In This Section      

In the News 2011

View Current Year, 20132012

Heart Attack Risk Differs Between Men and Women
PR Newswire, November 30, 2011
Findings on coronary CT angiography (CTA), a noninvasive test to assess the coronary arteries for blockages, show different risk scenarios for men and women, according to a study presented today at the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

On this day in history: First Open Heart Surgery
Global Toronto, November 29, 2011
On this day in 1944, the very first open heart surgery was performed by a doctor at Johns Hopkins hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. Dr. Alfred Blalock developed an arterial shut.

Mountain for some, molehill for others: In the war on salt, not everyone need be a soldier, some experts say
Sun Sentinel, November 17, 2011
Despite several decades of urging from doctors and government officials to cut back on salt, a culprit in high blood pressure, most Americans aren't paying much attention...For young, healthy people with normal blood pressure, "the data is not strong" to suggest that consuming a high-sodium diet now leads to higher blood pressure later in life, said Dr. Gordon Tomaselli, president of the American Heart Association and chief of cardiology at Johns Hopkins Medical Center. Still, if eating less sodium leads to modest reductions in blood pressure in people without high blood pressure, it's good for heart health, he said.

Coronary calcium scoring can determine risk of cardiac events
News Medical, November 16, 2011
If your doctor says you have a negative stress test, or that your cholesterol or blood pressure are normal, how assured can you be that you're not likely to have a heart attack in the next seven to 10 years? Assessing traditional risk factors, such as age, high blood pressure, cholesterol, smoking and family history can estimate a person's risk, but the picture is not always clear-cut. Some newer tests can be offered to provide reassurance or guidance about the need for medications or further testing.
Also covered by:

AstraZeneca’s Crestor Fails to Beat Lipitor in Heart Effects, November 15, 2011
AstraZeneca Plc (AZN)’s Crestor failed to beat Pfizer Inc. (PFE)’s Lipitor in reducing the amount of plaque in arteries, a key cause of heart disease, in a study reported just weeks before cheaper copies of Lipitor will be available.

9/11 First Responders May Face Greater Heart Risks: Exposure to toxic dust cloud might lead to hardening of the arteries, study suggests, November 15, 2011
First responders who were exposed to the dust cloud during and immediately following the New York City terror attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, may be at increased risk for heart disease, experts warn. Those Ground Zero workers who got there first may have breathed in even more of this toxic dust than those who came on the scene after Sept. 13, and may be at greater risk for heart disease as a result, according to new findings slated for presentation Tuesday at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association in Orlando, Fla.

Busting blood clots with a nanoparticle: Experimental drug delivery may improve heart attack treatment, November 15, 2011
Nanosized gobs containing a blood clot–dissolving drug can seek out trouble spots in the body and break down blockages responsible for heart attacks, Japanese researchers reported November 14 at a meeting of the American Heart Association. The microscopic packaging seems to improve the drug’s potency and might limit its main drawback — a risk of internal bleeding — by focusing its effect at the clot.

Angioplasty patients fare well at smaller hospitals
USA Today, November 14, 2011
Smaller hospitals are just as safe as larger ones for elective angioplasty — procedures that open up clogged arteries with a balloon or prop them open with mesh-like stents, according to the first rigorous study of its kind, presented today at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association (AHA) in Orlando. More than 1 million Americans a year undergo angioplasty, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Also covered by: Toronto Star,

Sugar-Sweetened Drinks May Pose Heart Risks to Women, Study Suggests, November 13, 2011
Drinking two or more sugar-sweetened beverages a day may boost a woman's risk for developing heart disease and diabetes -- even if this habit isn't causing her to pack on extra pounds, a new study says.
Also covered by: USA Today

Few Doctors Screen Young Athletes for Hidden Heart Trouble
USA Today, November 14, 2011
Tragic stories appear in the media about seemingly healthy young athletes dying on the playing field due to an undetected heart problem. In response, the American Heart Association (AHA) issued guidelines aimed at helping doctors and coaches detect these problems early on and prevent such senseless deaths. But new research suggests that only a small percentage of physicians are heeding the guidelines.

2011 AHA Presidential Address: Gordon F. Tomaselli, MD, FAHA
AHAScience News, November 13, 2011
Amerian Heart Association president and Johns Hopkins Chief of Cardiology, Gordon Tomaselli, MD, FAHA, addresses the attendees of the AHA's Scientific Sessions 2011.

