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Nurse gave CPR to woman as Southwest flight made emergency landing

A retired nurse aboard an errant Southwest Airlines flight performed CPR on a dying woman as the plane braced for an emergency landing Tuesday.

One of Flight 1380’s jet engines failed roughly 30-minutes after taking off from LaGuardia Airport in New York City, forcing a rough emergency landing at Philadelphia International Airport. Passengers described a horrific scene, wherein a drastic drop in pressure caused Jennifer Riordan, a mother of two, to be sucked out a plane window.

Other passengers were able to pull Riordan into the plane, where passenger Peggy Phillips, a retired nurse, rushed to her aide after hearing a call for anyone who knew CPR, reports ABC-6. Together with an onboard EMT, Phillips gave Riordan CPR for 20 minutes through the plane’s emergency landing in Philadelphia.

“It just wasn’t going to be enough,” Phillips told NBC-10.

It wasn’t. Riordan, a bank executive from Albuquerque, New Mexico, died from her injuries.

“It happened so fast,” Phillips told ABC-6. “If you can possibly imagine going through the window of an airplane at about 600 miles an hour and hitting either the fuselage or the wing with your body – with your face – then I think I can probably tell you there was significant trauma.”

Philadelphia’s medical examiner said Wednesday that Riordan died of blunt impact trauma to her head, neck and torso.

(Credit USA Today


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States where you’re more likely to have heart disease: See where your state ranks

Live in New Mexico? You are more likely to be affected by heart disease. New Mexico and the Southeastern part of the United States rose to the top of the list of states that have more people living with heart disease than any other part of the country, according to the Global Burden of Cardiovascular Disease Collaboration and the American Medical Association.

The overall news is good since, over the past 25 years, the United States has seen a decline in the number of people with heart disease. But in certain parts of the country, there is a rise, and researchers believe that the dominating factor in this rise is what we eat.

This study, which was just published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, looked back at heart disease in all 50 states from 1990 to 2016.

For the study, heart disease included anyone with a heart attack, any type of stroke, and the most common form of unusual heart rhythm, atrial fibrillation. The relationship between geography and heart disease sometimes makes sense — it’s not a surprise that Mississippi, famous for its fried catfish and mudpies, infamous for its poverty and few medical resources, had the most heart disease in the country. Not far behind are other states from the Gulf Coast to West Virginia — as well as two outlier states, New Mexico and Alaska.

Which states had the least heart disease?

Minnesota had the least heart disease — in addition to many states in the Northeast and Northwest. Ischemic heart attacks — caused by a lack of blood supply to the heart — are the most common type of heart disease in every state, and overall in the United States, which has not changed in 25 years.

But other things have changed — obesity has risen from 11 percent to 29 percent, which contributes to the problem. The number of people smoking has been cut by 50 percent — from 30 percent to 15 percent — largely due to government implemented programs encouraging people to quit.

Geographically, we’re left with questions: What is causing a concentration of sicker people in certain parts of the country? Is it migration to warmer weather? Is it a cost of living differences? Is it access to certain types of foods or better medical care?

We aren’t sure. But heart disease remains a massive burden to these areas and for those who are living with it, it is a major cause of declining quality of life. Our challenge now is to focus on educating these states on a heart-healthy diet, exercise, and other ways to prevent heart disease in order to bring them up to par with the rest of the country.

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Less heart disease, stroke in immigrants than in U.S.-born

People living in the U.S. but born elsewhere may have lower risk for heart disease and stroke than their native-born neighbors, suggests a new study. Foreign-born residents had a range of risks, however. Women from Europe and men from Africa or South America had the lowest stroke rates compared to U.S.-born peers. Heart disease rates were lowest among men and women from Asia, the Caribbean, Central America and Mexico and highest among men from the Indian Subcontinent and Europe.

Heart disease is the top cause of death in the U.S., and stroke is the fifth-leading cause, the study team points out in the Journal of the American Heart Association. Past research has suggested that U.S. residents born elsewhere are less likely to die of heart disease than those born in the U.S., and less likely to have heart disease risk factors like obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure, the authors note.

