November 15, 1994
Media Contact:Gary Stephenson
Phone: (410) 955-5384
E-mail: Gstephen@welchlink.welch.jhu.edu

Women who have had coronary artery bypass surgery often do not modify dangerous health habits, such as smoking and eating fatty foods, which could lead to additional heart disease, say researchers at The Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing.

While patients may not change certain behaviors on their own, the study shows that frequent follow-up--in this case by nurses--is effective in helping bypass patients reduce cardiac risk factors.

"People tend to think they have a new heart after bypass surgery," says Jerilyn Allen, Sc.D., R.N., principal investigator and associate professor at the School of Nursing. "But risk factors in bypass patients are often inadequately managed. It's difficult for people to change their behavior, but if they do not, blood vessels may close and further treatment may be necessary."

The study indicated that women who participated in an educational program managed by nurses, for example, were three times more likely to decrease their intake of fat-based calories than women who did not participate.

Media Contact: Michael Purdy at 410-955-6680


Thousands of Americans are candidates for heart transplants, but many will not receive them until they become desperately ill, because donor organs are in short supply. Now a recent study by Johns Hopkins cardiologists shows that these delayed transplants are not only riskier for patients, but also less cost-effective than those performed in healthier patients.

"An increasing number of heart transplants are going to the sickest of the sick," says David Thiemann, M.D., a cardiology fellow at Johns Hopkins and the lead author of the study. Thiemann and six coauthors found that transplants are a third more expensive for so-called Status 1 patients, who await transplants in intensive care units than for other patients.

Media Contact: Gary Stephenson or Michael Purdy at 410-955-6680


Researchers at Johns Hopkins report that an experimental drug greatly reduces the formation of deadly blood clots in women with unstable angina--a marker for heart attacks and strokes.

"We believe the drug Integrelin increases the efficiency of traditional medicines in patients with unstable angina," said Pascal Goldschmidt-Clermont, M.D., director of the Johns Hopkins Thrombosis Center. "When we gave it in addition to standard therapies, clot formation dropped by 75 percent." Men, too, experienced a reduction in clotting, although the effect of the drug was less pronounced.

In addition, women on Integrelin experienced heart pain five times less often and their episodes lasted one-fifth of the time compared with women on traditional drug therapy alone. The pain occurs when platelets group together, block arteries and decrease blood flow to the heart, says Goldschmidt- Clermont.

Media Contact: Debbie Bangledorf 410-223-1731


Peter O. Kwiterovich, M.D., professor of pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center, author and scientist, will discuss high-risk factors for heart disease in children as part of a panel at the American Heart Association's 67th Scientific Session.

As part of the discussion, Kwiterovich will explain the results of a multicenter study to determine the safety of strict low-fat diets in children with high cholesterol levels. The study shows that these monitored diets do lower cholesterol levels in children without harming their growth patterns, mental development or psychosocial maturation.

This Dietary Intervention Study in Children (DISC) evaluated 8 - to 10 -year-old boys and girls from Baltimore as well as Chicago, Iowa City Newark, New Orleans and Portland.

PLEASE NOTE: Researchers will be attending the AHA meetings in Dallas, and may not be available for press at that time.

-- JHMI --
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