Tag Archives: heart

Heart Health, WEB

7 tips to maintain a healthy heart

Every year 1.5 million men and women will have a heart attack or stroke.  Heart disease will kill as many Americans each year as all cancers, pneumonias and accidents combined. What can you do to prevent heart disease or minimize its impact on your life?

Charles Katzenberg, MD, a cardiologist with the University of Arizona Sarver Heart Center, emphasizes a healthy lifestyle, including diet, exercise, community engagement and stress management, as the best prevention against heart disease in his program called the Heart Series.

Dr. Katzenberg shares these seven tips for a healthy heart:

  • Find your own healthful diet.Eat as close to a whole-foods, plant-based diet as possible. Minimize meat and dairy, since these are associated with heart disease. Also, minimize calorie-dense oils, including olive oil, which contains 15 percent saturated fat and 1 percent omega-3, compared to canola oil, which contains 7 percent saturated fat and 11 percent omega-3. The first Mediterranean Diet study, called the Diet Heart Study, used canola oil, not olive oil. Avoid trans fats, added salt and added sugars. Learn to read food labels.
  • Avoid weight gain.While a normal Body Mass Index (BMI) is in the 18.5 – 24.9 range, the 25-30 range is reasonable for heart health, said Dr. Katzenberg. (A link to determine your BMI is on Sarver Heart Center’s “Heart Health” webpage.)
  • Get moving. Exercise aerobically (walk, jog, bike, swim, circuit weights, aerobic exercise classes) three to four hours each week. Include a few minutes of warm-up and cool down in each session.
  • Avoid smoking, including electronic-cigarettes.E-cigarettes are tools to help quit smoking, but long-term effects are unknown; so, use these short term while stopping cigarettes.
  • Know your numbers, especially blood pressure and cholesterol numbers and, if necessary, follow treatment prescribed by your doctor to keep these under control.
  • Manage your stress.Stress is a risk factor for coronary heart disease and is associated with elevated blood pressure and poor lifestyle choices in areas of diet, exercise, smoking and weight management. Learn to recognize unhealthy stress and use tools and mechanisms to modify your response. Some people relax by reading a book or listening to music. Others benefit from tai chi, meditation, yoga or exercise. Find out what works for you and do it 30 to 60 minutes each day to remove destructive stress from your life. Seek help if you need to learn ways to manage your stress.
  • Be involved in a community you enjoy.This could be as simple as sharing a meal with friends or family, volunteering, participating in an education or fitness class, a book club, or a religious group. Find what works for you.

What if you do your best to follow a healthy lifestyle and you still develop heart disease? There are risk factors for heart disease no one can control, such as advanced age and genes. It’s important to know the signs of a heart attack and to seek early heart attack care when symptoms occur to minimize heart muscle loss. For more information, visit the Heart Health webpage.

Know heart attack symptoms. Not all heart attacks look the same. Some people experience extreme chest pain that many consider the classic heart attack. Others experience milder symptoms where damage occurs over a period of hours. In such cases, symptoms may include chest discomfort, such as pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain that lasts a few minutes, goes away and comes back. Discomfort in the upper body – one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or upper stomach are other symptoms to watch for, as are shortness of breath, cold sweat, nausea, dizziness, light-headedness, weakness and fatigue. People having heart attacks generally look unwell, so if a friend or loved one comments that you look ill, pay attention to your symptoms.

If you experience these symptoms or signs, call 911. Don’t drive yourself or have anyone else drive you. Time is heart muscle. Emergency transport to a cardiac receiving center gives a heart attack patient the best chance of saving heart muscle.

If the worst happens, a person may suffer a sudden cardiac arrest – suddenly collapses and is not responsive. Know the “3 Cs” of chest-compression-only CPR:

  1. Check for responsiveness– Shake the person and shout, “Are you OK?” Rub the chest bone with your knuckles.
  2. Call – Direct someone to call 9-1-1 and bring an AED.  If you are alone, call 9-1-1 yourself if the person is unresponsive and struggling to breathe.
  3. Compress– Begin forceful chest compressions at a rate of 100 per minute. Position the victim backside down on the floor. Place the heel of one hand on top of the other and place the heel of the bottom hand on the center of the victim’s chest. Lock your elbows and compress the chest forcefully; make sure you lift up enough between compressions to let the chest recoil.