The foreign-born population of the U.S. has swelled from less than 10 million in 1970, or about 5 percent of the population, to 40 million, or 13 percent, in 2010, write the authors, led by Dr. Jing Fang of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

To assess current differences in heart disease prevalence, the researchers analyzed data on 258,862 adults who participated in the National Health Interview Survey between 2006 and 2014. Overall, 16.4 percent were born outside the U.S., and researchers further divided these individuals into six groups based on their region of origin: Africa; Asia; Central America and the Caribbean; Europe; Indian Subcontinent; Mexico and South America.

Among U.S.-born men, 8.2 percent had coronary heart disease and 2.7 percent had experienced a stroke, compared with 5.5 percent and 2.1 percent, respectively, of foreign-born men. Among native-born women, 4.8 percent had heart disease compared with 4.2 percent of foreign-born women, and 2.7 percent reported having had a stroke compared with 1.9 percent of foreign-born women.

Overall, heart disease risk was lowest among individuals from Africa, at 3.1 percent, while South American-born adults had the lowest risk of stroke, at 1.1 percent. Women born in Africa had the lowest heart disease rates of any group, at 1.6 percent, but they also had the highest stroke rates among all women at 2.9 percent. Men from Africa had the lowest heart disease and stroke rates among all men, at 4.4 percent and 0.8 percent, respectively, compared with 8.2 percent and 2.7 percent among U.S. men.

After the investigators accounted for education and other factors, they found that the duration of a person’s residence in the U.S. did not affect their likelihood of having heart disease or a stroke. The data is self-reported, Dr. Fang noted in a telephone interview, so study participants had not necessarily received a formal diagnosis of heart disease or stroke. Also, she said, because of the small number of immigrants from certain countries, it wasn’t possible to analyze the results on a country-by-country level.

Among the study’s other limitations, said Dr. Yvonne Commodore-Mensah, who wasn’t involved in the research, only about 45 percent of the participants from Mexico, Central America and Caribbean had health insurance, compared to about 86 percent of the U.S.-born adults, which could help explain their lower reported rates of heart disease and stroke.

The study also didn’t capture people with heart disease or stroke who go home to their country of origin to seek less expensive health care, said Commodore-Mensah, who studies cardiovascular health in immigrants at Johns Hopkins School of Nursing in Baltimore.

“Heart disease may be a process that takes years and may be undiagnosed, so I’m concerned that a high percentage of these foreign-born individuals may have undiagnosed conditions,” she said in a phone interview.

Future studies should aim to look at immigrants’ country of origin, rather than the general region, she added. “It’s not a homogenous group. There may be some populations that are at higher risk than others. When we aggregate data, we lose a lot of information that may actually help us to create culturally appropriate public health interventions.”

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In women, antibiotic use linked to increased risk of death from heart disease

It’s a health warning Americans have heard for years: Only use antibiotics when necessary, or you might end up with an infection that is difficult to treat because it contains bacteria that are resistant to these drugs. But there may also be other reasons to only take antibiotics when you really need them. A new study finds that older women taking antibiotics for two months or longer in late adulthood have a higher risk of death from any cause and a higher risk of death from cardiovascular disease compared to women who did not use antibiotics.

The study included 37,516 women ages 60 and older who were enrolled in the Nurses’ Health Study, a long-term observational study launched in 1976 to identify long-term effects of diet, exercise, medication use and other factors on women’s overall health and their risk for specific diseases. It is funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Dr. Lu Qi, HCA Regents Distinguished Chair and professor of epidemiology at Tulane University in New Orleans, who led the study, presented the findings Wednesday at the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology and Lifestyle conference in New Orleans.

Because this is an observational study, it can only show a correlation between antibiotic use and heart disease. It “doesn’t necessarily mean a causal link,” Qi said.

