Two news articles just popped up in my daily research for Funky Heart. They are so urgent and important that I feel I need to bring them to you attention immediately, rather than saving them for tomorrow.
First, doctors at a Cardiology meeting in Europe are saying that the Swine Flu (H1N1) could hit patients with heart disease harder than usual, and even lead to a spike in heart disease related deaths.
While these doctors are specifically talking about the heart diseases that affect older people, in general that would include all people with weakened hearts – which naturally include those of us with Congenital Heart Defects (CHDs). They also mention patients with Heart Failure (Congestive Heart Failure, or CHF) – and that includes a good percentage of CHD patients, also.
In many heart failure patients, fluid builds up in the lungs because blood isn’t pumped efficiently enough. Patients can take drugs to get rid of this excess fluid, but if they catch the flu, the drugs don’t work as well.
But before heart patients start taking Tamiflu, their doctors should ensure the antiviral won’t interfere with any other drugs they may be taking. Heart patients often take a cocktail of various drugs to lower their cholesterol and blood pressure or prevent bleeding.
Another article concerns ICU preparedness. It’s published in a Canadian newspaper, but it applies to the US and the rest of the developed world, also. The section that caught my attention was the percentage of people with H1N1 – estimates say it could be as many as 15% – whose breathing shuts down almost completely:
“As an ICU doctor, it’s very, very, very rare I can’t deliver enough oxygen to someone to keep him alive. They die of other things, right? They die because their organs fail.”
“In this case, we can barely oxygenate them.”
If you didn’t have a good reason to get the vaccine and actively take steps to avoid the flu (both seasonal and H1N1 varieties) before, here are two really good ones.
Click the links, and read the articles.