Thomas Jefferson University Hospital Cardiologists Educate Internists

Article ID: 588186

Released: 17-Apr-2012 9:55 AM EDT

Source Newsroom: Thomas Jefferson University

  • Howard Weitz, MD, director of the division of Cardiology at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital and director of the Jefferson Heart Institute

Experts in general cardiology, interventional cardiology, vascular medicine, heart failure and cardiac emergencies present pre-course session at Internal Medicine 2012

Newswise — (NEW ORLEANS) – Howard Weitz, M.D., FACP, FACC, director of the division of Cardiology and the Jefferson Heart Institute at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, and Bernard L. Segal Professor of Medicine at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University and his colleagues will again lead a pre-course session, Cardiology for the Internist, at the American College of Physicians’ Internal Medicine 2012 in New Orleans. The session will educate internists on the diagnostic, preventative and therapeutic approaches to the patient at risk for or with known cardiovascular disease.

Dr. Weitz will be joined by fellow Jefferson clinician-educators, David L. Fischman, MD, Co-director of the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital and Associate Professor; Geno Merli, MD, Co-director of the Jefferson Vascular Center and Professor; Matthew DeCaro, MD, director of the Coronary Care Unit and Assistant Professor; and Raphael Bonita, MD, heart failure cardiologist and Assistant Professor.

Dr. Weitz will discuss many issues in cardiology, most notable among them the growing number of patients who experience atrial fibrillation, or an irregular heart rhythm. “It’s a near epidemic,” he says. “In some cases we can get to the root of this disease, but often the cause is unknown,” says Weitz. In treating atrial fibrillation, Dr. Weitz suggests an individualized approach to treatment with consideration for the patient’s underlying cardiac and medical illness, their symptoms, and their risk of stroke.

Dr. Fischman will review new and long-standing therapies for patients with acute coronary syndrome. As Co-director of the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory at Jefferson, Dr. Fischman’s focus is on medical and invasive therapies. Despite the recently-publicized side-effects (diabetes and memory loss), Dr. Fischman sees the value of statins as a medical therapy to reduce major acute coronary events. Statins have proven successful at lowering the risk of heart attack and death following an acute coronary syndrome. He will also review new Plavix-like “super aspirins” and their role in decreasing heart attack and re-hospitalization. These anti-platelet, clotting-preventing drugs are primarily used in patients undergoing angioplasty or stent placement. Studies show that they reduce the chances of needing another angioplasty or having a heart attack. The super aspirins work best in patients who are high-risk, including the younger patient or those with diabetes, but come with an increased risk of bleeding.

Dr. Merli, a national figure in thromboembolic disease and vascular medicine, will share the best tests for the diagnosis of peripheral artery disease (PAD), the management of PAD and the care of the patient with post thrombotic syndrome. “We are looking for internists to be our partners in diagnosis and management,” says Dr. Merli. “The sooner peripheral artery disease is diagnosed or post thrombotic syndrome is documented, the sooner we can see the patient and develop a plan for management.”

Smoking and poor lipid management contribute to the development and progression of peripheral artery disease. “Quitting smoking, properly managing diet and cholesterol levels and exercise are paramount in the prevention and management of peripheral artery disease,” says Merli. Dr. Merli will also update the internists on the latest in the management of post thrombotic syndrome. Dr. Bonita will discuss current evidence-based medical and device therapies for patients with heart failure. He will also focus on the importance of identifying key prognostic signs indicative of advanced heart failure for the general internist. “Heart failure has become an epidemic in our country due to the combination of our aging population and medical and interventional advances in this field,” states Dr. Bonita. “Educating our patients on their disease process so they can become more active participants in their care will positively impact heart failure readmissions,” adds Dr. Bonita.

Dr. DeCaro will be on-hand to discuss several cardiac emergencies not related to a heart attack. The specific emergencies include hypertensive emergencies, cardiac tamponade and aortic dissection. A hypertensive emergency occurs as the result of a sudden severe elevation of blood pressure on a major organ such as a stroke; cardiac tamponade is a condition where fluid accumulates around the heart under pressure thereby compromising the ability of the heart to provide adequate circulation. An aortic dissection is a tear in the aorta, a major blood vessel carrying blood to the body.

The American College of Physician’s annual scientific meeting draws more than 5,000 internal medicine physicians, or internists, subspecialists, medical students and allied health professionals. The conference provides comprehensive coverage of internal medicine, its subspecialties, and issues in practice management and healthcare policy. It is the largest medical specialty society in the country. # # #

Thomas Jefferson University HospitalsThomas Jefferson University Hospitals (TJUH) are dedicated to excellence in patient care and education. It is consistently ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the nation's top hospitals. It has over 950 licensed acute care beds with major programs in a wide range of clinical specialties. TJUH is one of the few hospitals in the U.S. that is both a Level 1 Trauma Center and a federally-designated regional spinal cord injury center. TJUH patient care facilities include: Jefferson Hospital, Jefferson Hospital for Neuroscience, and Methodist Hospital in South Philadelphia. Additional out-patient sites are located throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. TJUH is a part of Jefferson Health System and a partner of Thomas Jefferson University.