The women enrolled in the Nurses’ Health Study are regularly sent questionnaires about their health. In 2004, the women were asked how often they had used antibiotics, on a scale from not at all to two or more months, during two separate time periods: between ages 40 to 59 and at age 60 or over. At that time, none of the 35,516 women Qi and his team studied had been diagnosed with heart disease or cancer.

By mid-2014, 4,535 women had died, 600 from cardiovascular-related causes and 1,179 from cancer. Analyses showed women who had taken antibiotics for two months or more were 19 percent more likely to die of any disease and 57 percent more likely to die from cardiovascular disease than those who had not taken any antibiotics.

The relationship between antibiotic use and increased risk of death, including death related to cardiovascular disease, was more evident among women who also had used antibiotics for two months or more in middle age than among those who only used antibiotics at age 60 or over. The analysis took into account other factors that might increase heart disease risk, such as dietary factors, high blood pressure, diabetes and use of other medications.

Previous studies have found antibiotics can cause changes to gut microbiota, the microorganisms that live in the digestive tract. Researchers are currently investigating whether microbiota change in ways that increase a person’s risk of developing or dying from heart disease, cancer or other chronic illnesses.

Qi said his team looked for but did not find a relationship between antibiotic use and the risk of dying of any type of cancer.

“I think the study is fascinating,” said Dr. Nieca Goldberg, director of NYU Langone Medical Center’s Joan H. Tisch Center for Women’s Health and a clinical associate professor of medicine at NYU’s School of Medicine. She said this is the first time she’s seen a study look at the relationship between antibiotic use and heart disease.

However, Goldberg said more research is needed to determine if there is a causal link and what triggers it. “We don’t want people who really need antibiotics being afraid to take them,” she said.

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Man saves wife’s life with CPR

APPLETON, WI (WBAY/CNN) – Andrea Benrud is alive and well thanks to her husband, Luke, and his knowledge of CPR. It was August 2016, just five weeks after their son Aiden was born, when something went terribly wrong.

“Came in the house together, I went to change Aiden’s diaper, came back in the kitchen and Andrea was just laying there. And I could tell right away that it was a really bad situation based on the coloring of her face and things like that,” Luke Benrud said.

Having taken a Red Cross CPR class, he called 9-1-1 and then immediately started using the skills he learned in that class on his wife.

“I just remembered chest compressions are most important and you would have to do them harder than you would think you’d have to do them. Especially when it’s your wife, you don’t want to hurt her,” Benrud explained.

For an agonizing seven minutes, which seemed like an eternity, he continued those chest compressions until paramedics arrived.

“Seeing somebody else giving her CPR and then somebody else hooking her up to the defibrillator, shocking her, that’s when it all starts to hit me, the gravity of the situation,” he recalled.

It turns out, Andrea Benrud had a rare, undetected heart defect that caused an irregular heartbeat. After about three days in a medically-induced coma, she woke up with no clue what had happened.

“Since then, I’ve had an ICD placed that connects to my heart so that if it ever does happen again, it will shock me, which is kind of scary but it’s a good thing,” Andrea Benrud explained.

A year and a half later, she feels like her old self again. She, her husband, and the rest of her family are all CPR trained and they hope by sharing their story, others will feel compelled to learn what to do when it could mean the difference between life and death.

“I think we’re just the perfect example of people that think this could never happen to you, so CPR, Luke knowing that, he saved my life,” she said.

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Living With Heart Disease

Like anyone who has suffered a heart attack, it’s natural to feel like no one understands what you’re going through. But there’s no reason to feel like you’re fighting this battle alone. There are many resources available to help you cope and educate yourself about getting on track to a heart-healthy life.

For some, like Lidia Morales, being open with other women about her struggles has helped her become more accepting of her diagnosis and more optimistic about her future. “I show people my surgery scar and tell them it’s my beauty mark because this experience has taught me so many things about my life,” explains Lidia.

