February is American Heart Month, and it is an important time to reflect and reaffirm our commitment to reducing the burden of heart disease.
My experience in cardiology is unique. I’m both a researcher and a practicing physician, serving in my role at CSL Behring and as an Associate Professor of Medicine, Cardiovascular Diseases, at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia.
Fortunately, my dual roles let me blend my passion for helping patients with my excitement for supporting new research. It’s a fulfilling career. I am able to bring my patient’s perspective to the CSL Behring Cardiovascular and Metabolism team each day as we embark on groundbreaking clinical research into cardiovascular disease (CVD).
The importance of patient-centric care cannot be understated. Our patients are at the heart of everything we do, including all areas of research, from education, clinical trial design, outcome measures, and even dosing and drug delivery. It’s a core part of what our company stands for, driven by our promise to save and improve lives.
That’s why American Heart Month is such an important time of year for me. To commemorate it, I’d like to reflect on three main areas that motivate me as a researcher and a cardiologist.
Cardiovascular disease presents a significant health threat for women
While CVD continues to be the leading cause of death on both a national and global scale, heart disease affects women differently. In fact, it claims a woman’s life about every 80 seconds, and 64 percent of women who die suddenly of CVD had no previous symptoms.
What should women be on the lookout for? Beyond maintaining a healthy lifestyle, women are somewhat more likely to experience shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain. Other symptoms include dizziness, feeling lightheaded or fainting, pain in the lower chest or upper abdomen and extreme fatigue. Never ignore symptoms and get medical attention at the first sign of distress.
New research may provide hope for heart attack survivors
CVD is still the leading cause of death globally. There is more we can do to help patients. I have the unique opportunity to take the insights I see firsthand with my patients and apply them in research settings to help fuel scientific innovation.
CSL Behring’s landmark AEGIS-II Phase 3 trial investigating CSL112 is the largest trial ever undertaken by our company and is the embodiment of our patient-first philosophy. If successful, CSL112 will be a state of the art, first-in-class therapy that could have transformational effects on the outlook for patients who have survived a heart attack.
Everyone can help make a difference
I’ve had the opportunity to serve on the board of the American Heart Association’s Southeast Pennsylvania chapter for six years, and I’ve been actively involved in the organization’s Go Red for Women campaign – a platform designed to increase heart health awareness and improve the lives of women globally. As we observe American Heart Month, I encourage everyone – whether you are a doctor, a patient, a caregiver or a concerned citizen – to also find a way to get involved. Here are a few places to start:
- Learn more about the Go Red for Women campaign and help spread the word on social media.
- Attend a local Go Red event and advocate for research and health equity.
- Visit the American Heart Association website to educate yourself on the research and the facts about heart disease.
- Find out more about CSL Behring’s efforts in cardiovascular and metabolism.
You can also empower coworkers within your organization to learn more about heart health. Our company has created a platform called “State of the Heart” to help continually raise the awareness of the current state of unmet needs in cardiovascular care and to symbolize the company’s commitment to cardiovascular disease.
Most importantly, use your voice to lift other voices. By marrying science with heart and compassion, we can make a difference in the lives of patients across the globe.