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© 2017 by The Lown Cardiovascular Group

From the Heart 

Lown Group News

Summer 2019

Meet the newest member of our team, Dr. Alyson Kelley-Hedgepeth and learn how to get involved in Drs. Lee Lewis and Kelley-Hedgepeth's Women's Cardiovascular Program! Read Dr. Shmuel Ravid's article "Aspirin: A Magical Drug, or a Bust?" as we investigate the key question whether the risk associated with this over-the- counter medication outweighs the benefit in individual patients. 

Spring 2019

Read about Dr. Bilchik’s lecture “Your Heart Is Your Engine” to find out how to improve your understanding of cardiovascular health and the warning symptoms that might indicate a heart problem. This issue also features Dr. Blatt’s article Medicine in The Balance: Using a New Technology To Customize Care. This reflection highlights new technology being utilized here that has resulted in remarkable improvements in our ability to diagnose and manage patient’s with serious cardiac problems.

Fall 2018

This issue of From the Heart features a reflection from Dr. Bilchik on the indelible influence that Lown Group founder Dr. Bernard Lown has had on him as a physician. Dr. Lewis explains the potential cardiac implications of Lyme disease. Nurse Practitioner Kristian Bakken addresses frequently asked questions about our Sports Cardiology program.

Spring 2018

Get involved with the Lown Sports Cardiology program at this year's Race-Mania event at Boston University! Read about Dr. Lewis'  latest teaching award from Harvard Medical School, and brush up on your knowledge of atrial fibrillation, the most common sustained heart rhythm abnormality.

Fall 2017

In our latest issue, meet our new Nurse Practitioner Kristian Bakken and new cardiologist Dr. Khyati Baxi. You can also read about Dr. Blatt's trip to London to discuss Lown's end-of-life research initiative "The Good Life Project".

November 2016

In this issue we congratulate our head nurse Helene Glaser on her incredible 40 years with the Lown Group! We also celebrate the legacy of Dr. Thomas Graboys, reprinting his tips for traveling with a heart condition from his own newsletter (1994).

September 2016

Read about our nutritionist Beth's experience biking the Pan Mass Challenge and learn more about our new Sports Cardiology program, led by Dr. Brian Bilchik.

Spring 2016

This issue introduces our new nutritionist, Beth Reardon, and welcomes you to our new facilities in Chestnut Hill!

Spring 2015

This issue commemorates the life and incredible career of Dr. Thomas Graboys, who passed away in January 2015. Enjoy an excerpt from his book, Life in the Balance.

Fall 2014

Read up on Dr. Ravid's treatment of atrial fibrillation and Dr. Bilchik's opinions on "shared risk," and the importance of knowing your family's heart health history.

Summer 2014

In this issue of our newsletter, Dr. Lewis details the different procedures used to test for blocked heart arteries. An article about chest pain by Dr. Thomas Graboys is also featured in this issue, from our archives.

Fall 2013

Read Dr. Lewis' article on heart health for women and find out more about how the Patient Gateway portal can help improve communication between doctor and patient.

Summer 2013

Meet the newest addition to our team, our new cardiologist, Dr. Dara Lee Lewis! Learn more about why we are introducing the Boston Heart Home membership program and shifting to a not-for-profit practice.

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Frm the Heart newsletter Fall 2017

From the Graboys Heart Letter

 

 

Dr. Graboys was one of the founding members of the Lown Cardiovascular Center. Renowned for his

exceptional patient care and teaching, Dr. Graboys retired from practice in 2005. Below is an article that

originally appeared in the Graboys Heart Letter, a precursor to our current newslette

 

How to Tell if Your Chest Pain is Heart Related

by Thomas Graboys

 

 

Most of us have experienced chest pain at one time or another. For many people, chest pain is a source of fear and anxiety because it is often associated with heart disease. Fortunately, most chest pain has nothing to do with the heart. However, chest pain is not something you should ignore. It’s very important for you to understand the differences between the types of chest pain that physicians consider to be heart-related and significant, and the types of chest pain that are not.

 

Muscles, Joints, Lungs and “Heart Burn”

There are many structures within the chest that can produce pain. Muscle pain and tenderness in the joints are perhaps the most common causes of chest pain.

Interestingly, the lungs themselves do not have the type of nerve connections that induce pain. But the lining (pleura) around the lungs may be associated with pain if it becomes irritated or inflamed.

Another source of chest pain is the esophagus, the tube that carries food from your mouth to your stomach. Acid backing up (refluxing) from the stomach into the esophagus causes pain that can mimic a heart disorder, as can spasms of the esophagus. This pain is often called “heart burn,” even though it has nothing to do with the heart. Esophageal spasms can often be relieved by the same type of medications that relieve angina.

The chart below will help you distinguish between different types of chest pain. No matter what the chart tells you, if you have any suspicion at all that your chest pain may be heart-related, consult your physician.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Your Physician Will Do

The most important clues to the origin of chest pain are the patient’s situation (age, sex, etc.) and other history related by the patient. When a twenty-five year old healthy athlete who has been lifting weights finds himself with chest pain, we can usually be sure it is muscular in origin. But when a male 55-year-old heavy smoker with high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol and a family history of heart disease experiences ”pressure” (not pain) in the chest when he walks up an incline or out in the cold, it’s a very different story. This man has the profile of someone with underlying coronary heart disease (“hardening” of the arteries leading to the heart).

If you have more than one of the important risk factors for heart disease (1. Family history of heart disease, 2. High blood pressure, 3. Smoking, 4. High cholesterol,6. Extremely high stress, 6. Diabetes, 7. Excess weight) your doctor is going to be much more cautious with any pain in your chest. Even if you have no risk factors, your doctor may recommend an exercise treadmill test to explore more thoroughly the possibility of a heart problem.

The Power of Exercise Testing

Exercise testing has become a common and powerful diagnostic tool over the last few decades. By checking your heart while you are exercising on a treadmill, trained cardiologists can uncover abnormalities of blood supply to the heart, decreased pumping ability, or heart rhythm disorders.

If the regular treadmill test is unsuitable or inconclusive, I recommend a “nuclear” stress test. By introducing a very small amount of a radioactive tracer element into your bloodstream when you are at peak exertion, this test can reveal areas of the heart which may not have been receiving an adequate blood supply, or it may even show areas of the heart which have been damaged even though they have shown no other symptoms. Stress echocardiography (a stress test with ultrasound pictures of the heart) is also an excellent way to look for heart artery blockages.

Take No Chances With Chest Pain

The good news is that most chest pains do not come from the heart. But if you are experiencing chest pains and you have any doubt about their cause, you should get a physician’s opinion, especially if you are older and have two or more of the risk factors for heart disease. Doctors can differentiate the types of chest pain quite readily, and, in most cases, give you the reassurance you need. In those cases where there is a heart problem, early intervention.