Winter 2006
Winter 2006
  • Bridgeport Hospital Named One of 100 Top Heart Hospitals

    Bridgeport Hospital Named One of 100 Top Heart Hospitals

    Second Recent Study Underscores Our Quality of Care!

    Bridgeport Hospital has been named one of the "100 Top Hospitals"® in America for cardiovascular services by the healthcare rating organization Solucient. Bridgeport Hospital is the ONLY hospital in Fairfield County and one of only three hospitals statewide to earn the prestigious honor in Solucient's seventh annual cardiac care study.

    The notification came just two weeks after Bridgeport Hospital was ranked "Best in Connecticut" and placed in the top five percent nationally in overall cardiac services by HealthGrades®, another major hospital rating organization.

    Like the HealthGrades study, Solucient focuses on clinical quality, but also considers cost effectiveness in providing care.

    Bridgeport Hospital is the only hospital in Connecticut to receive BOTH of these prestigious Cardiac Care designations!

    Keeping Your Blood Thin and Slippery

    "A woman can never be too rich or too thin," according to Wallis Simpson, the Duchess of Windsor. In today's era of coronary artery disease prevention and political correctness, that quote would have to be updated to read, "A woman, or a man, can never be too thin or too thin-blooded!"

    Of course that's an oversimplification, but it does follow the general thinking of cardiovascular specialists: An important goal for heart health is to keep both your body and your blood thin.

    Why is thin blood important? Because thin blood is less likely to form clots.

    If you have a cut on the outside of your body, blood clotting stops the bleeding and can save your life. However, when clots form inside your blood vessels, they can block the flow of nutrients and oxygen to the heart or brain, causing heart attacks and strokes. Blood clots are also involved in pulmonary embolisms and varicose veins.

    Evidence suggests that thicker, stickier blood clots more easily and increases your chances of having a heart attack or stroke.

    Even if You're Not Too Rich, You Can Help Keep Your Blood Thin!

    Factors that can contribute to keeping your blood thin and slippery and less prone to clotting include anticoagulant medications; avoiding cold climates (if possible!); a heart healthy diet with plenty of water; herbal supplements; and lifestyle habits.

    Anticoagulant Medications

    Several anticoagulant medications are prescribed by physicians for patients with cardiovascular disease. (Anti = against; coagulant = clot).

    Warfarin is an established antithrombotic drug. (Thrombosis = clot.) It prevents clots by interfering with the action of vitamin K and a blood protein called thrombin. People who are on Warfarin need to keep the amount of high–vitamin–K foods (like green leafy vegetables and broccoli) constant in their diet and have their blood tested regularly.

    Aspirin is an effective anticoagulant that is called an antiplatelet medication because it prevents platelets from sticking together and forming clots. It has been shown to be effective in preventing heart attacks and strokes. In fact, emergency medical personnel, when they confirm a diagnosis of heart attack, may give you aspirin to help dissolve the blood clot forming in your coronary arteries. Aspirin is recommended for men and women who have known risk factors for cardiovascular disease and for those who have cardiovascular disease. Check with your doctor before starting aspirin therapy. Women who are at low risk for developing heart disease do not need take an aspirin a day as it may increase the risk of hemorrhagic stroke (caused by bleeding in the brain) and gastrointestinal bleeding.

    Plavix (clopidogrel) and Ticlid (ticlopidine) are new antiplatelet medications that are used for people who have already had a heart attack or angioplasty. These medications have been shown to decrease the risk of a repeat heart attack or stroke and are often used in combination with aspirin therapy.

    Oh, Those New England Winters!

    Many researchers believe that the sharp increase in deaths from heart disease during the winter, especially around the holidays, is partially explained by the fact that blood pressure tends to rise in cold weather—not a good thing.

    Also, short days and long nights are a combination that can change the levels of hormones in your body—hormones such as cortisol, melatonin and vasopressin. These changes can be bad for your heart health. A warmer climate may be just the ticket—Florida, anyone?

    Other Lifestyle Factors

    Diet – Garlic, ginger, and fish oil, have all been shown to have blood thinning properties. A heart-healthy Mediterranean diet contains a lot of these foods and spices, and has been shown to be beneficial in protecting you against heart disease. Drinking plenty of water also help keep your blood thin.

    Supplements - Ginkgo biloba, dong quai, and feverfew all have blood-thinning properties. But check with your doctor before taking any herbal supplements, especially if you are on any medications. Some herbals can interfere with the action of certain medications. Vitamin E in doses over 400 IU is no longer being recommended to heart patients or patients trying to avoid heart disease.

    Lifestyle Habits – Emotional stress can excite the heart and start the fight-or-flight physical response. Our blood gets stickier when we are under emotional stress. So take a yoga class, meditate, or count your blessings—whatever helps you to stress less!

    Exercising helps to keep blood thin and your blood vessels healthy. Donating blood helps to reduce blood viscosity as well.

    Moderate alcohol intake helps to keep the blood thin. Moderate means no more than two drinks per day for men and postmenopausal women; one drink for women of childbearing age.

    Try any or all of these ideas to keep your blood running smoothly.

    Remember: When it comes to your blood, thick and sticky is bad—slim and slippery is good!