Richard Neuman knew something was wrong in 1997 when he found he was too tired for golf, a game he had played avidly for 50 years. He visited his doctor and received what once would have been a death sentence—a diagnosis of heart failure. Heart failure means the heart is unable to pump blood efficiently. Neuman worked in partnership with his cardiologist on a treatment plan that includes medication and lifestyle changes that allowed him to return to the links and an active life.

Neuman isn’t living with heart failure alone; an estimated five million people in the U.S. suffer from this condition. He is also not alone in successfully managing a heart condition that would have killed him a short time ago. In the last decade, there has been a 30 percent reduction in deaths in the United States due to cardiovascular disease, including heart failure, heart attacks, clogged arteries, atrial fibrillation and other conditions.

The future of medicine

Innovations in the field of cardiology have changed the prognosis for many patients. New treatments are coming online every day and more are on the horizon. In addition, heart teams in emergency rooms are improving how they respond to heart attacks, and hospitals and cardiology practices participate in registries that help to ensure they offer their patients care based on the best scientific data available. These and other advances in cardiology have combined to create this dramatic decrease in deaths from heart disease.

"Innovations in the field of cardiology have changed the prognosis for many patients. New treatments are coming online every day and more are on the horizon."

This trend is sure to continue, even as the population ages, with exciting new therapies and procedures that seem like science fiction. A new class of drugs called cholesterol ester, which transfer protein inhibitors, shows great promise in treating atherosclerosis, the thickening of arteries. Impressive advances in imaging, human genomics, and cell therapy will help to both diagnose and treat cardiovascular disease like never before. A new heart valve is inserted into the heart through an artery, offering an option to patients who are not healthy enough for open-heart surgery.

Working together

Technology and the best-trained doctors in the world cannot do it all. Medicine is at its best when the patient is a partner with the physician in maintaining health and making treatments work. Richard Neuman, now 83 years old, exercises and takes his medicine. He also gave up his almost daily fast food cheeseburgers for healthier leaner food which his wife, Waltraut, makes at home. He is always aware of how his body is feeling and his positive attitude is as important to his health as his lifestyle changes. Working in partnership with his cardiologist and Waltraut, Neuman is enjoying life, travel, and his golf game.