How Daily Bike Rides Protect Your Heart

senior couple riding their bikes outsideExercise is important for heart health, but it can be difficult to squeeze exercise time into our daily routine. One simple way to make sure you get your heart rate up is to ride your bike instead of using a car or public transportation. In fact, biking from place to place as part of your daily routine may decrease your risk of heart disease.

This is the conclusion of two longitudinal studies that followed 65,000 participants for ten to twenty years. A Danish study published in the journal Circulation found that people who bike on a regular basis had between 11 and 18% fewer heart attacks over a 20 year period. This study found that biking as little as thirty minutes per week protected people from coronary artery disease. Compared to non-bikers, people who started biking during the first 5 years of the study had a 25% lower risk of developing heart disease over the length of the study. Read more

Similarities Between Peripheral Artery Disease, Stroke and Coronary Artery Disease

Peripheral Artery Disease and strokeArteries are blood vessels that carry blood away from the heart to the rest of the body. Blood carries oxygen, carbon dioxide, and other nutrients that are needed for all of your organs to function properly. When blood flow through an artery is decreased or blocked, the amount of blood, oxygen and nutrients that reach the tissues decreases, causing damage. The type of damage that occurs depends on the location of the blocked artery. Any artery may become blocked.

Arteries in your legs, arms or brain are called peripheral arteries. This refers to arteries outside of your trunk (in the periphery of your body). Peripheral artery disease occurs when plaque builds up in peripheral arteries, causing them to become narrow, and limiting blood flow to that part of your body. The legs are a common site for peripheral artery disease. Read more

How to Avoid Potential Complications from PCI

avoid PCI complicationsPercutaneous coronary intervention—or PCI—and Protected PCI™ are nonsurgical procedures for people with blocked coronary arteries. The purpose of both procedures is to open up narrowed arteries and improve blood flow to the heart. PCI is recommended for people who otherwise have a healthy heart.

Protected PCI is recommended for patients with stable blood flow and a combination of severe coronary artery disease, a low ejection fraction, and other conditions such as diabetes, heart failure, advanced age, peripheral vascular disease, complex lesions, history of angina, or prior surgeries. Protected PCI is a PCI procedure performed with extra support from a heart pump. The heart pump such as Impella 2.5® helps maintain heart function, blood pressure, and blood flow, while the blockages in one or more arteries are repaired. Read more

How Your Dental Health May Affect Your Heart

healthy teeth and healthy heartWhat’s the connection between your teeth and heart disease? Inflammation. Let’s explain.

Dental health is often thought of as separate from the rest of the body: you see a dentist for your mouth and a doctor for everything else. However, a consensus report concludes that what goes on in our mouths can have a profound effect on our bodies, particularly on our heart. Read more

What’s A Top Contributor to Heart Attack or Stroke but has No Symptoms?

cholesterol role in heart diseaseCholesterol. Cholesterol levels do not cause symptoms for many years. Yet, if you know your cholesterol levels, you can help prevent heart disease. Only about 70% of adults in the US have their cholesterol levels tested. September is National Cholesterol Education Month—and time to learn about cholesterol and its role in heart disease.

What is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that is found throughout your body. Your body makes cholesterol, which is needed to produce hormones, vitamin D and other chemicals that help your body function properly.

Cholesterol is transported through your bloodstream by lipoproteins, molecules designed to carry fat. Lipoproteins are composed of fat on the inside, which is surrounded by proteins on the outside. There are two types of lipoproteins that transport cholesterol in your body: low-density lipoproteins (LDL) and high-density lipoproteins (HDL). Both of these types of lipoproteins are needed for good health. However, the amount of each type of lipoprotein is important. Read more

How Your Heart Benefits from Fish Oil

heart benefits of fish oilThe American Heart Association recommends eating two servings of fish each week. Will eating fish protect your heart? Scientists agree the answer is yes. Now let us understand why.

Fish contain fish oils, specifically omega-3 fatty acids, which are important in our diet. Omega-3 fatty acids are most abundant in oily or fatty fish such as anchovies, trout, tuna, mackerel, herring, salmon, and sardines. Fish contain two types of omega-3-fatty acids: docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).

