Spring 2007
Spring 2007

PAD, Star Wars and Heart Attacks in the Leg!

Peripheral artery disease (PAD)the hardening or narrowing of leg arteriesis like having a slow, continuous, painful heart attack in the leg. It happens when plaque accumulates in the leg arteries, blocking blood flow. This can lead to ulcers (wounds that dont heal), gangrene (tissue death)even loss of the leg. People with diabetes or hypertension, smokers and those who are obese are at high risk for PAD.

Bridgeport Hospital has a new tool for treating PAD and while its not quite like the weapons in Star Wars, it is quite amazing. The Spectranetic CVX-300 Excimer Laser System uses Cool Laser Revascularization for peripheral artery therapy. Heres how it works: A flexible fiberoptic laser, inserted into the artery through a catheter, is threaded to the blockage site. Transmitting short bursts of cool ultraviolet energy, the laser moves slowly through the blockage at a rate of one millimeter per second, vaporizing the plaque and the blood clot as it goes. Once the blockage is cleared, the fiberoptic laser is withdrawn and X-ray contrast dye is injected through the catheter into the blood vessel, giving the physician a good image of the results of the procedure.

So for those who suffer from peripheral artery disease at Bridgeport Hospital, the force may be with you!

Blood Pressure and Stroke ScreeningFriday, May 18
The Stroke Center at Bridgeport Hospital will offer free blood pressure screenings and stroke risk assessments in the hospital lobby on May 18 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Stop by and learn
  • how to recognize the symptoms of a stroke
  • what to do when you feel these symptoms or see them in someone else
  • and much more!
  • New American Heart Association Guidelines for Women

    The 2007 Guidelines for Preventing Cardiovascular Disease in Women were announced in the March 20 issue of the American Heart Association journal Circulation. The recommendations focus on a womans lifetime risk for heart disease and stroke. They emphasize the importance of aggressively changing lifestyles to reduce the overall risk of a cardiac event. There are new recommendations on aspirin, hormone replacement therapy, vitamin supplements, diet and exercise.

    Highlights of the New Recommendations for Women

    Know if you are at risk. Talk to your doctor about your heart disease risk. Seek aggressive treatment if you have risk factors that can be modified, such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure or smoking. Lifestyle changes and medication may be needed. Develop strategies and work closely with your physician to combat these modifiable risk factors.

    Aspirin. If you do not have established heart disease, you should not take aspirin for the sole purpose of preventing heart disease or stroke, unless your physician specifically recommends that you do so.

    If you do have established heart disease, or are over age 65, your physician will routinely prescribe preventive daily aspirin (unless you are allergic to it).

    Exercise. Exercise at a moderate to vigorous pace for 30 minutes a day on most days of the weekand up to 90 minutes a day if you need to lose weight. Most women dont get anywhere near this amount of exercise yet exercise is key to preventing heart disease and controlling your weight.

    Vitamins and supplements. Women with heart disease should take daily doses (8501000mg) of two important fatty acids: omega3 (Eicosapentaenoic Acid, or EPA) and omega6 (Docosahexaenoic Acid, or DHA). All women should eat 1012 ounces of oily fish each week to obtain a natural source of omega3 and omega6.

    Although antioxidant supplements such as vitamins E, C and betacarotene can be beneficial to your overall health, do not take them solely to prevent a cardiac event. Also, folic acid has not been shown to prevent heart attacks and should not be taken in doses larger than the 400mcg per day found in most multivitamins.

    Hormone replacement therapy (HRT). HRT and selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMS) are not recommended to prevent heart disease in women.

    Depression. All women with established heart disease are urged to be screened for depression, and to be treated if depression is diagnosed. Depression is treatable!

    Diet. Most of the 2007 recommendations are familiar, but there is one change.

    • Fruits, vegetables, whole grains and oily fish (1012 ounces every week) should make up the biggest portion of a womans diet. (You knew that.)
    • Keep salt down to a total of one teaspoon a day, which is about 20004000 grams of sodium. (You knew that, too.)
    • Trans fats (partially hydrogenated fats) are typically found in baked products, snack foods and many processed foods, and should be totally eliminated from the diet. (Also no surprise.) Trans fats are now included on nutritional labels.
    • Saturated fat intake has been reduced to no more than seven percent of your total calories. This is new. The previous recommendation was no more than ten percent of total caloric intake. The new level requires constant vigilance to reduce the frequency and amount of saturated fat in your diet. Saturated fat is the type found in pork, beef, lamb and chicken; dairy products; and coconut, palm and palm kernel oils.

    These new recommendations for women require aggressive lifestyle changes. Women are becoming increasingly aware of the risks of heart disease. It is now time to turn that knowledge into action by making changes before you are stricken with heart disease or a stroke.

    Basic Broiled Shad


    • 2 lbs. boned shad fillets
    • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
    • 2 tsp. lemon juice
    • 1 tsp. grated onion
    • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 1 tsp. paprika
    • 1/4 tsp. crushed thyme
    • dash pepper
    • chopped parsley
    • lemon wedges

    Instructions: Cut fillets into 4 serving-size portions. Combine remaining ingredients, except parsley and lemon wedges, to make a sauce. Place fish, skin side up on a greased broiler pan. Brush fillets with the sauce. Broil for 5 minutes, about 3 inches from the heat. Turn carefully, brush other side with the sauce. Broil 5 to 7 minutes longer or until fish is browned and flakes easily with a fork. Sprinkle with parsley and garnish with lemon wedges. Makes 6 servings.

    Nutritional Information: (per serving) 379 calories, 25.6 grams protein, 0.4 grams carbohydrate, 30.0 grams fat, 0 grams cholesterol, 1.3 grams saturated fat, 433 milligrams sodium

    Nutrition nibblet: Shad are hatched in fresh water, migrate out to sea and eventually return to spawn. The shad is three to five years old when it returns to its spawning ground in April and May. By this time the shad have traveled thousand of miles migrating seasonally between the Gulf of Maine and Cape Hatteras. They do not eat in freshwater