When you’re living with heart disease, the most important thing to realize is that the future does not have to look grim. Read on to find out how listening to the advice of your doctor, making positive lifestyle changes, and knowing where to look for the support you need, can help you maintain a full and productive lifestyle.

Cardiac Arrest vs. Heart Attack

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Lead exposure may be linked to 250,000 heart-disease deaths each year, study says

Medical researchers have long known that lead-poisoning damages children’s brains and increases the risks of all sorts of health problems from high blood pressure to heart disease. Now new research has found that the deaths of an estimated 250,000 Americans from cardiovascular disease each year may be linked to lead exposure — a number far higher than previous estimates.

The study was based on a national health survey that tracked more than 14,000 participants across the country over nearly two decades. In previous studies, researchers had assumed that low levels of lead in people’s blood wouldn’t increase the risk of death. But the new study found that even minute levels of lead substantially increase the risk of death, especially from heart disease.

“We saw risk down to the lowest measurable levels,” said Bruce Lanphear, a lead-poisoning researcher at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia who led the study. “It’s a big deal and it’s largely been ignored when it comes to cardiovascular disease deaths.”

Lead levels in the air have declined dramatically in the United States since the country began phasing out leaded gasoline in the 1970s. But lead water pipes are still being used in communities scattered across the country, and lead paint remains in many old houses.

Workers at construction sites and auto shops may be exposed to lead. It’s released into the air by coal-fired power plants, lead smelters and other industrial facilities, including recyclers that work with lead batteries. Lead can be found in products like fishing weights, lead-glazed ceramics and some children’s toys. It also continues to turn up in some foods, including baby foods.

The new study, which was published Monday in The Lancet Public Health journal, is the first to estimate the number of deaths in the U.S. linked to low-level lead exposure using data from a nationally representative sample.

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for Americans, and the study’s findings indicate that lead is a major factor contributing to those deaths. The research focused on 14,289 people who were followed in the national health survey between 1988 and 1994, and again in 2011. Their health data included a blood test for lead.

At the end of the period, 4,422 people had died, including 1,801 from cardiovascular disease, out of which 988 deaths were from coronary heart disease. The researchers adjusted the results for a list of factors such as age, sex, alcohol consumption, smoking and diet, and estimated the proportion of deaths in U.S. adults ages 44 or older whose premature deaths could have been prevented if they hadn’t been exposed to lead.

They estimated that 256,000 deaths — nearly 29 percent of premature deaths from cardiovascular disease — could be linked to lead exposure each year. That included 185,000 deaths from coronary heart disease, or about 37 percent of all deaths from that cause, as well as other types of cardiovascular disease, such as strokes and peripheral artery disease.

Previous studies had assumed that there was no harm when patients had lead at concentrations of less than 50 parts per billion in their blood. About four out of five people in the survey had lead concentrations in their blood below that level, yet their cases still showed increasing risks with incremental rises in lead levels.

Lanphear said the results point to a need for the federal Environmental Protection Agency, as well as other federal and state agencies, to ratchet down the allowable levels of lead under their standards.

“The levels of lead in standards right now are too high to protect kids,” Lanphear said. “And this new study would suggest that they’re too high — whether it’s lead in water, lead in house dust, lead in air — all of those things should be reevaluated based upon this study because it suggests that there’s no safe level of lead.”

Lanphear and his colleagues also looked at deaths from all causes and estimated that about 400,000 deaths per year are attributable to lead exposure in the United States. That’s 10 times larger than the current estimate and about 18 percent of all deaths. It’s also comparable to the approximately 480,000 current smokers who die in a given year.

Those numbers are based on the amounts of lead that older Americans were exposed to decades ago. Lanphear pointed out that most Americans are exposed to less lead nowadays because of lead has been taken out of gasoline and paint.

“So the number of deaths from lead exposure will be lower in younger generations,” he said. “Still, lead represents a leading cause of disease and death, and it is important to continue our efforts to reduce environmental lead exposure.”

