At Schiller, from the beginning, we declared war on sudden cardiac death. But we know that this battle will only be won if all the involved parts play as a team, that is why we are so proud of putting in the hands of physicians and researchers accurate devices with innovative technology. Together, we hope to see the dream of banishing this threat that affects 6.2 million adults in the United States alone.
February, National Heart Month
February, National Heart Month
In ancient times it was believed that human beings contained love in their hearts. Today we know that this organ does not contain love, but it is very important that it is healthy to be able to give affection and enjoy life. February is National Heart Month and as a way to spread awareness about this topic, we would like to make a brief account of everything that science has advanced to take care of the heart and to heal it.
Many believe that the risks that heart faces are the result of modern life, so sedentary and with many unhealthy food options at your fingertips. However, the report published in JAMA (November 18, 2009) showed evidence that the Egyptian upper class suffered from atherosclerosis, stroke, and heart attacks. This suggests that risk factors for the heart go far beyond lifestyle.
The heart has intrigued ancient and modern doctors forever. As we know, the first to report that blood travels through the body in a circular way was William Harvey, physician to King Charles I of England. But before that, in Florence, Italy, Leonardo Da Vinci, although not a doctor, had already made a detailed description of death from coronary heart disease. Later, Dr. Fredrich Hoffmam (University of Halle, Germany) realized that this disease is characterized by the stretching of the coronary arteries.
There are many other crucial dates that were the first steps of what now is a sustained fight against sudden cardiac death:
Angina. This symptom of coronary heart disease was first described in 1768 by William Heberden. William Osle MD (Johns Hopkins Hospital) labeled angina as a syndrome, not a disease. In the early twentieth century, cardiologist James B. Herrick concluded that narrowing of the coronary arteries contributed to angina.
The American Heart Association. In 1924, in response to findings over time and growing interest in the coronary area, the AHA was born. The associations and doctors that made it up at that time created a united front to try to stop death among their patients.
Cardiac catheterization. The relentless efforts of doctors and researchers bore fruit, and thus, the advantages of heart catheterization were discovered. The credit for this breakthrough goes to doctors Egas Moniz (Portugal) and Werner Forssmann (Germany). To this discovery was added, in the early 60s, the contribution of pediatrician Frank Mason Sones, Jr., who invented coronary angiography, which gave specialists a huge advantage in the race to avoid sudden cardiac death.
Diet and heart. The tight relationship between heart health and healthy eating became clear in the 50's thanks to the research of John Gofman (discovered LDL and HDL cholesterol) and Ancel Keys (pointed out the advantages of the Mediterranean diet).
Life-saving surgeries. Between 1960 and 1980 it was possible to use of never-before-seen resources such as the stent, balloon angioplasty and bypass, which forever changed the prognosis of cardiac patients. Thanks to those surgical advances, suffering from a heart condition is no longer necessarily a death sentence.
Research in the cardiology area has never stopped, and in fact, the COVID-19 pandemic has taken it to new horizons. Now, in addition to trying to solve the old riddles, one more has been added: how to minimize the damage to the heart that many COVID-19 patients suffer and why some die and others do not. Although the war on sudden cardiac death is far from winning, we are confident that each step brings us closer to victory.