Cardiology : Progress marches on
Over the course of the last thirty years, the field of practical cardiology has seen constant progress and innovation. Massive steps forward have been taken along the road to reducing deaths from cardiovascular illnesses. This progress has been statistically confirmed with the publication of figures demonstrating that mortality due to cardiovascular illnesses has dropped by 56% since 1980. However, one million individuals in France are still affected by heart failure and every year there are some 100,000 heart attacks across the country. Nonetheless, although there are still too many people suffering from these conditions, noteworthy progress has been made in terms of prevention, treatment and in the sphere of heart surgery. In fact, the heart attack survival rate has gone up from 70% in the 1980s to 95% now. This is an amazing increase which has been driven in part by large-scale campaigns aimed at encouraging people to exercise more, give up smoking and improve their diet, but also by faster emergency service response times (thanks in large part to the development of the emergency medical telephone number 15) and organizational changes in the shape of the creation of cutting-edge accident and emergency units.
Tireless heart surgeon and member of the scientific advisory board of the Danièle Hermann–Cœurs de femmes’ Research Program, Professeur Jean-Noël Fabiani, Head of Cardiovascular surgery at the Hôpital Georges Pompidou, recently commented on the exceptionally rapid progress that has been made in the field of cardiovascular research. He spoke of the effectiveness of new treatments, notably the use of statins, beta blockers and antihypertensive drugs, as well as innovations in surgical practices including the development of the truly revolutionary technique of Stenting, whereby a Stent is used to keep coronary arteries open, thus facilitating coronary artery revascularization after a heart attack. Another major development in heart surgery has been, improvements in prosthetic heart valves, which can now be implanted via the femoral artery, thus avoiding the need to perform open heart surgery. And how could we forget the marvel that is the CARMAT artificial heart, developed by Professeur Alain Carpentier and his team at the Hôpital Georges Pompidou? Although this artificial heart has not yet performed as well as was initially hoped, it is obvious that in time, it will be seen as the most important development in cardiology of the 21st century.
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