Blood thinner Xarelto cutes risk of heart attack, death in new study
CBS News, November 13, 2011
People recovering from a heart attack or heart-related chest pain are less likely to have another heart problem or to die from one if they take a new blood-thinning drug along with standard anti-clotting medicine, a large study shows.
Also covered by: CBS News, USA Today

Peds Group Says All Children Should get Cholesterol Tests Earlier in Life
ABC News, November 11, 2011
Government health experts recommended Friday that all children be tested for high cholesterol before they reach puberty, in an effort to get an early start in preventing cardiovascular disease. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute said a child's first cholesterol check should occur between ages 9 and 11 and the test should be repeated between ages 17 and 21. The American Academy of Pediatrics endorsed the guideline.
Also covered by: Fox News Latino, Southeast Missourian

Cutting back salt may be worse for heart health: Study
CBS, November 9, 2011
Cutting back on salt might not be all it's cracked up to be for heart health. A new study suggests reducing dietary salt intake may actually raise several risk factors for heart disease.

Predicting Heart Failure with a Blood Test, November 2011
More than five million Americans have heart failure – it’s when the heart can’t pump enough blood to the body. Many patients with the condition have repeat hospitalizations, and it kills about 300,000 people each year. Now, we’ll tell you how a simple blood test could save lives.

Make Your Day Better With D
USA Weekend, November 3, 2011
Vitamin D. It's called the "sunshine vitamin" - and it's crucial to many aspects of your good health. Here's how to make sure you get enough.

Study: ADHD medications don't increase heart risks
TIME, November 1, 2011
Ritalin and similar medicines that millions of children and teens take to curb hyperactivity and boost attention do not raise their risk of serious heart problems, the largest safety study of these drugs concludes.

Heart Surgery Without Cutting Into the Chest
NBC Washington, October 18, 2011
A new type of heart valve replacement allows doctors to fix the heart by going through the arm or leg.

TV Fact-Checker: Inoculating House Against Bad Medicine, October 17, 2011
Behind every smart TV show, there is a tireless script coordinator, technical adviser, researcher or producer who makes sure the jargon is right, the science is accurate and the pop culture references are on-point. To get a better sense of who keeps the angry nerds at bay, spoke with fact-checkers behind the fall TV season’s geekiest shows.

Local Heroes with International Impact
Alumni Profiles, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, October 17, 2011
The four alumni award winners in 2011 share local and regional proximity, with two of them coming from the Champaign-Urbana area and the other two hailing from the Great Lakes region. But all of them have made ripples well beyond their hometowns, making their mark on the national and even international stage...Julie Freischlag, a biology alum, reached the top of the medical world as the first female chief of surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital, rated as the number one hospital in the country.

MRI Safe with More Recent Defibrillators, Pacemakers: Study
HealthDay, October 5, 2011
Many people with pacemakers and implanted defibrillators can safely undergo MRIs to screen for cancer and other diseases, as long as certain procedures are followed, a new study finds.

How to Steer Toward the Path of Least Treatment
The New York Times, October 3, 2011
The first doctor Lynn Munroe consulted about her hyperactive thyroid gland recommended radioactive iodine treatment to destroy the gland, followed by a lifelong regimen of thyroid hormone replacement pills. The second physician she consulted said that he could operate, removing the gland without radiation, but that she would still need to take the pills. A third doctor suggested a more cautious approach, prescribing medication to depress the gland’s activity. It worked: Ms. Munroe, 49, a publicist in West Nyack, N.Y., no longer has symptoms of hyperthyroidism, even though she has been weaned off the medication.

Heartbeat International Launches One Heart Magazine on World Heart Day
Dubai News Today, October 1, 2011
Heartbeat International Foundation, Inc. (HBI), in partnership with The Publishing Firm Inc (TPF), today announced that it will launch its new publication, One Heart Magazine, to coincide with World Heart Day on September 29, 2011. HBI is a charitable foundation dedicated to saving lives by providing cardiovascular implantable devices and treatment to people in need around the world.

Gentler Heart Restarter Shows Promise
MSNBC, September 28, 2011
If you haven't seen a heart restarted in real life, you've almost certainly seen it dramatized on TV. Paddles are applied to the bare chest and the defibrillator shocks the patient back to life. But if a technique reported in a new study continues to succeed, that scene may become a thing of the past. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University have begun investigating whether a different type of electrical shock — one with a higher frequency and lower voltage, based on alternating current instead of direct current — can restart a heart whose rhythm has been thrown off, and avoid some of the subsequent problems the current high-voltage method presents to patients.
Also covered by: The Atlantic

Criteria Helps Determine the Need for Defibrillator in ARVD Patients
Medical Breakthroughs, September 27, 2011
ARVD is an inherited cardiovascular disorder and one of the most common causes of sudden death in athletes and young healthy adults. A new study provides strategy for deciding which patients have greatest need for implanted defibrillator as a preventive measure in patients who have arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia (ARVD) .

