To keep your heart healthy, you should eat well and exercise regularly, keep your weight down and avoid smoking. In this section, we'll try to keep you up to date on relevant news that involves your heart.


"Ask Dr. T” in top 10 Heart Disease Blogs of 2012


CardiacHealth’s “Ask Dr. T” was listed as one of the Top 10 Heart Disease Blogs of 2012 by Healthline Networks, a leading healthcare Internet company.

"Cardiac perspectives from a heart surgeon"

In March 2013,  I participated in a Podcast and several articles, published as "New fronts in heart disease: perspectives from a heart surgeon" in the Digital Journal. In it, I had the opportunity to discuss advances in the the treatment and prevention of heart disease. These were the questions that I addressed during the interview. For the answers I chose from a large variety of topics, outlined below. Of course, this is a very incomplete list, but nonetheless it involved far more that what could be covered in a half-hour podcast:

Best of Cardiac & Heart Sites

CardiacHealth  has been listed as one of the "Best of Cardiac & Heart Sites" by Pacific Medical Training

Bush undergoes stenting for a blocked artery in his heart


On July 19th President George W. Bush underwent a stent procedure (PCI) for a blocked artery in his heart. The condition was discovered Monday when he had his annual physical.  The operation was "performed successfully".

Cardiac Health Video Q&A 4/25/2014

Even though I had some technical problems before and during the presentation, I believe this video session was a worthy first endeavor:

The associated PowerPoint Presentation can be found here. I have made some minor changes to make it easier to view. The associated links will redirect you to the appropriate web pages.

Please complete this questionnaire if you'd like to participate in the next live video session. I need the information ahead of time!

Dr T

Diabetes and Cardiac Health

Diabetes affects nearly 26 million people, 8.3 percent of the U.S. population, or almost 100 million people if patients with pre-diabetes are included. The number of Americans with diabetes is projected to double or triple by 2050.

Don’t let your right hand know what your left hand is doing…

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I am sure you have seen the Cialis ad; it has been around for quite a while and like many others, it plays on TV in context with the expected male audience. While morning shows receive their share of women-focused advertising, men are targeted when sport shows are present.

Men are expected (when not lusting after manly trucks, boats or guns) to struggle with hair loss and/or ED, while on the internet (where things are less strictly supervised), they get encouraged to grow their penis size to unheard-of proportions.

Heart Stents Are Still Being Overused in 2013

The expected benefits of stenting in stable coronary artery disease (a reduction in the risk of death or heart attack),  is not supported by its widespread usage and non-medical factors sometimes play a major influence on physician decision making.

No evidence Nordic diet prevents heart disease

“Roll out the reindeer and berries for Nordic health fix,” The Daily Telegraph tells us, reporting that a Scandinavian diet can lower cholesterol and may reduce the risk of heart disease. Meanwhile, the Mail Online website tells us to “forget the Mediterranean diet” in favour of Nordic foods.

Protecting the rights of concealed-weapons permit holders?

Where I live, on February 21, 2013 the issue of gun control resulted in an emergency session by the Maine Legislature, and a bipartisan resolution to enact a new law that will make identifying information of concealed-weapons permit holders private. It was the direct result of a perfectly legal request by a local newspaper last week for information on these permits. The resulting public furor, as well as a not-so subtle threat to withdraw advertising, prompted a hasty withdrawal of the request.

Snoring and heart disease

Yesterday, the medical correspondent to NBC aired a story with the conclusion: if you snore, you are at risk for developing heart disease.

Statins may do more harm than good for older people

The side effects of Australia’s most commonly prescribed drugs that lower your cholesterol may outweigh the benefits in older people, a new clinical review has found.

The Portland Community Free Clinic

For some time now I have been a volunteer physician at the Portland Community Free Clinic (part of the India Street Public Health Center of Portland, Maine), where low-income residents in the area receive free medical care. When you visit CardiacHealth to get a question answered, please consider making a tax deductible contribution to the Friends of the PCFC.
The FPCFC is a non-profit organisation, created to support the Clinic.

