.
Anyone with heart and kidney disease should be aware of hyperkalemia.
“Life’s Simple 7,” (always my favorite column!), provides information on modest
lifestyle and behavior changes that can not only help you live longer but healthier —
quantity AND quality. In this issue, you’ll learn about the difference between moderate
and vigorous exercise; losing weight the healthy way; an easy way to get more fruits
and vegetables in your diet; and the recommended limit of added sugar for kids.
Recently your support allowed us to hit new thresholds for an online health
publication, and our issues continue to win trade organization awards for clarity and
usefulness. Thank you for supporting Heart Insight.
Be sure to visit our Heart Insight website and check out our apps for
smartphones and tablets — even your Kindle Fire! Visit the Apple App Store, Google
Play or the Amazon App Store to download the app for your favorite devices.
I am very interested in hearing your thoughts and suggestions about how we
can make this magazine even better. Please email me at HeartInsight@heart.org or
write to Heart Insight, 7272 Greenville Ave., Dallas TX, 75231. You can also follow
us on Twitter: twitter.com/Heart_Insight.
With best wishes for your good health,
CLYDE W. YANCY, MD., MSc., F.A.H.A., M.A.C.P., M.A.C.C., F.H.F.S.A.
Editorial Board Chair, Heart Insight
On My Mind
AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION
Alvin L. Royse, J.D., C.P.A.
Chairman of the Board
Steven Houser, Ph.D., F.A.H.A.
Nancy A. Brown
Chief Executive Officer
EDITORIAL BOARD CHAIR
Clyde W. Yancy, M.D., M.S.C., M.A.C.C.,
F.A.H.A., M.A.C.P., F.H.F.S.A.
Chief, Division of Cardiology
Northwestern Univ. Feinberg School of Medicine
EDITORIAL BOARD CO-CHAIR
Michael A. Bettmann, M.D., F.A.H.A.,
Professor Emeritus of Radiology
Wake Forest University School of Medicine
Winston Salem, NC
MEMBERS AT LARGE
Pierre Fayad, M.D., F.A.H.A., F.A.A.N.
Director, Vascular Neurology and Stroke Program
University of Nebraska Medical Center
Kathleen L. Grady, Ph.D., A.P.N., F.A.H.A., F.A.A.N.
Administrative Director, Center for Heart Failure
Martha Gulati, M.D., M.S., F.A.C.C., F.A.H.A.
Director, Preventive Cardiology and
Women’s Cardiovascular Health
The Ohio State University
Kristie J. Lancaster, Ph.D., R.D.
Associate Professor of Nutrition and Food Studies
New York University
New York, NY
Nehal Mehta, M.D., M.S.C.E., F.A.H.A.
Section Chief, Inflammation and
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
Robert E. O’Connor, M.D.
Professor, Department of Emergency Medicine
University of Virginia Hospital
Ileana Piña, M.D., M.P.H.
Associate Chief for Academic Affairs
Montefiore Medical Center
STAFF AND CONSULTANTS:
Senior Manager, Patient Publications
Debi McGill | Editor-in-Chief
Jon Caswell | Lead Editor
Pierce Goetz | Art Director
Advertising Sales | HeartInsight@heart.org