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Fri, Nov 1 2:26pm · ALERT: Flu season is here! Get your vaccination today! in Genetic Heart Rhythm Diseases

Flu Shot

The cold weather is here and the flu season is officially underway. Sadly, during the 2017-2018 flu season nearly 200 children died from influenza while thousands more were hospitalized. This, however, can be prevented. The flu shot is the most effective way to prevent influenza and its complications. Currently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that everyone 6 months of age or older should be vaccinated annually against influenza.

A common concern among our patients is whether or not the flu shot is harmful to patients with genetic heart rhythm disorders. Dr. Michael J Ackerman, a genetic cardiologist and the director of Mayo Clinic’s Windland Smith Rice Genetic Heart Rhythm Clinic firmly believes that the benefits of getting immunized against the flu far outweigh the risks. Visit our previous post regarding the flu vaccination and genetic heart rhythm diseases to read more and watch a video Dr. Ackerman created to discuss the benefits of immunizations.

In addition to getting your flu shot, remember to practice good hygiene as another safeguard against the flu season.

  • Wash your hands often and thoroughly with soap and water
  • Use an alcohol-based sanitizer on your hands if soap and water aren’t available
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth whenever possible
  • Avoid crowds when the flu is most prevalent in your area
  • Get plenty of sleep, exercise regularly, drink plenty of fluids, eat a nutritious diet, and manage your stress

Helpful links:

  • Learn more about the flu vaccine and flu season
  • Visit the CDC website for key facts, benefits, and more information about the seasonal flu vaccine
  • Find out where to get your vaccination locally

Wed, Sep 25 8:00am · Artificial intelligence could help diagnose a deadly heart condition in Genetic Heart Rhythm Diseases

AI-Health

This story originally appeared on cnbc.com and was written by Angelica LaVito.

Have you ever felt your heart racing? For most people, this is a normal reaction to things like exercise, fear, stress, anger and even love. Your heart’s electrical system is sped up due to your “fight or flight” instincts. When you cease your activity or calm your emotions, your heart resumes it’s natural rhythm.

For some, though, that’s not always the case. In an estimated 1 in 7,000 people, these triggers can cause dangerously fast and irregular heartbeats, called arrhythmias, which can lead to fainting, seizures and even sudden cardiac death. Often times, this stems from a genetic heart rhythm disorder known as long QT syndrome. Due to is relative rarity, long QT syndrome often goes undetected until symptoms present themselves.

This was the case for Abrielle Watschke. Unbeknownst to her family, Abrielle was born with long QT syndrome.  At the age of 2, while at home with her family, Abrielle experienced cardiac arrest. Thankfully, her father was able to initiate CPR and an ambulance quickly arrived, reviving Abrielle.

AliveCor, a medical device start-up company, and Mayo Clinic are hoping to be able to more easily detect long QT syndrome before tragic stories like Abrielle’s occur. A recent study conducted by the Genetic Heart Rhythm Clinic on one of AliveCor’s artificial intelligence devices found the technology was able to accurately diagnoses long QT syndrome 79 percent of the time.

Read more about this new technology and Abrielle’s story on the CNBC website.

Mayo Clinic is an investor in AliveCor

Mon, Sep 16 8:00am · Return to Play Considerations for Athletes with Genetic Heart Rhythm Diseases in Genetic Heart Rhythm Diseases

Basketball

Being told that you or a member of your family can no longer participate in sports due to a genetic heart rhythm condition can be devastating. Over the past several years, the idea that patient’s with GHDs should be immediately and indefinitely be disqualified from sports is slowly starting to shift.

Dr. Michael Ackerman, the director of the Windland Smith Rice Genetic Heart Rhythm Clinic, strongly believes that the decision to return to sports should be a shared decision between the athlete, their family, coaches and physicians. Many things need to be discussed and considered before an athlete should return to participation, including the five essential return to play considerations detailed in the Competitive Sport Athletes and Genetic Heart Diseases video on the Video Archive tab.

The 50-minute video lecture below details the evolution from “If in Doubt, Kick them Out” to “Shared Decision Making” when it comes to athletes with a variety of Genetic Heart Diseases and their ability to safely return to or continue in the competitive sports.

