Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Finally, A Crack in the Wall!

For about a decade now the American Heart Association in conjunction with interventional cardiologists belonging to the American College of Cardiology have successfully waged a war against heart scan screening as a tool for identifying asymptomatic or "hidden" heart disease. Given the enormous profits generated by stents and by-pass surgery I think everyone can understand why they fear any move towards prevention over invasive procedures.

I mentioned back on March 5th that, eventually, this will change and suggested it will take a major medical malpractice suit to shake the foundations of traditional medicine. Now it appears the Texas State Legislature may deliver the first seldgehammer blow to the wall. Citing the new SHAPE guidelines (Track Your Plaque members can read about it in THIS ARTICLE) issued by the Association for the Eradication of Heart Attacks (AEHA) and his own personal experience with heart disease and heart scanning, Texas Representative René Oliveira (D-Brownsville) formally filed his Texas Heart Attack Prevention Bill his first full day back in office after by-pass surgery, a procedure he underwent after a CT scan indicated severe coronary blockages. The bill would mandate insurance coverage for heart scanning to a maximum amount of $200. See the full story (along with goofy rebuttals - Where the hell does Nissen get off calling ANYONE a shameless self-promoter) at HeartWire.

One the major impediments to obtaining a heart scan is cost especially for lower income individuals. Representative Oliveira correctly notes that the added insurance cost of the scans is dwarfed by the cost savings generated by reducing heart attacks through early detection and treatment of asymptomatic heart disease. YA THINK?! This situation is the same one faced by early proponents of mammography to detect breast cancer in its most treatable stages. They too were held back by the medical establishment and short-sighted insurers only to be proven right years - and many painful deaths - later.

If nothing else, this "shot across the bow" by the Texas Legislature may open some eyes and begin the inevitable process toward enlightment and a big "I TOLD YOU SO" by none other than li'l ole HeartHawk.

And the walls came tumblin' down!



madcook said...

Gee HeartHawk, this is the first I've heard of this bill, and I live in the Houston, TX area... often called "Heart City" because of the many medical institutions and the number of procedures done here.

You suppose those reporters at the Houston Chronicle are asleep, or maybe those docs and hospitals down at the Texas Medical Center institutions don't really cherish the idea of PREVENTION? There are an awful lot of heart procedures done everyday in this city, but just try to get a heart scan done... hah!

Time to go email my legislators! Thanks for the heads up!

Regards, madcook

HeartHawk said...


I was thinking of you and "chicken fried bacon" the whole time I was writing this blog!


Neil said...

New restaurant pick...The Heart Attack Grill in Tempe. French fries prepared in pure lard, quadruple bypass burgers, cigarettes.

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