A Broken Heart can be Terminal - Time and healthy living heal the emotional and physical pain of a breakup, September 27, 2011
Studies prove what women have always believed to be true - you can die of a broken heart. A study conducted by Dr. Ilan Wittstein at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 2005 shows that stress hormones produced by a breakup, a death, a sudden shock, or even a car accident can bring on symptoms like those of a heart attack.

Dr. Gordon Tomaselli, President of the American Heart Association
Maryland Public Television, September 26, 2011

Heart Pill to Replace Pacemaker, September 15, 2011
US scientists have discovered exactly how the mechanism works within the body to strengthen failing hearts. Now it is hoped drugs or genetic therapies will replace the device. It would mean thousands, especially those unsuitable for a pacemaker, could benefit.
Also covered by: ScienceDaily, My Health News Daily, The Times of India

Common Gene Variant Associated With Aortic Dissection: Study Reveals Risk Factor That Doubles Chance of Developing Silent Killer
ScienceDaily, September 11, 2011
Richard Holbrooke, John Ritter, Lucille Ball, Jonathan Larson and Great Britain's King George II were all taken by the same silent killer: an acute aortic dissection. Now, scientists have found an association with a common genetic variant in the population that predisposes people to acute dissections and can approximately double a person's chances of having the disease.

Menopause Doesn't Cause Heart Disease, Researchers Find
The Baltimore Sun, September 6, 2011
Long held medical belief is that women have a greater risk of dying from cardiovascular disease after menopause, but new research from Johns Hopkins debunks that belief. The research found that aging and not hormonal changes brought on by menopause cause deaths from cardiovascular disease.
Also covered by: Women',,, The Los Angeles Times

Now, A Tool to Predict Survival After Heart Transplant, September 3, 2011
Heart transplant patients at great risk of death in the year following their surgeries, could be forewarned and saved with the help of a formula, US scientists say. "Donor hearts are a limited resource," says John V. Conte, M.D., a professor of surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the senior author of the study.
Also covered by:

ESC: Fewer Inappropriate Shocks with Remote ICD Monitoring, August 30, 2011
Compared with in-office monitoring, patients who have their implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs) monitored remotely had fewer inappropriate shocks, researchers here said. Remote telemonitoring of ICDs has several advantages over in-office monitoring, including reduced inappropriate shocks and anti-tachycardia pacing, according to two studies presented at the European Society of Cardiology meeting.

The 'Heart Attach Proof' Diet?
CNN Health, August 22, 2011
Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn Jr. didn't become a doctor to change the way America eats. He was a general surgeon. But researching cancer, he stumbled on a fact that changed his career: Certain cultures around the world do not suffer from heart disease, the No. 1 killer in the Western world.

Adolescent Heart Screenings Available
Carroll County Times, August 22, 2011
Heart screenings for adolescents will be offered at the Carroll Hospital Center's Total Health Expo Aug. 27. The screenings, conducted by members of Johns Hopkins Cardiology Services, are being offered to athletes between the ages of 12 and 22.

Coronary Calcium Beats C-Reactive Protein for Predicting Heart Attack and Stroke Risk, Study Finds
Science Daily, August 19, 2011
A calcium test performed with the assistance of a CT scanner seems to provide insight into the likelihood that certain patients at moderate risk of heart problems will have a heart attack or stroke, researchers say.
Also covered by: Forbes.comWeb MD, The Telegraph, MedPageToday, US News and World Report Health, Cardiovascular Business

Will You Have a Heart Attack? These Tests Might Tell
CNN, August 16, 2011
Most heart attacks strike with no warning, but doctors now have a clearer picture than ever before of who is most likely to have one, says Dr. Arthur Agatston, a Miami cardiologist and author of the best-selling South Beach diet books. Agatston says relatively new imaging tests give real-time pictures showing whether plaque is building up in key blood vessels, alerting doctor and patient to an increased risk of a potentially deadly heart attack.

Die from a Broken Heart? It's More Likely if You're a Woman
The Royal Gazette Online, August 16, 2011
Women are more likely to die of a broken heart than men. That may sound chauvinistic but it’s true. Dr Ilan Wittstein, Associate Professor of Medicine at Johns Hopkins University, said Broken Heart Syndrome, a clinical condition where the heart muscle suddenly becomes severely weak is more prevalent in women than men. Ninety-five percent of reported cases are in women.
Also covered by:

Scientists Discover Innovative Way to Study Blood Clots, August 11, 2011
Johns Hopkins scientists have launched a pioneering research program to create, for the first time, human platelet cells from stem cells in order to study inherited blood clotting abnormalities ranging from clots that cause heart attacks and stroke to bleeding disorders.