If an AED (automated external defibrillator) is available, turn the unit on and follow the voice instructions. If no AED is available, perform chest compressions continuously until help arrives. This is physically tiring so if someone else is available, take turns after each 100 chest compressions.

Chest-compression-only CPR, which was researched and developed at the UA Sarver Heart Center, has been shown to double a person’s chance of survival from sudden cardiac arrest, compared to mouth-to-mouth CPR or doing nothing.

To learn more about heart health and chest-compression-only CPR, please visit the UA Sarver Heart Center website: heart.arizona.edu. You also can find us onFacebook (University of Arizona Sarver Heart Center) or follow us on Twitter @SarverHeart.

linzer heart collage

Pomegranate Linzer Hearts

If there’s ever a good time to be a little hokey, I say Valentine’s Day is it.  Instead of getting your sweetheart the usual heart-shaped box of just-okay chocolates and a teddy bear holding roses why not surprise them with something homemade.

When I want something delicious and just a little bit hokey I make Linzer cookies. These delicious little sandwich cookies are typically made with almond flour and filled with raspberry jam. I’m changing it up with a jar of organic pomegranate jam I found at the store. Pomegranates will add an unexpected tang and as an aphrodisiac they’re perfect for this holiday. Cut into heart shapes these cookies are the perfect way to say “I love you.”

If cookies aren’t your think we’ve covered plenty of other recipes that would make for great V-Day gifts. Maybe those truffles you’ve been dying to try or make your own marshmallows flavored with rose water and dipped in chocolate. Check out these recipes and more from The Dish.


Linzer Cookies

1 1/2 cups flour

1 1/3 cups almond flour

1/2 tsp salt

2/3 cup sugar

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 egg

1 tsp dark rum

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp grated lemon zest (optional)

about 1/2 cup seedless jam such as raspberry, strawberry, or pomegranate. Nutella or dulce de leche can be substituted as well

1 Tbs. water or lemon juice

powdered sugar for dusting

Special equipment:

A 2″ heart cookie cutter and a 1/2″ heart cookie cutter


In a bowl, mix flour, almonds and salt until well combined. Set aside.

Using an electric mixer or a wooden spoon, beat sugar and butter until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and beat until well blended. Beat in rum, vanilla and lemon zest. Reduce speed and slowly add the dry ingredients. Beat until just blended. Knead with your hands if necessary.

Divide dough in half. Place each half between sheets of parchment or waxed paper. Working with 1 piece at a time, flatten dough into a disk; roll dough, occasionally lifting paper on both sides for easier rolling, until 1/8″ thick. Chill dough in paper until very firm, at least 2 hours. Dough can be made 2 days ahead. Cover; keep chilled.

Arrange a rack in middle of oven and preheat to 375°F. Line several baking sheets with parchment paper.

Working with 1 dough disk at a time, remove top sheet of paper and, using 2″ heart cookie cutter, cut out cookies. Transfer to baking sheets, placing 1/2″ apart; chill. Repeat with remaining dough. Gather scraps; repeat rolling, chilling, and cutting until dough is used.

Using 1/2″ heart cookie cutter, cut out a star from the center of half the cookies. Working in batches, bake cookies until light golden brown, dry, and just firm to the touch, about 8-10 minutes. (Cookies will firm up as they cool.) Transfer to a wire rack; let cool. Cookies can be baked 2 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.

Bring jam and 1 teaspoon water or lemon juice to a boil in a small saucepan; let cool slightly.

Arrange whole cookies flat side up. Spoon 1 teaspoon cooled jam in the center of each, dabbing slightly to spread. Arrange cookies with cutouts flat side down on a wire rack; dust with powdered sugar. Set atop whole cookies, lining up points and allowing jam to push up slightly through center.

Cookeis can be assembled 8 hours ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.



heart transplant helps 3 year old

3-Year-Old Receives Heart Transplant At UAMC

After chemotherapy damaged her heart, Mary Olivia Bingham received a successful heart transplant at The University of Arizona Medical Center-University Campus.

