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Newsletters February 2010 - Jefferson Cardiology Happenings

What's in this Newsletter:

Heart Month

February is associated with St. Valentine’s Day and has been labeled Heart Month. How can we better celebrate Heart Month than by helping those in our midst stop smoking? Equally important, how can we aid our patients with adult offspring to aid their children to stop smoking thereby preventing grandchildren from starting to smoke?

It has been estimated that tobacco addiction causes 438,000 deaths annually in the United States. Over 8.6 million Americans are living with smoking- related illness. Also of the 44.5 million current smokers, 70% express the desire to quit. Without help only 5% are able to stop smoking.

Multiple programs are in place to help persons stop smoking in addition to medications. Persons in Pennsylvania can call 1-877-724-1090 to contact a quit line to get emotional support to help stop smoking. Similarly there is a national number 1-800-QUIT NOW. Multiple organizations including the American Heart Association, American Lung As-sociation, American Cancer Society and multiple other organizations promote cigarette cessation. Multiple local programs are available. As 44% of ciga-rettes sold in the U.S are consumed by persons with substance abuse or mental health disorders, there are mental initiatives directed to stop smoking among their patients.

Specifically, a combination of counseling and medications may provide the best opportunity to stop smoking. As previously stated, individuals who try to stop smoking without outside help have a low chance of succeeding. Counseling and behavioral therapy may help up to 17% to stop smoking. Counseling may provide problem solving ability and the skills to stop smoking as well as support. Calling a free quit line such as 1-800-QUIT NOW provides services by trained counselors to work with individuals to stop smoking. Some insurance programs have their own counseling services.

What medications can help? Zyban may provide quit rates up to 24% and acts on the brain to reduce craving for cigarettes. Zyban can be used in combination with nicotine replacement products. Zyban should not be given to persons with a history of seizures.

There are several varieties of nicotine replacement products that reduce withdrawal symptoms. Nicorette gum is available over the counter and can attain travel to the brain within min-utes of starting to chew. Chewing the gum over 14 weeks increases chances of quitting cigarettes. Nicotine inhalers may simulate smoking and may produce a 25% quit rate. These inhalers are available by prescription. Nicotine loz-enges are available over the counter and may result in a 24% quit rate. Nicotine patches provide similar quit rates and provide decreasing nicotine dose over a course of weeks.

Chantix may provide a 33% quit rate. This is a non-nicotine product that is thought to act on the brain. There have been reports of depression and suicidal thoughts in a few persons. Change of mood or behavior is reason to stop this medication. Chantix is not to be used with nicotine replacement.

Combining agents may improve quit rates. Combining the nicotine patch for over 3 months with nicotine gum, nasal spray or the inhaler may increase quit rates to 36%. The patch can also be used with Zyban. Combining counseling with nicotine patches may result in quit rates up to 32%. Prolonged counseling combined with 3 months of patches may also increase chances of stopping smok-ing.

From this information, it is clear that help is available for smokers but may offer limited success rate. Some smokers may require multiple courses of therapy. Primarily smokers must have a strong desire to modify their behavior.

Staff News

We would like to wish a very Happy Birthday to our employees celebrating this month, Mary Banaszak and Joanne Bondi who are both again celebrating their 21st birthday! ☺

Happy Valentine’s Day to you and your loved ones from all of us at Jef-ferson Cardiology.

Heart Shaped Strawberry Pavlova


4 egg whites 1 teaspoon lemon juice
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar ½ to 1 teaspoon almond extract
1-1/4 cups plus 2 tbsps sugar, divided 2 cups whipping cream
2 teaspoons cornstarch 1 quart fresh strawberries, sliced


1. Place egg whites in a large mixing bowl; let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Beat egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar; beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add 1-1/4 cups sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating on high until stiff peaks form. Sprinkle cornstarch over egg mixture; fold in. Fold in lemon juice and extract.

2. Coat a 14 inch pizza pan with nonstick cooking spray. Spoon meringue onto pan forming a 12 inch heart; build up edges slightly. Bake at 250 degrees for 45-55 minutes or until crisp. Cool on pan on a wire rack.
3. In a mixing bowl, beat cream until soft peaks form. Gradually add the remaining sugar, beating until stiff peaks form. Spoon over meringue; arrange strawberries over top. Serve immediately.

Serves 12

A publication of Jefferson Cardiology Association
Alan D. Bramowitz, M.D. | Michael S. Nathanson, M.D. | Gennady Geskin, M.D.

Jefferson Hospital Medical Building
Suite 403, Coal Valley Road
P.O. Box 18285

Belle Vernon Office
1533 Broad Ave
Belle Vernon, Pa 15012