What's the buzz

Improving heart patients’ condition

Researchers at the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre have said that healthcare practitioners can increase the number of patients with heart disease referred to a cardiac rehabilitation program by 40 per cent, helping them to reduce their risk of dying and improve their quality of life.

Previous studies, including one by Taylor in 2004, indicate that participating in cardiac rehab after a cardiac illness, such as a heart attack, can reduce the risk of death by approximately 25 per cent. Only 20 to 30 per cent of patients are referred to a cardiac rehabilitation program after hospital discharge, a phenomenon observed in many countries.

Cardiac rehabilitation offers a comprehensive approach to health by combining medical treatments and lifestyle modification. Patients are able to benefit from a variety of services, including: education sessions, nutritional assessment with a dietician, risk factor treatment  by physicians and nurse practitioners.

Obesity can lead to permanent knee damage
 
New studies have been presented at the 2011 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) to look at the effect that obesity has on knee arthritis and a patient’s ability to recover from knee surgery.

One new study found that while weight loss via bariatric surgery may improve knee pain in obese patients with knee osteoarthritis, there may be permanent damage to the knee from being morbidly obese.

Also, two new studies released on Wednesday examine whether obesity contributes to greater complications after hip and knee replacement surgery.

The first study considers patients in the “super obese” category who have a body mass index (BMI) greater than 45.

Ran Schwarzkopf, co-investigator and chief resident, New York University Hospital for Joint Diseases, and his research team found that the number of overall complications were significantly higher for the “super-obese” compared to non-obese.

Hope for patients with kidney problems

In a new study, scientists found that transplanting autologous renal progenitor cells, (kidney stem cells derived from self-donors), into rat models with kidney damage from pyelonephritis - a type of urinary infection that has reached the kidney - improved kidney structure and function.

The researchers concluded that renal fibrosis is a common and ultimate pathway leading to end-stage renal disease.

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