“It is time to turn off the faucet instead of just mopping the floor.” Dr. Kim Williams, Sr.

Our 2017 NLA ePoster will be available for viewing starting May 18, 2017.

National debt has risen to $18 trillion. For every $6 spent in the US, $1 of that is on health care. 

The total economic burden of heart attacks and strokes is estimated at $500 billion annually. It fuels a large cardiovascular health care industry that depends on Americans having heart attacks and strokes and the expensive care and procedures associated with them.

Most heart attacks and strokes are largely preventable and have been for a decade and a half. The Million Hearts Initiative that began in 2012 to prevent 1,000,000 heart attacks and strokes in 5 years ends on December 31, 2016. It did not reach its goal.

Now, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have taken a bold step forward with The Million Hearts Cardiovascular Risk Reduction Model in which we are proudly participating. This model will disrupt the current traditional model of rewarding physicians and hospitals in direct proportion to more number of heart attacks, strokes, procedures and hospitalizations instead of good patient outcomes. Having accumulated experience from practicing traditional cardiology for 20 years and then preventive cardiology since 2001 and added clinical lipidology in 2005, I can say that most heart attacks and strokes before the age of 80 is due to failure mostly due to failure of medical care - either failure to receive or failure to adhere to optimal medical care. Since more and more Americans have to or are choosing to wait until 70 to retire, this is good news.

It is time to turn off the faucet instead of just mopping the floor.

CDC Chief Dr. Tom Friedan: “How can the healthcare system save the most lives? We can save the most lives by preventing heart disease and stroke.

Time to Turn Off the Faucet

Click here for the timeline - why despite opposition and reluctance to stop atherosclerosis progression, the shift to lipid-centered, plaque-directed medical therapy is inevitable because it is far more effective and less expensive.

Most of the 525,000 Americans who will suffer their first heart attack this year are not aware they have a silent heart disease that is medically treatable and their heart attack could have been prevented. 

2015 AHA MI Statistics-2
2009 AHA Statistics

The slide highlights a serious national health problem that is begging to be solved. There is a real urgency to find a solution for several reasons: it touches the lives of nearly every American family; heart attacks are largely preventable and the cost to the nation is in the hundreds of billions every year. 

Previous attempts to reduce heart attacks failed:  1) Emergency stenting during a major heart attack is not a solution since shorter door-to-time time failed to show benefit - it did not reduce 30 day mortality. 2) Even intensive lifestyle intervention (Look AHEAD Trial) did not prevent heart attack. 3) The landmark COURAGE Trial showed that in stable patients with advanced multi-vessel CHD, the addition of stent therapy to optimal medical therapy did not prevent heart attack or cardiac death. Because these interventions are as effective as originally thought,  elevates the role of aggressive medical prevention to a more prominent position - there is a lot of science behind it, it is highly effective, alters the progressive course of atherosclerosis, saves lives and reduces healthcare cost. 

Aggressive medical prevention means identifying those who are likely to suffer from a heart attack, stroke, sudden death, need stenting or heart bypass within the next 5 to 10 years and then using optimal medical treatment to stop disease progression. This is the future of cardiovascular disease management.

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