A 3-year-old Vail, Ariz., girl is back at home, jumping on the bed and teasing her four siblings after receiving a heart transplant at The University of Arizona Medical Center-University Campus last month.

Cardiothoracic surgeons in the UA department of surgery performed the April 12 heart transplant on Mary Olivia Bingham after chemotherapy damaged her heart.

“This is a miracle,’’ said the child’s mother, Taber Bingham, as she held a sleeping Mary in her arms a few days following the heart transplant.

This beautiful child with wide, brown eyes and a dynamic spirit has endured great challenges. She came to live with Taber and her husband, Burke Bingham, and their four children when she was 3 weeks old. The Binghams took foster children into their home on an emergency, short-term basis.

When Burke first saw Mary, he somehow knew this child would become his daughter. While Mary had a family that adored her, they could not care for her. The Binghams were set to adopt her in fall  2010, when Mary was 18 months old.

The day before the adoption was to be finalized, however, the family received devastating news. Mary, who had been in pain, was diagnosed with acute monocytic leukemia, rare in children. Tests showed the cells had invaded as much as 90 percent of her bone marrow.

The best chance of survival came in the form of more than five months of intense, in-patient chemotherapy. To finalize the adoption, the judge traveled to the hospital room at UAMC, with Mary surrounded by the Binghams and her four new siblings, Beck, 10, twins Jake and Raven, 13, and Sierra, 15.

The Binghams knew the very toxic chemotherapy could damage Mary’s heart. “I thought, ‘We’ll deal with it when it comes,’” said Taber, a labor and delivery nurse.

She and her husband, an employee with the City of Tucson, staggered their schedules so one of them could always be with Mary. The child’s biological grandmother would sing songs to her over the phone.

About a month after discharge, with Mary in remission, it was discovered that the chemotherapy had indeed damaged the child’s left ventricle, and her heart was pumping half the normal amount.

It was hoped that medication might help the heart recuperate, but Mary’s condition worsened. On Thanksgiving Day 2011, she had a seizure and was airlifted to UAMC. Her parents thought they were losing her.

Always the fighter, Mary rebounded. It was clear, however, that her heart was not improving. In early April, she was placed on the heart transplant waiting list.

On April 11, the family ended up at UAMC after Mary became ill. While in the hospital, word came that a heart might be available.

While the size and genetics of the donor heart were excellent matches, it wasn’t clear whether the heart itself would be in good enough condition – the donor had required CPR, which can damage the heart. Also, the donor was several hours away by air, and a delay of more than four hours also can damage the organ.

That night, Dr. M. Cristina Smith, assistant professor in the UA department of surgery and director of heart transplant and ventricular-assist device services at UAMC, flew to the donor, who was on life support with no brain activity. There, she determined the heart was “perfect.”

As Smith rushed back to Tucson with the heart, Mary was prepared for surgery. When the wheels of the aircraft hit the ground, Mary was placed on the heart-lung bypass machine, and her heart was removed.

The donor heart was transplanted in the early morning hours of the next day by Smith and Dr. Jess L. Thompson III, pediatric cardiovascular surgeon and assistant professor in the UA department of surgery.

“The surgery went extremely well,’’ said Thompson, adding  that about 300 pediatric heart transplants are performed each year in the U.S. “The heart function was excellent.’’

Dr. Michael F. Teodori, professor of surgery and director of pediatric heart surgery, added, “Drs. Smith and Thompson did a terrific job with the entire team continuing the pioneering work of the heart transplant center here at The University of Arizona Medical Center.”

The Binghams are joyful over the heart transplant, but know a family is grieving the loss of their baby. They are thankful for the gift that saved their child’s life, and for the UAMC team.

“It is a fantastic team,’’ Burke said.

Said Taber, “They have all collaborated for Mary. They are almost like family.’’

The couple said they were relieved they did not have to leave Tucson.

“We didn’t have to go anywhere else,’’ Taber said. “We didn’t have to uproot our family and leave behind all of our resources in the community. We’re very fortunate.’’