Monday, November 24, 2014

Hudson Valley Cardiologist Attends AHA's Scientific Sessions in Chicago

Dr Patrick Thomas, MD, MBA, FACC, FAHA, attended the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions in Chicago in November. Dr. Thomas is the American Heart Association Putnam Board President and cardiologist with NYU Langone at Hudson Valley Cardiology.

Dr. Thomas was recently elected as a Fellow of the National American Heart Association. The achievement recognizes scientific and professional accomplishments, and volunteer leadership and service.

Below is a brief Q & A with Dr. Thomas about this year’s event.

Dr. Patrick Thomas, Putnam AHA Board President
The American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions has the best science and is the leading cardiovascular conference for basic, translational, clinical and population science, in the United States.  

Scientific Sessions by the numbers:

·         Five days of comprehensive, unparalleled education
·         More than 17,000 attendees
·         global presence from more than 100 countries
·         1.5 million medical professionals who participate virtually in lectures and discussions
·         5,000 presentations
·         1,000 invited faculty
·         4,000 abstract presentations; all from the world’s leaders in cardiovascular disease
·         200+ exhibitors showcasing the latest cardiovascular technology and resources.

Programming is designed to improve patient care by communicating the most timely and significant advances in basic, clinical, translational and population health research, spanning the full spectrum of cardiovascular disease from a variety of perspectives, from prevention, through diagnosis and through treatment. Sessions lets AHA lead the way to discovery in the fight against cardiovascular disease and stroke.

Q: Why did you attend the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions in Chicago?

Dr. Thomas: I am fortunate to attend the big national meetings once every two or three years. Most meetings I go to are small format, focused on a narrow topic like cardiac imaging, or medicine or interventions. It’s like going to a steakhouse or seafood restaurant. But the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions meeting is like the biggest buffet in the world! You really get a good sense of everything happening across the board in cardiovascular disease science and care.

Q: What happens there?

Dr. Thomas: There are pre-clinical presentations where scientists conducting early, basic science present their research to a large audience. These discoveries might translate into advances in treatments years later or help get their projects funded for the future.
I spend my time there mostly on clinical presentations. One of the most exciting parts of the AHA meetings are the two-hour, late-breaking clinical trials. These are the latest, greatest presentations of up-to-date science that, literally upon publication, change how we practice cardiology on a daily basis.

Q: What were the most impactful clinical sessions for you?

Dr. Thomas: One of the most important things that we’ve talked about in cardiology for three or four decades was using statins to lower cholesterol to lower heart attacks and ultimately, death. Over a generation, it was the most important medicine to save lives. At the Sessions, there were two very exciting trials, both on the lipid lowering front.

One was called “IMPROVE-IT” which showed for the first time, a non-statin way to lower cholesterol. It’s called Zetia and when combined with a statin, was shown to lower cholesterol and the risk of cardiac events. This was the first time that was ever shown. Unfortunately, cardiology history is littered with the many meds that have failed…niacin…etc. but now with this Zetia, it’s the first time we’ve seen further reduction in heart attack and stroke risk for those already on a statin. It was a study my office was intimately involved with since many of my patients were in the study. It was the second biggest clinical trial in history, in terms of number of patients enrolled.

The other exciting news was using non-medicine approaches to lower cholesterol using monoclonal antibodies - these are special proteins produced by cells in a lab, and these proteins are injected into the skin every few weeks or so. They can rev up the immune system to reduce cholesterol and it showed an incredible reduction in LDL, the bad cholesterol. It’s not FDA approved yet, but it’s in stage 3 clinical trials. My group is involved in one of those clinical trials to see if they can reduce cardiac events with monoclonal antibodies.

NY Medical College Researchers funded by AHA
Q: Why does your practice participate in clinical trials?

Dr. Thomas:One of our doctors, in his training 20 years ago, was actively involved in clinical trials, and very interested in advancing science and to do that, you have to get patients involved early on. Things like Lipitor…etc, would never have been approved without clinical trials/studies like we participate in. We have over a dozen clinical investigations going on.

Q: What else does Scientific Sessions offer the nearly 20,000 medical professionals who attend?

Dr. Thomas:A driving factor is networking with other cardiologist. At the smaller national or regional meetings, maybe 30-100 cardiologists attend. Scientific Sessions has tens of thousands of peers in the same building. We set up lunches or dinners or meetings, share research, discoveries, and patient care tips.

The American Heart Association Invests in Research

Since 1949, the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association have invested more than $3.7 billion in heart disease and stroke research. Donors have funded lifesaving research that has contributed to breakthrough advances, including techniques and standards for CPR, the first artificial heart valve, implantable pacemakers, cholesterol inhibitors, microsurgery and drug-coated stents. In all, the American Heart Association has funded 13 Nobel Prize winners, nine of whom won for work funded by the association.

