FYI from the NHLBI Index

May 2004: Vol. 5, Issue 1
In the News

News from Capitol Hill

Capitol Dome A resolution expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that there is a critical need to increase awareness and education about heart disease and the risk factors of heart disease among women
Number: H. Res. 522
Sponsor: Representative Vic Snyder (D-AR)
Latest action: Passed by the House on March 24, 2004.
Highlights: Commends the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and First Lady Laura Bush for The Heart Truth campaign.

Personal Responsibility in Food Consumption Act
Number: H.R. 339
Sponsor: Representative Richard Anthony Keller (R-FL)
Latest action: Passed by House on March 10, 2004.
Highlights: Would protect manufacturers, distributors, or sellers of food or non alcoholic beverage products that comply with applicable statutory and regulatory requirements from claims of injury relating to a person's weight gain, obesity, or any health condition associated with weight gain or obesity.

Organ Donation and Recovery Improvement Act
Number: P.L. 108-216 (formerly known as H.R. 3926 and S. 573)
Latest action: Became law on April 5, 2004.
Highlights: Establishes several new initiatives related to organ donation, including activities to
  • encourage organ donation.
  • reimburse living donors for expenses related to organ donation.
  • establish a registry to monitor the long-term health of living donors.

A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986
Number: H.R. 4042
Sponsor: Representative Alcee Hastings (D-FL)
Latest action: Referred to the House Ways and Means Committee on March 25, 2004.
Highlights: Would allow a tax deduction for expenses paid in connection with the donation of an organ.

Stem Cell Replenishment Act of 2004
Number: H.R. 3960
Sponsor: Representative Juanita Millender-McDonald (D-CA)
Latest action: Referred to House Energy and Commerce Committee on March 11, 2004.
Highlights: Would permit Federal funds to be used for research on human embryonic stem cell lines that were created after the August 9, 2001, deadline established by President Bush.

Modified 5/12/04
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Recent Advances from the NHLBI

Device Reduces Heart Failure Deaths

An implantable cardiac defibrillator (ICD), a device placed under the skin of the chest to send electrical signals to correct potentially fatal arrhythmias, can significantly reduce deaths in heart failure patients according to preliminary results from the Sudden Cardiac Death in Heart Failure (SCD-HeFT) study.

SCD-HeFT tested whether an ICD that provides a shock without pacing or an antiarrhythmic drug called amiodarone could help prevent sudden death.

Over 2,500 patients, 19 to 90 years of age, with moderate to severe heart failure - New York Heart Association classes II and III - were assigned to ICD, placebo, or treatment with amiodarone. By the end of the study, those who got the ICD had substantially fewer deaths than those who got amiodarone and those who got placebo.

Heart failure affects about 5 million Americans and about 50 percent of deaths are probably due to rapid heartbeats in one of the lower chambers, or ventricles, of the heart. SCD-HeFT results indicate that ICDs could help reduce the number of heart failure patients who die from arrhythmias.

Modified 5/12/04
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Fitness in Young Adults Protects the Heart in Middle Age

Cardiorespiratory fitness in early adulthood significantly decreases the chance of developing high blood pressure and diabetes, two major risk factors for heart disease and stroke, in middle age, according to a new study supported by the NHLBI. Fitness also reduces the risk for the metabolic syndrome, a group of factors that includes excess abdominal fat, elevated blood pressure and triglycerides, and low levels of high density lipoprotein, the "good" cholesterol.

The study enrolled over 4,400 black and white men and women, who were ages 18 to 30 years at their enrollment, and followed them for 15 years. Results were the same for blacks and whites and for males and females. They indicated that those who were rated as low or moderately fit at the time of enrollment had twice the risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome as those who were considered highly fit when they entered the study. The risk increased directly as fitness level dropped. Also, weight gain was inversely related to fitness over the course of the study.

The study underscores the importance of both fitness and maintaining a healthy weight in the fight against heart disease and stroke and their risk factors, and indicates that improving fitness in young adults could reduce the risk for diabetes and metabolic syndrome by as much as 50 percent.

Modified 5/12/04
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