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NEW EPISODE: Medtech POV with Scott Whitaker | American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown on the Evolution of Cardiovascular Care, Important Role of Medical Technology

WASHINGTON – In the latest episode of Medtech POV, Nancy Brown, Chief Executive Officer of the American Heart Association, joins host Scott Whitaker to talk about her journey to leading one of the most influential health care organizations in the world, the 100-year history of the Association, and how medtech innovation has improved health outcomes for millions living with cardiovascular diseases and stroke.

In talking about the 100th anniversary of the American Heart Association, Brown talked about the growing impact of the organization’s work:

“We’re excited to be celebrating our centennial on June 10, 2024. One hundred years ago, the wise founders of the American Heart Association recognized there was a better way forward for people who were suffering from heart disease. I look back over our first century with an incredible sense of progress made through technology, new drug therapies, better awareness of the public about their own health and well-being. As a result, over the past 100 years deaths from cardiovascular disease have been cut in half.”

“We have a presence in over a hundred countries through the Association’s quality improvement initiatives, our scientific journals, Go Red for Women, and other programs. We lead international CPR and first aid training in many countries and we’re a part of an organization called ILCOR, the International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation, where lifesaving guidelines are written and updated based on the latest science on CPR.”

Brown went on to talk about the impact of medtech innovation to reduce heart disease deaths:

“The ability to diagnose [heart disease] so much earlier and then intervene has made an incredible impact. Over my many years at the American Heart Association, I’ve heard story after story from people I’ve met, and from passionate volunteers of the AHA, who say ‘Thank goodness my clinician was able to recognize and understand that I was on this path to having a fatal heart attack or stroke.’

“When you look at the interaction between clinicians and patients and the types of tools that clinicians have for early diagnosis that were not available 10, 20, or 30 years ago, they continue to improve through these new AI-enabled technologies; home monitoring; telehealth; and more. All of these things empower people to become more involved in managing their care.”

Recorded during Women’s Health Month, Brown talked about the history of women in cardiovascular trials:

“It wasn’t until the 1990s that women were even included in clinical trials. Women make up more than one half of the U. S. population, but still today, only about 30 percent of clinical trial participants are women. We must change this if we’re going to truly alter the course of women’s health.”

“Younger women who experience the warning signs of a heart attack or stroke are often dismissed because many people still falsely believe that they aren’t going to suffer a heart attack or a stroke. Even though there is very clear evidence that they do.” 

“The types of heart attacks that women experience are just as fatal, this can be especially true during pregnancy, after childbirth, and during menopause. Those are all times during a woman’s lifecycle when they may be at elevated risk for a cardiac event. Because of this, we need more tools to help with early diagnosis of women who are at high risk for having an event.”

She also gave the following advice to women on taking control of their health:

“Put yourself first on your to do list. I think women often overlook their own health for the benefit of their children, their spouse or a partner, or a significant other, and for the many other responsibilities in life. But it’s important to remember, like the pilot on an airplane says, we must ‘Put our own mask on first, in order to then help other people’.”

“[K]now your health numbers, every woman should know their blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, body mass index, and ensure they eat well, get enough exercise, and don’t smoke.”

To listen to the full conversation with Nancy Brown, download the Medtech POV podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts or wherever podcast streaming is available. Visit AdvaMed’s website for more information on the podcast and past guests.

The Medtech POV podcast is hosted by Scott Whitaker, President and CEO of AdvaMed, the world’s largest medical technology association. It premiered in April 2021 and features interviews with a range of health care experts, medtech leaders, and policy experts. In each episode, guests and host Scott Whitaker cover the intersection of medtech and policy from every perspective, including current issues in business, policy, and current events.

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