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Doctors warn of hidden risks for heart disease

In fact, diet soda may be one of those things that should be on our radar. Women who drink two diet sodas every day are 30 percent more likely to have a cardiovascular event and 50 percent more likely to die of heart-related disease. These numbers are based on preliminary research.

“We don’t really know what those chemicals are doing to our body,” Balan said.

Another danger? Hearing loss, especially the kind caused by prolonged exposure to loud noise. It might double your heart disease risk. Dr. Konstantinos Charitakis said being a big sports fan can be a heart threat, too. A recent small study showed a 110 percent jump in spectators’ heart rates.

“People that have already a blockage in coronary arteries are the ones that may develop symptoms or even a heart attack,” Charitakis said.

Scientists said low levels of vitamin D are also linked with potential heart issues, and you can add sleep deprivation to the list of risk factors associated with heart disease. On the Monday after losing an hour of sleep for daylight saving, heart attacks jump by 24 percent.

“The changes related to sleep habits, the difficulty in terms of adjusting to the change in time may potentially contribute,” Balan said.

The best advice? Listen to your body.

“Pay attention to your symptoms. If you’re having symptoms, get them checked out,” Balan said.

Doctors said these hidden dangers pose the most risk to people who already have underlying coronary artery disease, but not everyone who has heart disease knows it. They advise people get a baseline assessment of your heart health to know exactly where you stand.


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Olympia woman’s unexpected first responder role highlights importance of CPR, AED training

The emergency highlighted the importance of knowing CPR and AED usage.

An Olympia woman who spends most days helping other people save lives was thrust into the role of first responder last weekend. It’s a lesson in the importance of knowing CPR and how to operate an automatic external defibrillator (AED).

“You’re panicked. You’re shaking all over, and someone’s life is on the line right there,” said Helen Kramer, an executive assistant for the Washington State Council of Firefighters.

Kramer was volunteering at the Olympia Pie Fest on Saturday when a woman collapsed and stopped breathing. Kramer, who has done CPR and defibrillator training, rushed over and with the help of a nurse and others on-scene, gave the woman CPR. Then they used the AED to shock the patient to get her heart beating again.

“All of a sudden she (gasped), and a huge breath came in, and she started to move her hand a bit,” Kramer said. Paramedics arrived within minutes, and by then the woman was conscious and talking.

“I just feel like I try to love people every day, no matter who they are, and that’s what our members do, and that’s what we can all do as citizens, is love people, and be willing to help somebody when they need it,” she said. Kramer says the experience helped her better understand the first responders she works with every day.

“I’m all the more grateful for them,” she said. The emergency highlighted the importance of knowing CPR and AED usage.

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When Man Suddenly Collapses, People Line Up For 96-Minute CPR Marathon to Save Him

In what has been called the “longest, successful out-of-hospital resuscitation,” 20 different people all saved a man’s life by performing CPR for 96 minutes. The miraculous incident took place in the tiny town of Goodhue, Minnesota back in 2011. Goodhue, which only has a population of about 1,000 people, doesn’t even have a traffic light. The emergency response team for the town is comprised of roughly 20 volunteers.

54-year-old Howard Snitzer received life-saving help from all of them when he was walking out of a grocery store and suddenly collapsed on the sidewalk from a massive heart attack. As the grocery clerk called 911, the only other customer in the store rushed outside and started giving CPR. Several other people across the street overheard the commotion, and went to lend a hand.

“He wasn’t breathing,” said Al Lodermeier, one of the good Samaritans. “He was in trouble and that’s when we started doing CPR.”

Al’s brother Roy also told ABC News: “We just lined up and when one guy had enough, the next guy jumped in. That’s how it went.”

It would take 96 minutes for a rescue helicopter from the Mayo Clinic to fly over and successfully resuscitate Snitzer – and over the course of that nerve-wracking hour and a half, 20 people all lined up in front of Snitzer so they could wait for their turn to take over the chest compressions. 10 days later, Snitzer had made a full recovery and was released from the hospital.


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