SHAPE: "Give a Heart Attack Prevention Test for Father's Day"

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The Society for Heart Attack Prevention and Eradication (SHAPE) is urging American families to use Father's Day as an opportunity to help their Dad avoid a heart attack. SHAPE suggests giving a heart scan or a scan of the carotid artery as a gift. The organization also is calling on hospitals, clinics and physicians to offer Father's Day specials with discounted rates.

One of the most meaningful Father's Day gifts would be a heart attack preventive screening test

Over 400,000 American men will experience their first heart attack this year. The SHAPE (Screening for Heart Attack Prevention and Education) Task Force organized urges families to give dads a heart attack prevention test for Father's Day. The SHAPE Task Force also calls for hospitals, clinics and physicians to offer Father's Day specials with discounted rates.

"One of the most meaningful Father's Day gifts would be a heart attack preventive screening test," said Dr. Morteza Naghavi, founder of SHAPE and Chairman of the SHAPE Task Force. "This is an excellent way to show Dad that you love him and want him to enjoy a long and healthy life."

"Image based screening that supplements traditional risk factor tests could possibly have saved my late husband's life," said JoAnne Zawitoski, a maritime attorney and board member of SHAPE who has been hosting the Golf Fore Heart: Guy Fernandez Memorial Charity event. "Guy suffered a massive heart attack and died instantly, just days after a routine visit with his primary care physician. He was only 49. On behalf of our two sons, please protect your loved ones by being proactive with your heart health."

Modeled after successful cancer screening efforts, the SHAPE Guideline calls for men 45-75 years and women 55-75 years to undergo screening to assess coronary plaque or carotid wall thickness. It recommends the coronary calcium scan (Heart Scan) or carotid scan (Carotid IMT) - two tests that have proven to be strong predictors of those who are vulnerable to a heart attack or stroke. Preventive exams give healthcare professionals the opportunity to take appropriate action before fatal symptoms appear.

"The key is identifying asymptomatic patients at risk before a critical event occurs. With current medical therapies, we can reduce the chances of having a heart attack or sudden death by approximately 75%," according to Dr. Daniel Berman, Director of Cardiac Imaging at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, CA. "The imaging tests are far more accurate than blood tests in identifying the patients at risk and in need of medical therapy," according to Berman.

"Apparently healthy individuals present a special problem as they are often asymptomatic yet still have a high risk of heart attack. When symptoms of heart attack such as chest pain strike, in many cases it's already too late," said Dr. Harvey Hecht, Director, of Cardiovascular Computed TomographyLenox Hill Hospital, New York, NY and member of the Editorial Committee of the SHAPE Task Force.

Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the U.S. According to the Center for Disease Control there will be approximately 700,000 first heart attacks in 2010. Among them some 159,600 men will lose their lives, many within an hour of the event. SHAPE urges family members to try and save their father being one of those victims.

About SHAPE:
SHAPE's mission is to eradicate heart attack by promoting effective tools for prevention while advancing the scientific quest for a cure. Additional information is available on the organization's Web site, or call 1-877-SHAPE11

MEDIA CONTACT: Monique Villasenor, Cell: 832-889-8690.


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