Setting outpatient rehabilitation appointments soon after leaving the hospital improved participation significantly, as did providing a non-medical “navigator” or “coach” while patients were still in the hospital. Hospitals promoting cardiac rehabilitation and more certifications for rehab programs also were effective.
The 10-year death rate for people who participated in cardiac rehabilitation after heart bypass surgery was 50 percent lower than those who did not participate.
5. Breakthroughsin congenital heartdisease genetics
Two new papers have significantly increased our understanding of the genetics of congenital heart disease. One identified 400 genes potentially responsible for congenital heart disease, and found that 10 percent of mutations leading to severe congenital heart disease were new and not passed down by a parent. Another study showed for the first time that, mutations within a genetic pathway that regulates early development may be responsible for congenital heart disease, and may also have a link to autism.
6. How intestinalmicrobes raise thecardiovascular disease risk from red meat
An emerging area of nutrition science is the study of bacteria, or microbes, in the digestive system and how they affect heart disease risk. A 2013 study discovered that microbes in the digestive system may be responsible for red meat elevating two chemicals associated with cardiovascular disease, L-carnitine (a nutrient that can be measured in the blood) and a substance called trimethylamine-N-oxide, or TMAO, produced by bacteria in the digestive tract from L- carnitine, and linked to major cardiac events. Vegans, vegetarians and omnivores (who eat meat and vegetables) were studied. Vegans and vegetarians had less L-carnitine in their blood than omnivores and when they consented to eat meat for the study, their digestive system produced less TMAO than their meat-eating counterparts.
7. Atrial Fibrillation
Atrial fibrillation, an irregular heartbeat that can lead to blood clots, stroke, heart failure and other heart-related complications, affects 2.7 million Americans. One study found that atrial fibrillation also may affect cognitive function.