Celebrities, both International and Local, Share their Personal Experiences with CardioVascular Disease.

Contact:Robert Cavanaugh, Public Relations Manager

Celebrities, both International and Local, Share their Personal Experiences with CardioVascular Disease.

This past Friday, February 4, 2011, Barbara Walters hosted an ABC 20/20 special - A Matter of Life and Death - where she talked about her own experience undergoing open heart surgery and interviewed celebrities, including former President Bill Clinton, Regis Philbin, David Letterman, Robin Williams, and Charlie Rose, about their personal heart surgery stories.

While Barbara Walter's special featured interviews with celebrities that all happen to be white males, it's important to recognize how two other demographic groups are impacted. Heart disease is also the single leading cause of death for American women. In addition, African American adults are more likely to be diagnosed with coronary heart disease, and are 30% more likely to die from heart disease, as compared to non-Hispanic white men.

Meridian CardioVascular Network is treating more patients with heart disease than just about any hospital or system in New Jersey, and they are working just as hard to improve the health of the community to prevent people from becoming a statistic. Using their own local celebrities and an innovative series of events and information, focused on prevention, Meridian is making a difference.

Local Celebrities
With more awareness of heart disease from actual patients, community members will become increasingly aware of their own risks. In Monmouth and Ocean counties, local celebrities tell their stories in a compelling way that make people stop and think. In doing so, they will help prevent heart disease in key demographic groups and continue to make people aware of the range of services available in their community.

Pastor James Brown
Asbury Park, NJ
Pastor Brown was feeling good, until one night he woke up and had trouble breathing. Little did he know, without much warning, his heart was failing.

Pastor Brown was rushed to the emergency department where the experts at Jersey Shore University Medical Center quickly discovered that he had congestive heart failure, a heart valve that wasn't working properly, and a life-threatening cardiac aneurysm. Pastor Brown underwent quadruple bypass surgery, a heart valve replacement and an inspiring round of cardiac rehab. Three months later, he was back in the pulpit with renewed energy and a new message for his congregation.

Prior to the episode, he had never been to a hospital in his life. Just in his forties, he had no idea of the underlying heart condition that could have killed him that night.

View Pastor Brown's Video
View Brook DeJene, M.D. talking about aortic valve disease

Ruth Hyman
Long Branch, NJ
At the age of 90, Ruth has made a name for herself on the Jersey Shore and with many charitable organizations as a well known philanthropist. When it came time for heart surgery, she turned to a name she could trust.

On a trip to Atlantic City, Ruth began to feel ill. She soon discovered that she needed to have her heart valve replaced. Ruth was referred to Dr. Johnson, who immediately made her feel comfortable and at ease. Dr. Johnson performed the surgery, correcting Ruth's blood flow, and restoring her youthful energy. Ruth said her stay at Jersey Shore University Medical Center was like a five star hotel. "It could not have been improved upon."

View Ruth's Video
Watch Ruth sing at the Cardiac Surgery reunion held earlier in the year
View David Johnson, M.D. talking about minimally invasive approaches to valve surgery

Meridian CardioVascular Network
Meridian CardioVascular Network provides the most comprehensive heart and vascular services in the region. It's an overarching umbrella coordinating all aspects of heart and vascular care from research and education to diagnosis and treatment to rehabilitation and post-hospital care.

Jersey Shore University Medical Center
Jersey Shore University Medical Center's team of four cardiac surgeons has worked together for twelve years. Each one has performed more than 2,000 cardiac surgeries at the hospital. In 2010, Jersey Shore University Medical Center did 846 Cardiac Surgeries - with 41% being valves (345 cases) and 59% being CABG (501 cases). In the latest report card published by the state, Jersey Shore had the lowest rate of death among all high volume centers in the state.

365 Days of Heart
365 Days of Heart Health is a campaign presented by Meridian CardioVascular Network to promote heart-healthy living all year long. With patient stories, special events, healthy tips and recipes, and educational programs, 365 Days of Heart Health offers the community access to important prevention, wellness, and risk assessment information from Meridian Health experts. Visit www.365daysofheart.com for more information.

Women's Heart Connection
Meridian Women's Heart Connection's educational programs, screenings, and events empower members with information on preventing heart disease. Members have access to valuable programs conducted by physicians, nurses, and health care professionals from Meridian CardioVascular Network. Through Meridian Women's Heart Connection, members receive up to date information on free heart and wellness screenings being offered at community centers, churches, and hospitals throughout our area. Join Meridian Women's Heart Connection today.