Categorized | National News

Maynard Died From Enlarged Heart -Autopsy Complete

An autopsy has revealed that late Free National Movement (FNM) Chairman and former Cabinet Minister Charles Maynard died of an enlarged heart.

The Bahama Journal understands that an autopsy was completed by pathologist Dr. Caryn Sands late Tuesday afternoon.

Full details of that autopsy report have not been released, but sources close to the Maynard family confirmed to the Journal yesterday that the family was notified about the findings through a local cardiologist.

According to a release issued shortly after his death, Mr. Maynard was driving along with FNM Secretary General Michael Foulkes in the area of Blackwood, Abaco, and heading into Dundas and Murphy Town when he became ill and collapsed.

Emergency efforts to revive Mr. Maynard were unsuccessful.

He was 42.

No other information on what may have led to Mr. Maynard’s condition has been released.

And according to local chest specialist Dr. Patrick Roberts, while a proper study has not been done, doctors have seen a high number of cases of enlarged hearts in the past decade.

“We see quite a bit of cases,” said Dr. Roberts who further explained that these cases are usually seen in people suffering from sickle cell disease, chronic asthma, high blood pressure, kidney failure and other diseases like diabetes.

“Almost every person with sickle cell anaemia will have an enlarged heart. If you took an x-ray of their heart and others without sickle cell you will see that the hearts of those with sickle cell anaemia will always be larger than normal,” he said.

According to Dr. Roberts, an enlarged heart can be caused by conditions that cause the heart to pump harder than usual or damage the heart muscle. Sometimes the heart enlarges and becomes weak (idiopathic) for unknown reasons.

Dr. Roberts – the proprietor of the Bahamas Medical Arts Institute – said however, that this can be prevented.

“For example, if someone has high blood pressure over a long period of time, they will have an enlarged heart. So there has to be dedication and discipline and a determination to do the things that would stop that from happening.

“Like smoking, people know they should give up smoking, but some never do. So, Bahamians must begin to take these things seriously.”

Statistics derived from the American Heart Association (AHA) Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics — 2005 Update show that about 550,000 new cases of heart failure are diagnosed each year in the United States.

In most cases you can’t prevent your heart from enlarging, according to the Mayo Clinic – a nonprofit worldwide leader in medical care, research and education.

Doctors at the Mayo Clinic are advising people to inform their doctors about any family history of conditions that can cause an enlarged heart, such as cardiomyopathy.

If cardiomyopathy or other heart conditions are diagnosed early, treatments may prevent the disease from worsening, according to the clinic.

Bahamians can reduce their chances of developing heart failure by avoiding some of the conditions that can contribute to a weak heart, including the abuse of alcohol or cocaine, or not getting enough vitamins and minerals.

Controlling high blood pressure with diet, exercise and possibly medications also prevents many people who have an enlarged heart from developing heart failure later in life.

In some people, an enlarged heart causes no signs or symptoms; however, the clinic says others may experience shortness of breath, dizziness, abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmia), swelling (edema), and coughing and chest pain.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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