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Survivors of Heart Events: What Does it Take to Get Back to Living?...

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September 22, 2009

PARSIPPANY, NJ and INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (September 22, 2009) – A new national survey found that nearly nine out of 10 heart patients say being diagnosed with heart disease was a wake-up call to live healthier, and 88 percent view having a second chance at life as an opportunity to treat their body with more respect.1 However, almost 30 percent of patients who have experienced a heart event due to a condition known as acute coronary syndrome discontinued at least one of their prescribed heart medications three months after hospital discharge.2

Now, a new public education campaign called Hearts in Harmony™, sponsored by Mended Hearts, Daiichi Sankyo, Inc. and Eli Lilly and Company, provides survivors with information about the physical and, often overlooked, emotional aspects of recovering from a heart event. This approach gives patients tools to help make the most of their second chance. The Hearts in Harmony program provides patients and their loved ones with information about the importance of fitness, nutrition and adhering to therapies as prescribed by their physician. Unique to this program is information about the benefits of music therapy and maintaining emotional health during the recovery process.
"It is essential that heart patients follow their doctor's recommendations for staying on their heart medications, physical activity and eating right, which are vital steps to regaining their health, but are not the only ones. The information patients will find online encourages a holistic approach to getting well, which is important because a heart event takes its toll on the mind and soul, not just the body," said Bob Arnot, M.D., lead medical correspondent for a new Google Health series and author of the book "Seven Steps to Stop a Heart Attack."

The Hearts in Harmony Web site – – offers a holistic approach to patients and caregivers by providing material about recovery that is organized into "Mind," "Body" and "Soul" sections. There is also advice from best-selling author Dr. Arnot, and interactive tools enabling visitors to send motivational e-cards to friends and family or test their heart health knowledge by participating in a quiz.

"For most people, experiencing a heart event like a heart attack or getting a stent is frightening, but surviving it may cause one to reevaluate their life and make changes for the better," said Donnette Smith, national volunteer officer of Mended Hearts. "Hearts in Harmony is a unique program that encourages patients to work with their doctors and loved ones to make healthy lifestyle changes and pay attention to their mind and soul by recognizing that music therapy and emotional well being can be helpful components of the recovery process.

While there are a variety of cardiac treatment programs, many overlook the importance of music therapy and emotional well being. Hearts in Harmony recognizes the critical role they play in successful recovery and provides patients with the information they need to explore further with their doctor.

"Many heart patients are surprised to learn about the healing qualities of music and music therapy," said Dr. Joanne Loewy, director of the Armstrong Music Therapy Program at Beth Israel Medical Center and Hearts in Harmony expert panel member. "Through this program, patients will learn how music therapy can help to reduce stress and may also help to improve recovery during rehabilitation."

In order to provide the most important, accurate and up-to-date information to survivors, each section of the Web site was reviewed by a leading expert in his or her field. Each section addresses how music therapy, psychology, fitness, nutrition and following healthcare provider recommendations all contribute to adopting a heart healthy lifestyle. Patients should speak with their doctors before making any lifestyle changes or adopting alternative therapies.

Key Survey Findings1
A survey conducted by GfK Roper in support of the Hearts in Harmony program polled more than 800 heart patients 40 years of age or older. It found that the emotional toll that a heart event can have on patients is often underappreciated. Having better and more information around managing heart health can make life after a heart event easier and perhaps more fulfilling. Importantly, the survey found that:

  • 93% of patients who feel they had been given a second chance in life viewed it as an opportunity to do things better.
  • Only 17% strongly agreed that they were worried about having a heart attack in the future, despite the fact that suffering one attack increases the likelihood of experiencing another.
  • 50% strongly agreed that sticking with lifestyle changes is the most important thing they can do to improve their health; more than half of patients strongly agreed that if they take their medication, their heart health will improve; nearly seven out of 10 strongly agreed that if they take care of their health, they may be able to live a longer life.
  • Information may play a critical role in helping patients make the most of their second chance: The vast majority of patients felt that information about managing heart health – such as learning about how to reduce stress or getting ideas for healthy eating and fitness plans – would be helpful.
  • 95% of patients in the survey believed they had been given a second chance to follow their doctor's orders.
  • However, although 72% of respondents found it easy to follow the doctor's orders for taking their medication, only 43% found the exercise and nutrition recommendations as simple to follow.

The Hearts in Harmony survey showed that those who were consistent with their doctor's recommendations report being happier, healthier and more optimistic than those who falter and fail to follow through. To take the first step toward getting back to life, visit

About the Survey
The study was conducted by GfK Roper Public Affairs & Media, a part of GfK Custom Research North America, among a nationally representative sample of 817 adults aged 40 and older who suffered from heart attack or other serious heart conditions, such as angina. The survey was completed using a random-digit dialing (RDD) telephone methodology and was fielded from July 10 through August 4, 2008. The sampling error, at the 95% confidence level, for results based on the total is +/- 3.4 percentage points. The sampling error is higher for analysis on subgroups.

About Mended Hearts
Mended Hearts is a community-based, nationwide heart patient support network founded in 1951. More than 17,000 members operate through 300 chapters and satellite organizations across the U.S., with two chapters in Canada. Recognized for its role in facilitating a positive patient-care experience, Mended Hearts partners with 460 hospitals and rehabilitation clinics and offers services to heart patients through visiting programs, support group meetings and educational forums. The Mended Hearts mission is "dedicated to inspiring hope in heart disease patients and their families."

About Daiichi Sankyo
A global pharmaceutical innovator, Daiichi Sankyo Co., Ltd., was established in 2005 through the merger of two leading Japanese pharmaceutical companies. This integration created a more robust organization that allows for continuous development of novel drugs that enrich the quality of life for patients around the world. Areas of primary focus for Daiichi Sankyo research and development are thrombotic disorders, malignant neoplasm, diabetes mellitus, and autoimmune disorders. Equally important to the company are hypertension, hyperlipidemia or atherosclerosis and bacterial infections. For more information, visit

Daiichi Sankyo, Inc., headquartered in Parsippany, New Jersey, is the U.S. subsidiary of Daiichi Sankyo Co., Ltd. For more information on Daiichi Sankyo, Inc., please visit

About Eli Lilly and Company
Lilly, a leading innovation-driven corporation, is developing a growing portfolio of pharmaceutical products by applying the latest research from its own worldwide laboratories and from collaborations with eminent scientific organizations. Headquartered in Indianapolis, Ind., Lilly provides answers - through medicines and information - for some of the world's most urgent medical needs.


©2009 Daiichi Sankyo, Inc. and Lilly USA, LLC Hearts in Harmony™ is a trademark of Eli Lilly and Company. Mended Hearts logo is a registered trademark of Mended Hearts. PG54829


1 Data on file: #EFF20081027a: DSI/Lilly.
2 Melloni, C et al. "Predictors of Early Discontinuation of Evidence-Based Medicine After Acute Coronary Syndrome," The American Journal Of Cardiology. 2009;104: 175-181.


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