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Community: This is the place for questions, discussions, controversy and connections

Why Community is Good for Your Health
Social support is a key component of heart disease risk reduction. Studies show that patients with close connections to others have better health outcomes. Seeking and accepting support and assistance from other people is a critical part of “optimal medical therapy," the proven prescription for managing cardiovascular disease.

Heart disease is one of the most frightening emotional challenges a person, and a family, can face. Whether you are a heart patient, a relative, or a caregiver, it can be extremely helpful to share your story with people who have been there themselves.

Family and friends, nurse educators, nutritionists, exercise instructors, health advocates, fellow patients, counselors and others online and in your personal network can help in different ways.

  Fellow patients and caregivers can shore you up, motivate you, and provide in-the-trenches information, advice, and understanding.

This section is one of the most important services Angioplasty.Org provides, because we know that medications, tests and procedures are only part of managing chronic heart disease. Living with coronary artery disease and maintaining heart health is a life-long commitment that requires on-going support and encouragement.

The centerpiece of our community is our Patient Forum. We will also be offering stories of recovery, profiles of our members, information about research on the effects of community on health, and resources to help you connect.

Our Patient Members:
Meet Rick Dulin

In December 2006, Maryland heart patient Rick Dulin read on Angioplasty.Org about an upcoming FDA hearing on the safety of drug-eluting stents. He decided to appear before the regulatory panel and tell his story. Rick knows first hand about the importance of information and support for heart patients. Today Rick is doing fine, and the concerns about the safety of the type of stent he was given have been resolved.

Rick’s willingness to speak out about the fear that sensational media coverage of medical stories can generate, and his call for better education and support for patients made a powerful impact on the regulators and physicians who heard him speak.

Here is part of the story he shared with the panel:

"In November of 1997, after experiencing chest pain for several weeks, I went to the hospital and learned that I had distal heart disease and blockage in all vessels. This required that I undergo a 3 vessel CABG (bypass surgery). I was doing fine, I thought, until I experienced angina in March 2006. I went again to the same hospital, and a cardiac cath was performed.

Immediately after the procedure and while I lay on the OR recovery table with the compress on my groin, I was introduced to a cardiologist and a research coordinator. They began to explain to me that the three vessels had closed and that I required a stent. They recommended, because of the condition of my arteries, that I elect to participate in a clinical trial with a new type of stent that released a medicine to prevent clotting.

Did I ask questions? No. Did I fully comprehend? No. I knew only that I wanted to live.".... (read more)

William Fearon, MD
A recent study of 2,400 people in 19 hospital centers during the year after a heart attack concluded that: “Lower social support is associated with worse health status and more depressive symptoms over the first year of acute myocardial infarction recovery, particularly for women ."
-- Circulation, the Journal of the American Heart Association, February 16. 2010

The Power of Community:
What Angioplasty.Org Has Learned From Patients

When 1,300 patients write in about a problem, we tell anyone who will listen!
Patient Forum

Communication is a two-way street. A primary goal at Angioplasty.Org is to bring patient insights to the attention of the medical community. Over the years patients on The Forum have brought us questions their doctors can’t answer, described rare complications, and expressed problems with medications and financial issues.

When Angioplasty.Org repeatedly hears concerns from patients, we try to get the message out to the medical profession, including healthcare providers, device manufacturers and the FDA.... (read more)

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Join the Discussions in the Angioplasty.Org Patient Forum

In The First Person:
Telling the Forum About Recovery after Stenting
"It's great to hear of everyone's victories recovery-wise, both major and minor. I had 3 coronary stents in Nov 2010...and the cardio told me exercise as I wish. So, two 10km running races and a half-marathon completed since the stents went in, and I'm now training for triathlons! I quit smoking and have lost over 10kgs and work out about an hour each day. I tell you all this because I'm so impressed by the medical intervention and how it can turn around our lives. The angina before I was diagnosed was agonizing and I couldn't even walk 100 meters! Best of luck to everyone undergoing angio and stenting!" -- DavidJ, March 21, 2011

Describing the Wrist Approach
“...the [angioplasty stent] procedure was carried out through the radial artery in my right wrist. I felt absolutely nothing during the whole procedure and have had more trauma and pain visiting the dentist. A 3 centimetre by 3.5 millimetre stent was inserted at 1.30pm and I walked out of hospital with my wife at 7.00pm feeling very well with no pain and no wrist bleeding. A brilliant job!" -- Geof fH, Cheshire, UK, February 26, 2011