The American Heart Association currently funds four Hudson Valley researchers at NY Medical College at a level of $1,122,000 currently. There are 44 researchers funded in New York State at a level of $10,290,000 and 43 in Connecticut at $9.3 million. To learn more, visit . 

For all the highlights from Scientific Sessions visit

American Heart Association Warns of Heart Risks When Shoveling Snow

The American Heart Association says that for most people, shoveling snow may not lead to any health problems. However, the association warns that the risk of a heart attack during snow shoveling may increase for some, stating that the combination of colder temperatures and physical exertion increases the workload on the heart.

People who are outdoors in cold weather should avoid sudden exertion, like lifting a heavy shovel full of snow. Even walking through heavy, wet snow or snow drifts can strain a person’s heart.

 “For people with existing heart conditions like heart failure, high blood pressure or cholesterol, the increased workload on the heart from activities such as shoveling of heavy snow, can put them at higher risk for heart attack,” said James Lyons, MD, FACC, cardiologist with The Heart Center and Board President of the American Heart Association.

To help make snow removal safer, the American Heart Association has compiled a list of practical tips.

·                 Give yourself a break. Take frequent rest breaks during shoveling so you don’t overstress your heart. Pay attention to how your body feels during those breaks.
·                 Don’t eat a heavy meal prior or soon after shoveling. Eating a large meal can put an extra load on your heart.  
·                 Use a small shovel or consider a snow thrower. The act of lifting heavy snow can raise blood pressure acutely during the lift. It is safer to lift smaller amounts more times, than to lug a few huge shovelfuls of snow. When possible, simply push the snow.
·                 Learn the heart attack warning signs and listen to your body, but remember this: Even if you’re not sure it’s a heart attack, have it checked out (tell a doctor about your symptoms). Minutes matter! Fast action can save lives — maybe your own. Don’t wait more than five minutes to call 9-1-1
·                 Don’t drink alcoholic beverages before or immediately after shoveling. Alcohol may increase a person’s sensation of warmth and may cause them to underestimate the extra strain their body is under in the cold.
·                 Consult a doctor. If you have a medical condition, don’t exercise on a regular basis or are middle aged or older, meet with your doctor prior to the first anticipated snowfall.
·                 Be aware of the dangers of hypothermia. Heart failure causes most deaths in hypothermia. To prevent hypothermia, dress in layers of warm clothing, which traps air between layers forming a protective insulation. Wear a hat because much of your body’s heat can be lost through your head.

Heart Attack Warning Signs
Some heart attacks are sudden and intense — the “movie heart attack,” where it is clear what’s happening. But most heart attacks start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. Often people affected aren’t sure what’s wrong and wait too long before getting help. Here are signs that can mean a heart attack is happening:

·                 Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.  
·                 Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.  
·                 Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort. 
·                 Other signs may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness      
·                 As with men, women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting, and back or jaw pain.

Calling 9-1-1 is almost always the fastest way to get lifesaving treatment. It is best to call Emergency medical services (EMS) for rapid transport to the emergency room. EMS staff can begin treatment when they arrive — up to an hour sooner than if someone gets to the hospital by car. Patients with chest pain who arrive by ambulance usually receive faster treatment at the hospital, too. If you can’t access EMS, have someone drive you to the hospital right away. If you’re the one having symptoms, don’t drive yourself, unless you have absolutely no other option.

Heart attacks can cause sudden cardiac arrest, where the heart stops beating, or beats irregularly, failing to pump enough blood. One moment, a person can be walking and talking, and the next moment they collapse, lifeless. They will be unresponsive, not breathing or only gasping. Their lips will start to turn blue and skin will become pale. Quick recognition and fast action is the key to saving a life.

Bystanders can help cardiac arrest victims survive, if they act fast. First, call 9-1-1 and start CPR right away. Then, if an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) is available, use it as soon as possible. If two people are available to help, one should begin CPR immediately while the other calls 9-1-1 and finds an AED.

Hands Only CPR is effective in saving lives during cardiac arrest. Hands-Only CPR has just two simple steps. If you see a teen or adult suddenly collapse,
            (1) Call 9-1-1; and
(2) Push hard and fast in the center of the chest to the beat of the disco song “Stayin’ Alive” (100 beats per minute) until help arrives.

To learn more about CPR or find a local class, visit .

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

National Eating Healthy Day at Fairway Market

We have the great #NationalEatingHealthyDay recipes from Fairway Markets in Pelham and Stamford, CT! Thank you to Fairway and Chefs Jesse Jones and Al Riesenburger for preparing delicious and healthy foods for customers to try and enjoy!

Moroccan Quinoa Salad and Butternut Squash Salad

Friday, October 31, 2014

43-year old Heart Attack Survivor Reminds Women To Take Care of Their Hearts

Pam Dymond, guest speaker at Thursday’s Tri-County Go Red For Women Luncheon at West Hills Country Club, had a message for the 220 women in the audience, “Take time for yourselves…listen to your body, and never, ever take one single beat of your heart for granted!”

