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Archive for March, 2009

Making House Calls: The Doctor Is In

Doctor's Bag

In a recent article featured in The Washington post, reporters examined a “small but growing tribe of doctors, nurses, physician assistants and nurse practitioners … reviving the once-common practice” of performing house calls.

According to a recent article in the journal Clinics in Geriatric Medicine, advancements in technology, lack of financial incentives and lack of coverage by private insurers caused house calls to decline over the years. However, house calls have “been making somewhat of a comeback” after Medicare in 1998 modified its billing procedures to allow payment for home visits to the elderly and chronically ill and increased payments by 50%, the Post reports. The number of physicians performing house calls increased from 1.5 million in 2000 to nearly 2.2 million in 2007, but according to Constance Row, executive director of the American Academy of Home Care Physicians, house calls still account for fewer than 1% of all outpatient visits.

Advocates contend that house calls could help reduce costs and improve quality of care, particularly for home-bound seniors who comprise 5% of the Medicare population but account for more than 43% of the program’s budget. An analysis by George Taler, a physician at Washington, D.C.-based Washington Hospital Center, who performs house calls, found that house calls resulted in a 60% savings to the health care system in general, but that the reduction in emergency department visits and hospital admissions led to less money for the hospital and its programs, as also reported in the Post.

Let us know: Do you make house calls?

Electrode Placements Affect Heart Monitoring

Monitoring of heart failure patients is more effective if electrodes are placed on the left side rather than the more commonly used right side, according to a study published in the March 24 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Dirar S. Khoury, Ph.D., from Methodist Hospital Research Institute in Houston and colleagues implanted cardiac resynchronization therapy systems using standard leads in various configurations in 15 normal dogs, where five were implanted with an additional left atrial pressure lead sensor. They then measured steady-state impedance signals along six different vectors during induction of congestive heart failure over several weeks.The researchers found that during induction of heart failure, impedance fell gradually at different rates for different vectors.

“Impedance vectors employing a left ventricle lead are highly responsive to physiologic changes during congestive heart failure,” Khoury and colleagues conclude. “Measuring multiple impedance signals could be useful for optimizing ambulatory monitoring in heart failure patients.”

Are you using proper Heart Monitoring techniques in your hospital or practice?

Watching Your Anger

When it comes to medical science, we seem to concern ourselves with physical or bodily health above all else. However, we tend to forget (or sometimes fail to see) that one’s emotional health can often be a factor in one’s physical well-being.

Angry Woman

Anger, in particular, is one emotion that we need to monitor closely. According to, a study from Yale University cardiologist Rachel Lampert has shown that anger can trigger dangerous heart rhythms in people who are already vulnerable. Lampert observed irregular heartbeats similar to those that occur during exercise, but they resulted from the angry thoughts of some of her patients, suggesting that anger may directly affect heart cells.

Instrumental to this study were EKG machines, and in the wake of this revelation, is proud to offer a variety of them. As the lifeblood of the human body, the heart needs a lot of attention, and our EKGs offer reliable and accurate cardiac readings to ensure that the appropriate actions can be taken if anything is amiss.

If you’re wrestling with this emotion, an EKG might reveal any potential health risks. So, don’t let your anger control you; turn the tables and control it with a quick checkup.

Matters of the Heart


Aortic valve surgery, or the process of replacing one of the four valves that regulates the passage of blood into and out of the heart, is not an uncommon procedure. 75,000 to 99,000 are performed in a year, and there is not much one can do to prevent the bodily failure that makes it necessary. Aortic valves harden and wear out, often due to old age, and not even physical fitness can reduce the risk. Thanks to this procedure, however, we needn’t have any fear.

When it comes to any matter of the heart, it is important to be vigilant, and at, we are committed to keeping your heart in check. With our great selection of cardiology supplies, there is no crisis for which a doctor can be unprepared. Our defibrillators are small, lightweight, and portable, readying you for any cardiological curve ball. If you’re looking to monitor the old ticker to preempt any complications, we also have stress tests and EKG machines, both of which can reveal any abnormalities before they get truly problematic.

With these supplies, your heart will have a fighting chance, so do yourself a favor: don’t leave without them!

News: Some US Doctors are Practicing Preventative Healthcare

Healthy Heart

According to a recent story in the Voice of America News, the rising cost of healthcare has prompted a move towards preventative medicine by most physicians and health care professionals in the United States.

As reported in the story, Brookings Instituion reported that healthcare in the US will account for 20 percent of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product within a decade. The National Coalition on Health Care, a group pushing to lower costs for patients, also states that American medical expenses rose nearly seven percent in 2008. With numbers like these, it may come as no surprise that various workplaces are trimming and cutting healthcare coverage for employees. The result: to trim costs and encourage fewer health problems corporations and practitioners are working together to establish healthier lifestyles through preventative medicine approaches.

At the College Park Family Practice, employees of a major U.S. hotel corporation can receive a range of medical services for free, including help to quit smoking.

For Harris Rosen, President of Rosen Hotels and Resorts, preventing his staff from becoming sick improves productivity and reduces the future cost of employee medical benefits. Rosen said, “We’ve probably saved well over $ 100 million. On an annual basis, I expect we save between 10 and 15 million dollars.”

Several other companies, including Walt Disney World, Darden Restaurants, and Lockheed Martin, have opened clinics for their employees. But although corporations and doctors stress the need for preventive care, the number of U.S. physicians practicing in the field has dropped, according to the American College of Preventive Medicine.

If your company is interested in setting up clinic services for employees in order to reduce the costs of expensive medical treatment, remember that has the tools and supplies you need to get started.

Recognizing the Importance of Defibrillators


The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) has announced a plan to install defibrillators in 30 of its stations by the end of the spring, the Toronto Star reports. With over 1,400 commuter illnesses in the past year (900 of which ended in hospital visits), the decision seems to be a wise one. Bill Thomas, head of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario, concurs. “For every minute you can initiate CPR or use the public defibrillator you can save a life,” he says.

Thomas is right. Defibrillators can save lives, and at, we offer them in droves. Our Burdick Medic defibrillators are compact, easy to use, and portable, so keep one on hand and you’ll be ready for any crisis. Or, check out the Medtronic Physio Control, which offers hands-free defibrillation and printing of critical event summaries. Of course, you can also try the Powerheart AED G3, which simplifies the process by analyzing the heart and delivering an automatic defibrillation shock if a life-threatening rhythm is detected. is committed to saving lives, and these defibrillators are only a small sample of what we have to offer. So, if you’re in the market for health care products, stick around and have a look.

Failing Brakes: How the Brain Does (or Does Not) Respond to Stress

At this point in the 21st century, medical science has taught us much about the human brain. However, doctors and scientists everywhere continue to unearth new knowledge with each passing day. Unsurprisingly, according to, a recent study has identified a new mechanism that may hinder the brain’s natural ability to respond to stress.

Normally, neurons in the hypothalamus, the stress center of the brain, receive signals that tell them to switch on or off, and they can only switch off if adequate levels of the protein KCC2 are maintained. However, according to new research, stress reduces the activity of KCC2, thereby removing the “brakes.” This inability of the brain to slow down might explain some of the negative consequences of stress.

According to Dr. Jaideep Bains, the university of Calgary scientist who presented this research, more work is still needed in this area before any new progress is made in the medical treatment of stress. However, these initial findings have made the medical community aware of emerging avenues for doing so. As with any study, we can only hope as our understanding is deepened, action will follow.