• According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, more than 1 million adults in the United States are living with congenital heart defects. Congenital heart defects are the most common type of birth defect, affecting 8 out of every 1,000 newborns. More than 35,000 babies are born each year in the United States with congenital heart defects. Most people who have complex heart defects continue to need special heart care throughout their lives.

    During American Heart Month, it’s a good time to learn a little bit more about congenital heart defects. Here are some frequently-asked-questions.

    What is congenital heart disease and how is it different from other kinds of heart disease?

    Congenital heart disease is a condition with which you are born. Other kinds of heart disease may develop over time, whether through infection, coronary artery disease, trauma or other reasons.

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  • Medicare Proposes Expansion of Rehab Coverage for CHF Patients

    By Kindred Healthcare

    Medicare recently proposed expanding coverage of cardiac rehabilitation services for cardiac patients, reports MedPage Today. Prior to the proposal, announced online last week, CMS claimed there was insufficient evidence to support cardiac rehab to patients with chronic heart failure (CHF). Medicare currently only covers such services for patients who have experienced major events like coronary bypass surgery, heart or heart-lung transplant, or an acute myocardial infarction.

    CMS is now asking for public comments on increasing coverage to a wider range of heart patients. After reviewing existing literature on cardiac rehab service, the agency stated, “With the accumulated evidence that supports the benefits of the individual components of cardiac rehabilitation programs, the evidence is sufficient to determine that participation in these multi-component programs improves health outcomes for Medicare beneficiaries with chronic heart failure.”

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  • Your Wakeup Call: Diabetes AlertDay®

    By Sophia Kroon

    Your Wakeup Call: Diabetes AlertDay® , everyone is encouraged to take a simple, one-minute test on Facebook to help assess their risk of developing type 2 diabetes. 

    This free test (in English or Spanish) can be found on Facebook, www.stopdiabetes.com or by calling 1-800-DIABETES.  Although Alert Day is a one-day event, the Diabetes Risk Test is available year-round, as are preventative tips and other information for individuals and the workplace.

    Diabetes is bigger than you think

    To put the problem in perspective, consider this… 26 million children and adults in this country struggle with diabetes — and 7 million of them don’t even know they have it.  In addition, one in three American adults has prediabetes and is at serious risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

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  • The Methodist Hospital in Houston, Texas operates one of the largest lung transplant programs in the country; in 2012, the hospital performed 143 lung transplants and boasts excellent outcomes with a 30-day survival rate of 95 percent, one-year survival rate of 83 percent and five-year survival rate of 55 percent.

    “Our outcomes are on par or slightly above the national average,” said Director of the Lung Transplant Program Harish Seethamraju, MD.

    Many of those lung transplant patients are seamlessly discharged from Methodist to Kindred Hospital-Houston Medical Center, where Dr. Seethamraju and his team oversee their care as they continue their recovery.

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