The Accord resident was the guest speaker at the American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women Luncheon, an education and fund raising event focused on preventing women’s number one killer—heart disease.

Dymond had a heart attack at age 43 with no prior risk factors except inactivity and being overweight. Sudden chest pain and profuse sweating landed her in the emergency room, and a cardiac catheterization revealed a 90% blocked coronary artery. A stent was used to open the artery. Since her heart attack, she has lost more than 50 pounds and has embraced healthier eating and exercise into new lifestyle.

“It’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle change,” she said, “My daughter is why I keep trying to be healthy.”

Event Chair, Deborah Marshall, gave Dymond's daughter, Elise, a Red Dress necklace to match her mother's, saying that the girl reminds us all of the reasons why we have to be healthy.

Dymond asked women to take care of their own hearts and also help other women by supporting the American Heart Association’s (AHA) research and efforts through the national Go Red For Women campaign. She added, “I am here today because of research breakthroughs and science. The stent that was used to save my life was developed by an American Heart Association-funded researcher,” she said, “We need more research funding so more lives can be saved.”

During the morning educational session, women learned facts about women and heart disease and information on heart murmus from  Dr. Amala Chirumamilla, cardiologist with Bon Secours Charity Health System. 

Leading health and nutrition authority, Joy Bauer, nutrition and health expert for NBC’s TODAY show and a #1 New York Times bestselling author, added to the healthy living theme and offered her four steps to a healthier heart. They include knowing cholesterol and blood pressure numbers, exercising 30 minutes every day, managing weight, and eating super-heart healthy foods like nuts, chia seeds, pumpkin and berries. At the close of her speech she asked the audience to keep active and then invited guests up to the stage for a spirited dance-off.

The inspirational and informational event was chaired by Deborah Marshall, Vice President of Public Relations, Marketing & Strategic Planning at Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center. The event is part of the AHA’s national campaign to raise awareness among women and provide them with tools to reduce their risk for heart disease and stroke - the number one and four causes of death among women.

Heart disease and stroke claim the lives of one in three women -- about 432,000 lives each year, or nearly one death each minute. More women than men die from heart disease and stroke.

The Go Red For Women Luncheon is sponsored nationally by Macy’s and presented locally by the Signature Sponsor, Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center, Bon Secours Charity Health System. Local sponsors include Active International, Nice Pak/PDI and media sponsor WHUD radio.

To make a donation to support Go Red For Women, please visit online or call Gia McCormack at 845-905-2127 or by email to

Thursday, October 30, 2014

National Eating Healthy Day is Wednesday, Nov. 5

National Eating Healthy Day is Wednesday, Nov. 5, and the American Heart Association wants people to listen the advice of generations of mothers: Eat your vegetables…and fruit.

Americans typically consume about half their recommended daily servings of fruits and vegetables. The American Heart Association recommends eating eight or more fruit and vegetable servings every day. For an average adult consuming 2,000 calories daily, that means about 4 ½ cups of fruits and vegetables a day.

“Fruits and vegetables are high in vitamins, minerals and fiber, and low in saturated fat and calories,” said Carolyn Torella, AHA spokesperson, “Most fruits and vegetables also have no or very little sodium, and eating a variety of fruits and vegetables may help you control your weight and your blood pressure.”

“Add vegetables to lunch or dinner or snacks by topping sandwiches with spinach, lettuces, cucumbers and tomatoes. Have a hearty salad with chicken or tuna for lunch or dinner. Eat veggies or fruits as snacks," she said.

While heart disease and stroke are leading causes of death and disability for all Americans, more than 80 percent of risk factors for heart disease and stroke are preventable through behaviors like making better food choices, getting regular exercise, keeping a healthy weight and not smoking.

In Middletown, the American Heart Association is celebrating with Orange Regional Medical Center, local sponsor of Healthy Eating Day. Orange Regional is planning healthy activities for employees and visitors.

The AHA is offering a free fruits and vegetable resource guide to help people incorporate more fruits and vegetables in their diet. For more information on National Eating Healthy Day, to download the resource guide or to find recipes and other nutrition information, visit

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Fairfield County Heart Walk Celebrates 20th Anniversary - Honors Local Survivors

The American Heart Association’s Fairfield County Heart Walk was held on Sunday, October 26th at Calf Pasture Beach in Norwalk to raise funds and awareness to fight heart disease and stroke—the number one and four killers in Connecticut. Nearly 1,000 people attended the event.

Participants walked the three-mile route for heart health and raised funds with their company and community teams. Three local heart disease survivors were honored at the event.

