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The Johns Hopkins Hospital’s newest staff members include German shepherd “Bax” and his handler, Andrew Welch, a member of the Corporate Security Special Response Unit. The two began making their rounds in December, patrolling parking garages, hospital corridors, emergency departments and other locations, primarily in the evening hours. The goal of the new canine program: to deter aggressive behavior, detect explosives in suspicious packages and reduce hazards faced by security personnel and clinical staff. In early spring, Bax will be joined by “Dexo,” a Dutch shepherd currently being trained in North Carolina.
Photo by Keith Weller
Personalized Treatment for Hypertension
For patients whose blood pressure falls in the “gray zone” of prehypertension or mild high blood pressure, doctors have traditionally based treatment decisions on risk calculations and some guesswork—potentially leaving many people vulnerable to heart disease or taking drugs they don’t need.
Heart CT scans could offer an effective way to help personalize treatment in such patients, according to a new Johns Hopkins study. The scans detect levels of calcium in the heart’s arteries, and researchers suggest those people with the highest calcium levels would benefit most from aggressive blood pressure treatment, whereas those with little or no calcium may not need to be treated as intensively, depending on their other heart disease risk factors.
“If a health care provider wants to target blood pressure in a patient with traditional heart disease risk factors and above-normal blood pressure, he or she can look at coronary artery calcium to help with tie-breaker like decisions,” says cardiologist J. William McEvoy, of the Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease.
Conventionally, coronary artery calcium scores have informed physicians’ decisions of whether to put a patient on statins, but McEvoy and team say they haven’t been evaluated before for their potential ability to determine blood pressure treatment.
The team’s findings, based on data from a national study, appeared in Circulation in January.
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