National Emergency Medicine Assoc. (NEMA)



HeartLINES ...a quarterly report to friends of The National Heart Council, a special program of the National Emergency Medicine Association

Winter 97/98  Volume 13 Issue 1

Dear Friends and Supporters

It is that time of year when we all seem to be reflective and aware of the many blessings we have enjoyed over the past year. It is a time for closeness with family and friends, a time to take stock of our lives and our relationships. In this season of giving, we want to express our sincere appreciation to our friends who support the critical work of The National Heart Council.

This has been a very successful year as many exciting new treatment options are being researched and approved. Our prevention education efforts are far reaching. As always, we stress prevention and recognition of the symptoms of heart attack.

As we move rapidly toward the 21st century, The National Heart Council under the auspices of NEMA, is making plans to ensure that this critical heart research and technological development continue. To strengthen our ability to carry our mission and programs into the next millennium, we have partnered with financial advisors across the country to establish a legacy program. The advantage of this program is that can benefit both The National Heart Council and the donor. A Life Income Gift (Charitable Remainder Trust) enables you to make a substantial gift to The National Heart Council now, but continue to receive income from the asset throughout your lifetime or that of a loved one, while still being entitled to a current tax deduction for the gift

One of the things that has always made America special is the tradition of sharing with others. Without your generosity, many life-saving programs would not exist. I want to wish everyone good health and happiness during the coming year.

Howard H. Farrington


Helpful suggestions for the partner of the heart patient.

1. Ask questions - You have a right to know. Keeping informed will also help reduce some of your anxiety.

2. Keep a journal - Describe your feelings, fears and your frustrations. It can help you organize your thoughts and questions during those first days of confusion and sense of loss. It can also help you share with others what you are going through. You can look back and celebrate milestones, together..

3. Eat well - Make sure you have regular nutritious meals. There will be added pressure because your family’s diet its not simply a step toward healthier living but literally, now a matter of life or death. It’s common for many couples to disagree over strict adherence to a food plan. You want to make sure your spouse/partner stays on the prescribed diet, but at the same time he or she is an adult and can make responsible decisions. Make changes one step at a time.

4. Get enough sleep - rest frequently and as needed to compensate for fitful sleep you may have at night.

5. Take a daily walk - This is an activity you two can do together. Regular and moderate exercise is essential to good health.

adapted from Heartmates, A Guide for the Spouse and Family of the Heart Patient, Rhoda F. Levin, 1994

Health-Care Dollars Can Be Saved

Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco estimate that a 1-time reduction of smokers by 1% would save $44 million dollars in health costs during the first year. There would be 60,000 fewer people going to the hospital because of heart attacks Circulation - American Heart Association, August 1997.

Have You Heard?

Listeners who have tuned into "The Heart of The Matter" have heard some interesting information on a variety of heart related issues during the past few months.

Host Steve Girard reported on . .

The Future of Coronary Surgery

Penn State Hershey Medical Center is testing a coronary system which would allow surgeons to do a bypass without making major incisions. Dr. Damiano, Chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery describes the procedure called endoscopic bypass. A camera controlled by a robotic arm would be inserted through one pencil-thin hole. Robotic arms to hold surgical instruments would be placed through two other similarly sized holes. Not having to cut through the breast bone means less pain, a shorter hospital stay and lower costs. According to Dr. Damiano, it could be that in the future, you may be able to go home the next morning after heart surgery.

Know what is in natural herbal and health remedies

Dr. Elizabeth Yetley, Director of Special Nutritional, Center for Food Safety & Applied Nutrition, FDA issues a warning about using the herbal product "Chompers" which is part of the "Arise & Shine" dietary supplement package. "Chompers" is a laxative claiming to contain plantain but actually contains digitalis. Given by physicians to some heart patients, digitalis is a powerful heart stimulant which can cause abnormal heart rhythms in some people. Used unmonitored it can be extremely dangerous. Fortunately, "Arise & Shine" products were recently taken off the market. Dr. Yetley cautions us that herbal products are becoming very popular and are readily available. Before you take any herbal product, you should do a little research and find out exactly what the ingredients are and what they do.

Other topics heard on "The Heart of The Matter" include:

Heart healthy recipes from Don Maurer, author of Lean and Lovin’ It

The new nasal flu vaccine, Dr. Dominick Iacuzio, NIH

Cochlear implants with Peter Arks, audiology, Warren Otologic Group, Warren Ohio

Medicare Reform efforts with Aaron Cohen, Health on the Hill reporter.

This is just a sampling of the variety "The Heart of The Matter" offers. For information on the station nearest you, or if you want your local station to carry "The Heart of The Matter," let us know.

Your contributions make a difference through the NEMA Grants Program.

With awards to organizations nationwide, the National Heart Council and National Stroke Council has allocated monies which will affect the heart and health of hundreds of Americans.

Grant recipients have demonstrated their need for funding and have outlined benefits both for the public and for research endeavors.

"Jaws of Life" — Blackfeet Tribal Emergency Medical Services, Browning, Montana. This life-saving equipment is used to extricate and access injured individuals trapped at the scene of an accident. Prior to the grant award, the EMS personnel had to relay on outside assistance for the "Jaws of Life" equipment, which extended the time to reach the injured victim.. In Montana, where winter storms are severe, having this equipment close-at-hand is critical to saving lives..

Cardiac ultrasound machine — Franklin Square Hospital Center, Baltimore, Maryland. The upgraded cardiac ultrasound machine enhances the staff’‘s ability to effectively assess and treat heart patients and to better respond to patient needs relating to cardiovascular disease and failure. The hospital reports that the quality of patient exams has improved dramatically while the overall exam time has decreased by one quarter. Patient conditions are able to be treated sooner.

NEMA encourages organizations or institutions to apply for a grant. Because cardiac and trauma issues are a major focus, proposals which address these needs are welcome. Guidelines may be obtained by contacting National Emergency Medical Association, 306 W. Joppa Road, Towson, MD 21204 or 410/494-0300.

Fact: If you prevent the heart attack and consequent heart damage, you can maintain a health heart rather than change your lifestyle to compensate for a damaged heart.

Raymond D. Bahr, M.D., Paul Dudley White Coronary Care System, St. Agnes HealthCare, Baltimore, MD stresses the following signs of and emphasizes prevention and early detection, particularly for women who tend to ignore symptoms. Dr. Sidney Smith, cardiologist and past president of the American Heart Association, has observed that the average patient waits from 4 to 6 hours before seeking medical attention, and that really limits what the health care system can do to improve the individual’s outlook.


Mild chest pressure, aching or burning that comes and goes.

Chest discomfort that may be mistaken for indigestion.

Similar discomfort in the inner arm (especially left arm), jaw, teeth or other parts of the body — with or without chest discomfort.

Chest discomfort that may worsen with activity and subside with rest.

Chest discomfort that lacks a specific origin.

Chest discomfort that may "crescendo" — that is, may come back sooner, last longer or be more severe each time.

Chest discomfort accompanied by sweating, shortness of breath of flu like symptoms.