Heart Tests are Overprescribed, Study Finds, August 2, 2011
Fear of heart problems is justified since heart disease remains America’s No. 1 killer, but patients with stable or no significant symptoms too often are rushed into invasive tests and treatments unnecessarily and without having all the facts, according to an investigation by Consumer Reports. Dr. Gordon Tomaselli comments.

Heart Disease Prevention: A Good Investment for Individuals, Communities
ScienceDaily, July 25, 2011
Preventing heart disease before it starts is a good long-term investment in the nation's health, according to a new policy statement from the American Heart Association.

In with Potassium, Out with Sodium
LA Times, July 24, 2011
People whose diets have roughly equal amounts of sodium and potassium are at the lowest risk of dying from heart attack and stroke, new study finds.

Sperm Donor's 24 Kids Never Told About Fatal Illness
ABC News, July 21, 2011
Rebecca Blackwell and her 15-year-old son Tyler were curious about his sperm donor father, whose identity had been anonymous since the moment of conception. What they didn't expect to learn was that Tyler had inherited his father's medical condition -- a rare aortic heart defect that could have killed him at any moment.

How Common is 'Broken Heart Syndrome'?
WebMD Health News, July 19,2011
Study suggests men as well as women have condition that's also known as stress cardiomyopathy.

Does Adrenaline Help Cardiac Arrest Victims Survive?
Reuters Health, July 14, 2011
People who've suffered cardiac arrest usually get a shot of adrenaline to help their heart back on track, but in a controversial study from Australia the hormone did little to increase patients' survival.

New Heart Valve Tested on High Risk Patients
The Baltimore Sun, July 14, 2011
Johns Hopkins Hospital has begun testing a new device designed to replace blocked aortic valves in patients who can’t have major open-heart surgery because they are elderly or have other serious medical conditions.

Gene Variation Linked to Raised Risk of Sudden Cardiac Death Identified, July 13, 2011
Understanding how genetic variation plays a role in the risk of Sudden Cardiac Death could eventually help those at risk take steps to prevent it.

CoreValve Instead of Open-Heart Surgery, July 13, 2011
Implanting CoreValve could be a minimally invasive option for blocked aortic valves. Johns Hopkins Hospital is participating in an national trial.

New American Heart Association President Driven by Family History
The Baltimore Sun, July 6, 2011
Johns Hopkins' Dr. Gordon Tomaselli found his calling after his mother's cardiac arrest.
Also covered by:  LA Times

Research Funding at Top of Mind for New Heart Association President
The Hill's Healthwatch, July 5, 2011
Pushing for more research funding remains a top priority of the American Heart Association despite the tough fiscal climate, its new president tells The Hill.

Chantix May Cause More Heart Attacks than Previously Thought
The Baltimore Sun, July 5, 2011
A new study led by a Johns Hopkins researcher says the popular anti-smoking drug Chantix significantly increases the risk for a heart attack or other serious heart problem in healthy, middle-aged smokers.
Also covered by: The Wall Street Journal,, Time Healthland, HealthDay, Reuters, CBS Evening News, BBC News Health, The Times of India, Daily India, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Yahoo! Health, Daily Mail Online, Healthzone, CNN Health,, WebMD, MedPage Today, LA Times, Voice of America

Hopkins Doctor Named American Heart Association President
Baltimore Business Journal, June 23, 2011
Dr. Gordon F. Tomaselli, Johns Hopkins Chief of Cardiology, has been named the next president of the American Heart Association's national organization. Tomaselli will be with seventh Hopkins faculty member to search as AHA president.
Also covered by: The Baltimore Sun, The Daily Record

Surgeons Who Burn the Midnight Oil
 New York Times, June 2, 2011
 Thoracic transplant patient outcomes have little to do with the time of day the operation takes place.

High-Fat Diets Won't Harden Arteries
ABCNews, June 1, 2011
Low-carbohydrate diets that require patients to fill up on fats won't lead to harder arteries, researchers say -- at least not in the short-term.
Also covered by: The Baltimore Sun, ArkLaTex, New York Times

Some Heart Screenings May Do More Harm than Good
Chicago Sun-Times, May 24, 2011
Patients found to have evidence of plaque buildup in their arteries after being screened with a test known as a coronary CT angiogram received more medication, follow-up tests and heart procedures than people who hadn’t been screened or those who had a normal test result.
Also covered by: Los Angeles Times, Reuters Health, US News & World Report Health, Men's Health, Medical Breakthroughs Reported by Ivanhoe

Best Heart Transplant Outcomes Seen at High-Volume Centers, May 9, 2011
High-risk patients urged to seek care at hospitals where teams are most familiar with the surgery.