Rocky Harwood, 71, had his first heart attack in 1992 at age 50. Last summer he felt discomfort across the chest when he was walking. After an angiogram, doctors found his right coronary artery was almost completely blocked. Since his open heart surgery, he has been walking up to five miles a day with his wife.

A passing comment to his heart surgeon that his wife Katie, 66, had felt a strange pressure in her chest while walking resulted in her seeing a cardiologist. An EKG and a stress test showed she had a 95% arterial blockage. She had triple bypass surgery in August.

“I told the doctors at the initial exam that there was nothing wrong with me. That it was just a little pressure when I walked, a little shortness of breath. I ignored all of it,” she said, “Even though I heard statistics that heart disease is the number one killer of women, I still believed it was a man’s disease…until now.”

Heart disease can hit men and women at any age--even a 46-year old Zumba instructor like Lydia Winsor, from Stamford. She first experienced slight discomfort in her arm and mild pressure in her chest, and thought it was a simple muscle strain. But during a trip to Mexico for a family reunion, Winsor had a routine physical examination and further tests that showed the cause of her discomfort was a leaky heart valve, a heart murmur, and an enlarged heart. In autumn 2012, she had aortic valve replacement surgery performed at Stamford Hospital. Winsor and the Harwoods were honored for helping raise funds and awareness for heart disease and stroke.

Heart disease and stroke kill 1 in 3 women. More women than men die of heart disease and stroke. As with men, the most common heart attack symptom in women is chest pain or discomfort. But women are more likely to experience the other symptoms, mild chest pressure, shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting, and back or jaw pain. But more than 80% of heart disease can be prevented by lifestyle changes like eating healthier and exercising vigorously 30 minutes a day for most days of the week.

Though medical advances and early action can save many lives from heart disease, it is simple lifestyle changes, like walking 30 minutes daily, eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables and quitting smoking that can help prevent more than 80% of heart disease, according to the American Heart Association.

To honor those who have made significant lifestyle changes to prevent heart disease, the American Heart Association presented the 2014 Lifestyle Change Award, to Claude Edkins from Greenwich, CT.

Knowing his weight was unhealthy, putting at higher risk for heart attack, Edkins tried many times to lose weight. He lost over 75 pounds by exercising and eating right, and he also quit smoking.

To learn more about preventing heart disease and stroke, visit To make a donation to the American Heart Association, please visit

The Fairfield County Heart Walk is sponsored nationally by Subway and presented locally by Cause Sponsor, Stamford Hospital and Regional Hands-Only CPR Sponsor, Westchester Medical Center. Media sponsors include The Hour newspaper, Hearst Media, The Fox 95.9FM radio, and News 12 Connecticut. 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Today Show's Joy Bauer to Keynote TriCounty Go Red Luncheon in Middletown

Leading health and nutrition authority, Joy Bauer, has been announced as the keynote speaker for the American Heart Association’s TriCounty Go Red for Women Luncheon. The luncheon is set for Thursday, October 30th at West Hills Country Club, 121 Golf Links Road, Middletown, NY.

As the nutrition and health expert for NBC’s TODAY show, Joy shares reliable, practical, and straightforward advice that helps millions of Americans eat better and lead healthier, more fulfilling lives. She also hosts the program’s popular “Joy Fit Club” series, which celebrates determined people who have lost more than 100 pounds through diet and exercise alone and recently debuted in the new PBS special, Joy Bauer’s Food Remedies.

Bauer is also a monthly columnist for Woman’s Day magazine and a #1 New York Times bestselling author with 11 books published. She is the nutritionist for the New York City Ballet and wide range of celebrity clients and Olympic athletes.

Passionate about delivering scientifically sound health information, Bauer received the 2010 National Media Excellence Award from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and the 2012 American Society of Nutrition Science Media Award.

“We know Joy strongly believes that it’s never too early or late to reap the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, and so does the American Heart Association,” said Deborah Marshall, Vice President of Public Relations, Marketing & Strategic Planning at Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center, and chair of the 2014 TriCounty Go Red for Women campaign and luncheon, “We know she will inspire women in our audience to start, or continue, their healthy journey.”

The luncheon is part of the AHA’s campaign to raise awareness among women and provide them with tools to reduce their risk for heart disease and stroke - the number one and four causes of death among women. The half-day wellness event includes morning educational breakout sessions, an interactive heart check-up and silent auction. Funds raised support the AHA’s awareness programs and research.

Heart disease and stroke claim the lives of one in three women -- about 432,000 lives each year, or nearly one death each minute. More women than men die from heart disease and stroke.

The Go Red For Women Luncheon is sponsored nationally by Macy’s and presented locally by the Signature Sponsor, Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center, Bon Secours Charity Health System. Local sponsors include Active International, Nice Pak/PDI and media sponsor WHUD radio.

For event info, please visit  or call Gia McCormack at 845-905-2127 or by email to .

Media, please call 845-905-2123.