Our bodies need both of these fatty acids to function. DHA is a main component of the eye and brain. Breast milk contains a large amount of DHA, as does sperm. EPA is part of the immune system and the blood clotting response. Read more

Inflammation Connects Psoriatic Arthritis and Coronary Artery Disease

Psoriatic Arthritis and Coronary Artery DiseaseInflammation may be the reason people with psoriatic arthritis have an increased risk of coronary artery disease, according to a recent article in Cardiology News. This study compared the amount of coronary artery plaque in 50 patients with psoriatic arthritis and 25 healthy controls. Both groups of people were similar in age, smoking status, gender and presence of metabolic syndrome. The researchers found coronary artery plaque in more patients with psoriatic arthritis (78%, 39 out of 50 patients) than healthy controls (44%, 11 out of 25 people). Read more

Signs of Coronary Artery Disease and Tips for Protecting Your Heart

HiResMr. Stone was recently diagnosed with coronary artery disease. He wants to know more. Let’s explain:

Coronary arteries are the arteries that supply the heart with oxygen and nutrients. They can accumulate plaque and become narrow, just like other arteries in your body. However, if blood flow through the coronary arteries is limited, the heart may not receive sufficient amounts of oxygen and nutrients and may not function properly. The blockage of coronary arteries is called coronary artery disease. Coronary artery disease and coronary heart disease refer to the same disease, and both terms are used interchangeably.

Over time, coronary artery disease makes your heart work harder and can weaken the heart muscle. To protect your heart it is important you recognize the symptoms of coronary artery disease and to do what you can to prevent and lower your risk of disease. Here is some helpful information:

Call 911 if you or any one you know has these symptoms of coronary artery disease:

  • Chest pain
  • Pain that radiates down your arm, shoulders, neck, jaw or back

Read more

Perspective from a Protected PCI Patient: Justin Redman

Prior to my cath procedure I was in a lot of pain due to the blockage in my heart. After having 20+ heart caths I knew that this one would be high risk. My previous cardiologists had warned that they weren’t interested in taking that sort of risk and recommended I just live with it, but I knew I couldn’t fully function unless the blockage was opened up. Dr Farhan Ali of Heart Center of North Texas had spoken of a new device, the Impella 2.5, that could help with the procedure and told me that he would give it a try.  After my Protected PCI procedure, I felt a significant amount of relief.

Read more

Welcome to the Protected PCI “Living with Advanced Heart Disease” Blog

Welcome to the Protected PCI “Living with Advanced Heart Disease” blog, a place where patients can learn about their heart disease in simple, easy-to-understand language. Brought to you by Abiomed—a world leader in medical technologies designed to assist or replace the failing heart—this Protected PCI blog is for everyone: patients, caretakers, family, friends, and anyone interested in learning about heart disease. Our blog posts will include facts about coronary artery disease and heart failure together with symptoms and current treatments for these diseases.

We created the Protected PCI blog because we wanted an opportunity to help you understand your heart disease by explaining common medical terminology, procedures, and practices with you. We hope to engage with you by sharing news and information about the latest breakthroughs in heart research.

We’ll examine how the heart works, common terminology your cardiologist might use to describe complex heart disease and heart failure including explanations of tests and procedures currently used to determine your heart’s health. We’ll look at the latest therapies available to improve heart function and keep track of new advances in heart research including the management and treatment of heart disease, advanced heart failure, and coronary artery disease. We hope this information will improve your quality of life with your heart disease, and we’re excited to share our knowledge of the heart with you. Protected PCI is not right for everyone. Nothing in this blog is designed to replace the recommendations and information you receive about your condition from your physician or cardiologist, which are varied and can involve more than just Protected PCI. Your physician should always be your first stop for advice about health and treatment options.

The bottom line is that we created this blog to share and discuss topics that are important to our readers. Subscribe Now to join our community and stay in the loop whenever new content is published.

As discussed throughout this site, a Protected PCI is a cardiac intervention during which the heart is hemodynamically supported by the Impella® 2.5. The Impella 2.5 is the World’s Smallest Heart Pump and is intended for temporary use (<6 hours) to maintain stable heart function and potentially lower certain risks in patients with severe coronary disease and diminished (but stable) heart function who are undergoing a percutaneous coronary intervention such as an angioplasty or stenting, but who are not candidates for surgical coronary bypass treatment.

The Impella 2.5 system is a temporary (<6 hours) ventricular support device indicated for use during high risk percutaneous coronary interventions (PCI) performed in elective or urgent, hemodynamically stable patients with severe coronary artery disease and depressed left ventricular ejection fraction, when a heart team, including a cardiac surgeon, has determined high risk PCI is the appropriate therapeutic option. Use of the Impella 2.5 in these patients may prevent hemodynamic instability which can result from repeat episodes of reversible myocardial ischemia that occur during planned temporary coronary occlusions and may reduce peri- and post-procedural adverse events.

Protected PCI [or Impella 2.5, CP, etc.] is not right for everyone.  You may not be able to be treated with Impella if you have certain pre-existing conditions, which a cardiologist will determine, such as:  severe narrowing of the heart valve, severe peripheral artery disease, clots in your blood vessels, or a replacement heart valve or certain heart valve deficiencies.  Additionally, use of Impella has been associated with risks, including, but not limited to valvular and vascular injury, bleeding, and limb ischemia in certain patients.  Learn more about the Impella devices’ approved indications for use, as well as important safety and risk information at