Patient Focus | Martha Gulati, MD, MS, CardioSmart Editor-in-Chief

CardioSource WorldNews | CardioSmart Corner: Living Well With CHD

Congenital heart defects (CHD) are the most common type of birth defect, with about 8 in 1,000 babies born with some sort of structural heart problem. These problems, such as atrial septal defect, coarctation of the aorta, and aortic stenosis, cause more deaths in the first year of life than any other birth defects.

Thankfully the majority of states in the U.S. have passed legislation mandating screening of newborns for certain conditions in the first couple days after birth, even before symptoms even appear. The ACC and its chapters have played important roles in lobbying in favor of these laws. With September being Newborn Screening Awareness Month, the College will continue to promote the importance of early screening for the detection of certain conditions like heart defects.

Patients can learn more about newborn screening and CHD by visiting The website offers information on symptoms, testing, treatment and more. Cardiosmart’s newest infographic also offers patients information on how to live well with CHD. As we get better at treating CHD, more patients are living longer lives, and it’s critical we educate our patients and their families on the roles they can play in managing CHD.

New Research Showcases Opportunities to Reduce CV Risk in the Modern World

Opportunities to reduce cardiovascular risks in today’s modern world were the focus of several studies presented at the European Society of Cardiology’s Congress 2016 in Rome.

One study out of Sweden suggested low socioeconomic status, as well as marital status, is associated with a higher risk of a second heart attack or stroke. The study of nearly 30,000 patients with a prior heart attack found that the risk of a second event was 36% lower for those in the highest income quintile compared to the lowest. Being divorced was independently associated with a 14% greater risk of a second event than being married.

In a second study, moderate physical activity was associated with a greater than 50% reduction in cardiovascular death in adults over the age of 65. The study looked at nearly 2,500 adults aged 65 to 74 enrolled into the National FINRISK Study between 1997 and 2007. Median follow-up was 11.8 years. Study authors found that moderate and high leisure time physical activities were associated with a 31% and 45% reduced risk of an acute cardiovascular event, respectively, while moderate and high leisure time physical activities were associated with a 54% and 66% reduction in cardiovascular mortality.

In a third study, a school intervention costing less than 20 cents per child in Brazil has stopped unhealthy weight gain and could be a low-cost way for other developing countries to prevent obesity beginning in childhood. More than 200 students aged five to 16 from four public schools in Feliz, Brazil, were randomly assigned to an intervention group focused on lifestyle changes at school and home or a control group focused on the regular school curriculum. While there was no difference in BMI between groups before the intervention, the children in the control group showed a significant increase in BMI after the nine months of the study (p ≤ 0.01). The BMI in the intervention group remained the same, but there was a significant increase in fruit consumption and physical activity (p < 0.05).

Read the full September issue of CardioSource WorldNews at

Clinical Topics: Congenital Heart Disease and Pediatric Cardiology, Valvular Heart Disease, Congenital Heart Disease, CHD and Pediatrics and Quality Improvement

Keywords: CardioSource WorldNews, Aortic Coarctation, Aortic Valve Stenosis, Heart Defects, Congenital, Heart Septal Defects, Atrial, Infant, Newborn, Neonatal Screening, United States

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