To Vaccinate Or Not

Debunking The Myth About Vaccination 

Please take a look at this website. It offers valuable insights about vaccination. I was glad to post this link to a very valuable medical resource.

Coronary Artery Disease at a young age

Since the Korean war in 1953, examination of soldiers killed in action has shown evidence of coronary artery disease (CAD), even at a young age (av: 22 yo).  Gradually, the incidence CAD in soldiers has decreased from 77% to 8.5%:

Gov. Christie's obesity risks

Governor Chris Christie has done the fight against the obesity epidemic in America no favors, when he lashed out against a former White House physician worrying he might die in office as a result of complications caused by his excess weight.

Diet soft drinks expose you to increased risks of stroke, heart attack, and vascular death

ScienceDaily, 02/01/2012

A new study finds a potential link between daily consumption of diet soft drinks and the risk of vascular events. Individuals who drink diet soft drinks on a daily basis may be at increased risk of suffering vascular events such as stroke, heart attack, and vascular death.

Rosie O'Donnell's Heart Attack

Talk show host Rosie O'Donnell, 50, announced  she had sustained a heart attack that required treatment with a stent. At first she thought she pulled or strained a muscle. It wasn't until she felt nauseous and clammy that she realized something might be wrong. As she wrote on August 20th:

“a few hours later my body hurt,  i had an ache in my chest, both my arms were sore, … the pain persisted, i became nauseous, my skin was clammy, i was very very hot, i threw up”

Most Risk Factors for Cardiovascular Disease are similar for men and women

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death, responsible for over 800.000 death/year in the US.

The major Risk Factors for CVD and Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) are similar for both men and women, with several additional risk factors for women associated with pregnancy and polycystic ovaries:

The 2010 Dietary Guidelines

A poor diet is responsible for a number of chronic illnesses such as high cholesterol, obesity, hypertension, and diabetes, resulting in as much as 75% of the cost of medical care in the United States.

Barry Manilow, spokesperson for “Get Back In Rhythm”

World-famous musician and singer Barry Manilow is one of the more than 2.5 million Americans living with Atrial fibrillation (AF, or AFib), a disease that causes your heart to race and beat out of rhythm, and make it hard to pump blood efficiently to your body.

Statin benefits questioned in low-risk patients

People without heart disease should think twice before taking cholesterol-lowering statins. In a review of the medical literature, researchers found the drugs did appear to slash deaths ever so slightly in patients at low risk of heart disease. But many of the reports they looked at -- all but one funded by drug makers -- were flawed.


Ivabradine, a “sinus node inhibitor”, is now marketed in 27 European countries for the symptomatic treatment of chronic stable angina pectoris in patients with normal sinus rhythm who have a contraindication or intolerance to beta-blockers.

Bill Clinton a Vegetarian

Former President Bill Clinton has become a vegetarian and now weighs again what he did in high school, and was recently named PETA's 2010 Person of the Year.

The effect of Obesity on the Economy

Excessive weight affects virtually every organ system in the body, increasing the risk of diabetes, myocardial infarction, troke, cancer, sleep apnea, osteoarthritis, and other chronic diseases.

Improper Cardiac Stent Implantations

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Ranking Member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) today released a Finance Committee report detailing the case of a doctor who reportedly implanted nearly 600 potentially medically unnecessary stents from 2007 through mid-2009 at St. Joseph Medical Center in Towson, Maryland, and his relationship with the manufacturer of the stents, Abbott Labs.  The Senators’ report found that the questionable stent implantations cost the Medicare program $3.8 million during that period.

Rahm Emanuel and reducing health care costs.

Posted on December 21, 2010 - 6:56pm

Rahm Emanuel said today city workers should take better care of themselves -- with City Hall's help -- as one way to  save taxpayers money by reducing health care costs.

Inaccuarte Risk Predictor Calculator sponsored by the Drug Industry?

