Boston Scientific to Help Raise Awareness of Heart Disease Risk Factors at College Basketball Showcase Event 'Close the Gap' Campaign to Visit American Airlines Arena in Dallas for Inaugural Event

NATICK, Mass., Dec. 6, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Boston Scientific (NYSE: BSX) today announced that its Close the Gap campaign is partnering with the Black Coaches and Administrators (BCA) and college basketball's "The Showcase" to raise awareness of heart disease risk factors for women and minorities.  Close the Gap, an educational initiative designed to educate, equip and empower communities and individuals to reduce disparities in cardiovascular care for women, black Americans and Latino Americans, will staff an educational booth on the topic at American Airlines Arena on December 18th.  "The Showcase" features four of the nation's top college basketball teams, pitting Texas A&M vs. Arkansas in the opening game, followed by a showdown of two likely top 10 teams with Baylor facing Gonzaga.

Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the U.S. and in Texas.  It accounts for 26 percent of all deaths in the country and nearly 25 percent of all deaths in the state, claiming nearly 40,000 Texan lives each year.  According to recent Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey results, adults in Texas reported the following risk factors for heart disease: 29 percent have high blood pressure, 41 percent have high cholesterol, 18 percent are current smokers, 67 percent are overweight or obese and 27 percent reported no exercise in the prior 30 days.

"We're proud to partner with the Close the Gap initiative to raise awareness of heart disease risk factors," said BCA president Dave Leitao.  "We support the effort, and urge everyone to learn more about how they can protect themselves and their loved ones from developing this condition."

According to the American Heart Association, every 38 seconds an American dies of heart disease.  Heart disease causes more deaths in Americans of both genders and across all racial and ethnic groups than any other disease.  To make the public more aware of these startling statistics and to encourage fans to take charge of their heart health, Close the Gap will distribute educational materials onsite at American Airlines Arena during the day-long event.  Methodist Hospital will provide free health screenings for visitors to the Close the Gap informational booth.

"Understanding the risk factors and symptoms of cardiovascular disease is extremely important, particularly in women and minorities," said Close the Gap steering committee member Dr. Mark Jenkins, a Dallas-based cardiologist.  "Close the Gap helps individuals understand their risk factors and encourages people to be proactive in controlling their heart health."

A key element of the Close the Gap campaign is to raise awareness of sudden cardiac arrest as a leading cause of death among young athletes.  Statistics reveal that in the U.S., a young competitive athlete experiences sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) every three or four days.  The average age of those who die is 17.5 years, 90 percent of them are male and more than half are black.  This message is particularly important for college and high school-aged athletes, along with their coaches and families.

"Despite a similar prevalence, women and people of color are treated at a lesser rate for heart disease than Caucasian men," said Close the Gap steering committee member Dr. Winston Gandy, an Atlanta area cardiologist.  "With Close the Gap, we are helping everyone, regardless of race, ethnicity or gender, have access to the highest quality cardiovascular care."

Close the Gap is led by a steering committee of leading physicians and health care providers from across the country.  In addition to the BCA, other organizations supporting efforts to address disparities in cardiovascular care and working actively with the Close the Gap initiative include: WomenHeart, the Fritz Pollard Alliance, the Association of Black Cardiologists, the Athlete's Heartbeat, Minor League Baseball, the Minnesota Lynx and the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association. Several National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) member schools are also supporting Close the Gap efforts.

Close the Gap has plans to conduct outreach at several venues during 2011, including information booths at several Minor League Baseball games, NCAA football games, and additional high school and college athletic events.  For more information on the Close the Gap educational initiative and updates on outreach venues as they become available, please visit www.your-heart-health.com, http://www.facebook.com/ClosetheGap  and http://twitter.com/YourHeartHealth.

Media interviews can be arranged upon request.  Interested parties should contact Helga Radio at 952-346-6010.

About Boston Scientific

Boston Scientific is a worldwide developer, manufacturer and marketer of medical devices whose products are used in a broad range of interventional medical specialties.  For more information, please visit www.bostonscientific.com.  

Statistics cited in this release are taken from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Heart Rhythm Society, the American College of Cardiology, the American Heart Association, the National Center on Health Statistics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation.

SOURCE Boston Scientific



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