Blocking Protein Action Minimizes Serious Ill Effects of High BP on Heart, May 6, 2011
A new route to the treatment of heart disease has been unveiled by scientists at Johns Hopkins. They have found through mice studies that blocking the action of a signaling protein deep inside the heart's muscle cells blunts the most serious ill effects of high blood pressure on the heart.

HRS: Afib Ablation Works, Knowledge Gaps Persist, May 5, 2011
The use of catheter ablation for atrial fibrillation has skyrocketed in the last few years, and for good reason. It works, as far as studies have shown, but more studies are needed to fill in crucial knowledge gaps, according to a presentation here.

Heart Society's Tip Sheets Fail to Mention Risks, May 5, 2011
For patients researching solutions for scary, often debilitating irregular heartbeats, the information sheets on the Heart Rhythm Society website offer reassuring remedies.
Implantable cardioverter defibrillators—devices that automatically deliver shocks to restore normal heart rhythms—are “99% effective,” one sheet says. The sheet doesn’t mention that the devices may also deliver unnecessary and painful jolts, which can damage a patient’s quality of life.

5 Reasons Men Shouldn't Blow Off Going to the Doctor
Daily Times (Pakistan), April 20, 2011
Nearly 800,000 Americans will have a first heart attack this year, according to the American Heart Association, Yahoo News reported. For more than a third of them, the first symptom will be death. But half of all victims could have seen the attack coming, especially with the help of their doctors.

New Nonviral Method to Create Cardiac Cells, April 11, 2011
Johns Hopkins scientists have developed a simplified, cheaper, all-purpose method they say can be used by scientists around the globe to more safely turn blood cells into heart cells. The method is virus-free and produces heart cells that beat with nearly 100 percent efficiency, they claim.
Also covered by: The Cavalier Daily

Athlete's Sudden Cardiac Deaths Spark Discussion
The Baltimore Sun, April 11, 2011
Recent stories of sudden cardiac death among athletes -- including a Harford Community College freshman and a Michigan high school player who both collapsed on the court – have cardiologists at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center discussing what families should do.

Out of Shape? Intense Exercise, Sex May Raise Heart Risk
USA Today, March 22, 2011
People who don't exercise on a regular basis, and then have episodes of intense exercise or sex are more likely to experience a heart attack or die suddenly than those who are more active, new research suggests.

Teenage Athlete's Death Raises Cardiac Awareness
USAToday, March 7, 2011
The American Heart Association says sudden cardiac arrest in high school athletes ranges from 0.28 to 1 death per 100,000 annually, but some experts believe the number may be higher.

Stretchy Electronics Aid Heart Surgery
ScienceNews, March 7, 2011
New balloon catheters may help cardiologists treat common problems.

Simple Blood Test at Discharge Could Help Reduce Hospital Readmissions for Heart Failure Patients, February 28, 2011
An inexpensive, routine blood test could hold the key to why some patients with congestive heart failure do well after being discharged from the hospital and why others risk relapse.

Women & Heart Attacks: A Survivor's Story
WUSA9, February 24, 2011
A Kensington, Md., resident was having a heart attack and didn't know it. She wants to warn other women about heart disease.

From "Blue Babies" to Healthy Adults
The Baltimore Sun, February 13, 2011
Treatment of congenital heart defects has made great strides since the 1940s, but some challenges remain.

Am I Having a Heart Attack?
AARP Bulletin, February 11, 2011
Especially for women, some signs are surprising.

Many  Children are Checked Out for Heart Defect Awareness Week
WJZ, February 7, 2011
Every year 400 babies are born in the Baltimore area with heart defects. Many aren’t detected right away, which can be deadly.

Hood College Swimmer Kyle Atras Competes as Heart Transplant Survivor
Capital Athletic Conference, February 1, 2011
Years after receiving a heart transplant at Johns Hopkins when he was 9 months old, Kyle Atras is now an elite swimmer, competing on his college and national teams.

The Difference Between Sudden Cardiac Arrest and Heart Attacks
   The Baltimore Sun, January 27, 2011
Dr. Gordon Tomaselli, Chief of Cardiology, answers questions about risk factors, prevention of and responding to sudden cardiac arrests and heart attacks.

Local Businesses Help Heart-Transplant-Patient Bride Afford To Get Married
ABC7 - TBD, January 11, 2011
See how a local community came together to give one Johns Hopkins heart transplant patient a spectacular wedding.