Posted on October 21, 2010 - 1:50pm

A September 20, 2010, NYTimes article describes inaccurate outcomes with a point based tool to calculate your chances of developing coronary artery disease & stroke over the next 10 years. The simplified system was developed so doctors and patients would not need a computer. Each risk factor corresponds to a number of points; the more points you have, the higher your risk.

Stents and Stroke

LONDON - Stroke patients over 70 who get stents to keep their arteries open may be doubling their risk of having another stroke or dying compared to patients who get surgery instead, a new study says.

"Pump Head"

Decreased Oxygen blood levels in the brain during heart surgery correlates to increased risk of suffering from the mental impairment dubbed "pump head".

CT Coronary Angiography comes of age!

May 21, 2010

A non-invasive and much cheaper test for coronary disease is available when  a diagnosis of CAD is uncertain. Until recently, CT Coronary Angiography (CTCA) could not adequately identify coronary artery blockages. While not accurate enough to provide a pathway necessary to identify and treat these lesions, it avoids the risks and high costs of cardiac catherization, an important benefit. CTCA is most useful in patients with moderate risk for coronary artery disease.

Losing weight is hard work!

Losing weight is difficult, and keeping it off may be even harder. In a study, published in the March 24, 2010 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association, middle aged women of normal weight needed at least an hour of moderate exercise a day to prevent gaining more than five pounds over a three-year period. Overweight women with the same amount of exercise were not able to avoid gaining weight, however.


Unnecessary procedures

In a study, published on-line in the journal Circulation on April 13, 2010, cardiologists were asked under what circumstances they would order a cardiac catheterization. 29% of physicians ordered the test for other than clinical reasons, foremost amongst them malpractice concerns. About 25% of the doctors ordered more tests than were necessary, driving up costs. Others did it because of concerns of what competing colleagues would do in similar circumstances. The cardiologists indicated they rarely ordered a cardiac catheterization for financial reasons.

A full report is not yet available.

Excessive Stent Use

In a February 11, 2010 article published in the Wall Street Journal the excessive use of coronary artery stents was exposed. The COURAGE trial, published in 2007, argued that 1 million PCI procedures are performed each year, with at least 30% being performed in stable CAD patients. Based on the COURAGE trial results, 300,000 of these procedures could be deferred.

U.S. could save $5 billion of the $15 billion it spends on stent procedures each year if all doctors followed Courage's guidance—that is, putting certain heart patients on generic drugs and turning to stents only if the pains persists.  

Healthcare Costs

Calculate the cost of your Healthcare under the new Healthcare Reform Bill

This link from The Kaiser Family Foundation calculates the costs for persons aged 19-64 who have to buy their own health insurance. As a drawback of this calculator it doesn't compare with costs under the previous system.

Reducing Your Health Care Costs

To Kristen Mack, The Chicago Tribune, December 20, 2010

(The Chicago Tribune today released a Rahm Emanuel statement in which he promises to reduce City workers' health care costs by $500M, or 20%, with "... just 4 percent of the city’s workforce accounting for roughly 65 percent of the city’s health care costs...")

The New Healthcare law

The new Healthcare Bill

With the passage of this new Health Care Reform Bill, do you think that the pros outnumber the cons?

Obama explained in its signing ceremony at the White House that “this legislation is not going to repair every thing that ails our health care system, but it moves us decisively in the proper course.

Will this $940 billion new Health Care Reform Bill be advantageous for the the vast majority of People in America? Let’s look at a number of the facts as we try to clarify the benefits and drawbacks of this new Health Care Reform Bill:

Will a testosterone shot have any adverse effects on an artery stent?

Testosterone supplementation has been shown to increase muscle mass and strength in healthy older men. However, a new study, reported in the New England Journal of Medicine 1), showed that in older men (>74 yo), testosterone treatment was associated with an significantly higher rate of cardiovascular adverse events.

The future of healthcare in the US

On Healthcare:

What is the alternative to ObamaCare?  None has ever been proposed by the Republicans other than canceling it altogether.