Wishing you…NOT a “Holiday Heart!”

Heart Ornament

We don’t mean to be Scrooges here!  While we certainly wish you a festive and wonderful Holiday Season, we also want to remind you that more of a good thing is not always better.  We are referring here to the effect that “large” quantities of alcohol ingestion may have on the heart, even on a healthy heart.

The term “holiday heart” was coined in the late 1970’s by doctors who studied patients admitted to the hospital for arrhythmia and who were also intoxicated with alcohol.  The admissions occurred more frequently on Sundays and Mondays, and there was a peak in incidence during the week between December 24 and January 1.  None of these patients had evidence of other heart problems, and the arrhythmia—usually atrial fibrillation—typically resolved as the alcohol intoxication resolved.  The doctors therefore suspected that the cause of the arrhythmia was binge-drinking on weekends or during Christmas week.Read more

Demystifying the ECG

 

ECG pulse trace

Image attribution: via Pixabay Creative Commons CC0 Public Domain

The electrocardiogram (ECG) is by far the most commonly performed cardiac test.  You may have seen a picture of one in a book or a magazine, or you may have been drawn into the drama of this mysterious waveform, flashing periodically on a monitor during a tense moment of  “E.R.” or “House.”

Have you wondered what the ECG is truly about?

The following Q&A will demystify the test as we begin to reflect on how the heartbeat comes about.Read more

Cardiomyopathy

 

Please note: this article is for general information only and should not be taken as specific medical advice. Should you have any symptoms or concerns, please seek medical attention or contact us for further evaluation. If you feel you are having a medical emergency, contact 9-1-1 immediately.

Cardiomyopathies are very common causes of exercise-related cardiac arrest in youth and young adults, but can occur to anyone at any age.  An unfortunate example is the case of a 45-year-old seasoned runner who collapsed during a marathon last November in Tennessee.  The autopsy revealed an unsuspected cardiomyopathy.Read more

Facts and nuances about cardiac screening

 

We are delighted to have been featured in a San Francisco Chronicle article which highlights the rising interest in cardiac screening among athletes.  I was correctly identified as being among the growing number of cardiologists who believe that current screening tools are excellent and underutilized.

The article covered the subject of screening in general, so I would like to offer some additional information for clarification. Read more

Heart symptoms to recognize

 

Please note: this article is for general information only and should not be taken as specific medical advice. Should you have any symptoms or concerns, please seek medical attention or contact us for further evaluation. If you feel you are having a medical emergency, contact 9-1-1 immediately.

While we strongly promote prevention of heart disease through screening and early detection, we also wish everyone to be educated about the symptoms that could indicate an active cardiovascular problem.

A meeting was convened in October 2012 by the American College of Cardiology’s subsection on Sports and Exercise Cardiology.  The proceedings from that meeting, entitled “Protecting the Heart of the American Athlete,” were just published.  Here are the highlights that deal with 5 common symptoms of heart disease in athletes.Read more

“I’m athletic but I’m not an athlete”

 croquet

Many of our patients tell us that they are athletic, not athletes. How do we decide who’s an athlete and who’s not?

The American College of Cardiology recently released the proceedings from a meeting on sports and exercise cardiology that took place in October 2012.  The document states that there is no agreement on how to define an athlete!Read more

Coronary artery disease in simple terms

 

Please note: this article is for general information only and should not be taken as specific medical advice. Should you have any symptoms or concerns, please seek medical attention or contact us for further evaluation. If you feel you are having a medical emergency, contact 9-1-1 immediately.
What are the coronary arteries?

The coronary arteries are the blood vessels that run on the surface of the heart, bringing blood, oxygen, and nutrients to the heart muscle.  As you can see on the image below, each coronary artery has a name that corresponds to its location on the surface of the heart.Read more

Is the ‘Google Pill’ the only hope for heart disease detection?

There has been a great deal of buzz around Google’s announcement of their plan to develop a “pill” that will circulate in the blood stream to detect early forms of cancer and give warning signs about impending cardiac complications.  Thissounds like science fiction, but who knows?  We certainly wish them the best success in this endeavor.

But do we really need to wait for these futuristic projects to be able to detect heart disease early?  I wrote an Op Ed for the San Jose Mercury News which you may find informative.

Cardiac arrest during marathons: 10 facts to consider

Last Sunday, an experienced marathon runner in his mid-50’s collapsed a few yards from the finish line during the Road2Hope half-marathon in Hamilton, Ontario.  Regrettably, the paramedics were unable to resuscitate him.  This unfortunate story illustrates the rare but tragic phenomenon of exercise-induced sudden cardiac arrest.Read more

Press release announcing AHSF’s debut

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE    

October 22, 2014

 

BAY AREA’S FIRST SPORTS CARDIOLOGY CLINIC DEBUTS

Athletic Heart of San Francisco demystifies cardiology with comprehensive cardiovascular screening for professional athletes and weekend warriors

 

SAN FRANCISCO – Athletic Heart of San Francisco (AHSF) has officially opened its doors as the first dedicated sports cardiology clinic in the Bay Area. Established by sports cardiology specialist Dr. Michel Accad, AHSF was created to meet the unique needs of athletic individuals. With sudden cardiac arrest remaining a national health epidemic and the leading cause of death among athletes, AHSF offers a robust combination of tests and individualized evaluations to screen for heart disease and other cardiac complications that could unknowingly put an athlete’s health at risk. AHSF also provides outpatient consultations and treatment for athletes and patients with heart disease who want to resume or engage in intense exercise.Read more