Check out the Heart Rhythm Conditions group to join discussions and read other people’s opinions with genetic heart rhythm disorders about returning to sports.

Wed, Sep 4 8:04am · Mayo Clinic Q and A: Understanding and treating long QT syndrome in Genetic Heart Rhythm Diseases

a-medical-illustration-of-long-QT-syndrome-original

Have you ever wondered what long QT syndrome is? Unsurprisingly, a lot of people have never even heard of this genetic heart rhythm disease.

In the following Mayo Clinic Q and A, Dr. Michael Ackerman, a genetic cardiologist and director of the Windland Smith Rice Genetic Heart Rhythm Clinic, explains what long QT syndrome is, how its diagnosed and how its treated.

Meet other people talking about long QT syndrome on Mayo Clinic Connect. Join the Heart Rhythm Conditions group or the Heart & Blood Health group to join the conversation, share experiences, ask questions and discover your support network.

Fri, Aug 30 8:00am · Post Visit III - Dr. Ackerman's Story in Genetic Heart Rhythm Diseases

M Ackerman 1

Have you ever wondered how Dr. Michael Ackerman, a genetic cardiologist and director of Mayo Clinic’s Windland Smith Rice Genetic Heart Rhythm Clinic, became interested in genetic heart rhythm disorders? In this video, Dr. Ackerman describes how he became who he is today. From fainting while watching a surgery at age 14, to attending Luther college and having to choose between medicine and the ministry, to attending Mayo Clinic Medical School, and finally to meeting the patient that changed his career trajectory forever, you’ll get to know who Dr. Ackerman is and why he does what he does.

Mon, Aug 19 8:00am · Avoiding ICD Implantation in Primary Electrical Disease in Genetic Heart Rhythm Diseases

ICD

At the Heart Rhythm Society’s 40th Annual Heart Rhythm Scientific Sessions in May 2019, Dr. Michael Ackerman, a genetic cardiologist at Mayo Clinic was interviewed by touchCARDIO and was asked, “How can we avoid implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) implantation in primary electrical disease?”

Dr. Ackerman answers this very important question in a recorded video on touchCARDIO’s website.

In the video Dr. Ackerman discusses that these electrical heart diseases, chiefly long QT syndrome (LQTS) and catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia (CPVT), there is a tremendous overuse of ICD therapy. He specifies three things that he expresses a need in the heart rhythm community to acknowledge and work on to avoid ICD implantation as a primary treatment.

  1. Right diagnosis
  2. Timely diagnosis
  3. Become more confident in non-ICD treatment

To read more about implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs), check out Mayo Clinic’s information on their website. You can also visit the Heart Rhythm Conditions group to join discussions and read other people’s opinions and experiences with genetic heart rhythm disorders and ICD treatments.

Wed, Aug 7 8:00am · Saving Lives With Gus: Automated External Defibrillator (AED) in Genetic Heart Rhythm Diseases

AED

Have you ever wondered exactly how to use an Automated External Defibrillator (AED)? In this video on Mayo Clinic’s YouTube Channel from the video series Saving Lives With Gus from Mayo Clinic’s Multidisciplinary Simulation Center, Dr. Raaj K. Ruparel explains how to use an AED and discusses several other important points of proper AED care.

Join the Heart Rhythm Conditions group or the Heart & Blood Health group to join the conversation, share experiences, ask questions and discover your support network.

Mon, Jul 22 8:00am · Cardiac Channelopathies and ICDs in Genetic Heart Rhythm Diseases

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In this 35 minute lecture, Dr. Michael J. Ackerman, genetic cardiologist and director of the Genetic Heart Rhythm Clinic at Mayo Clinic’s Rochester campus stresses the significant need in the community of heart rhythm specialists to increase the competency of health care providers taking care of patients with sudden death predisposing genetic heart rhythm disorders. Currently implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) are being recommended to and implanted in far, far too many patients.

The message is clear: Most patients with a cardiac channelopathy do not need and should not receive an ICD.

This lecture is designed to explain the reasoning behind this message, to increase the confidence in the protective affect on non-defibrillator treatment strategies and to hopefully bring about change in the heart rhythm specialist community’s view on ICD treatments.

Check out the Heart Rhythm Conditions group to find others who have opted for or against ICDs and hear their reasons behind their decision.