Google+Hangout on CHD Awareness and Heart Health

Bret Baier and the American Heart Association would like to invite you to tune in for a Google+Hangout on Wednesday, May 28th at 3pmET. Bret will be joined by Dr. Gerard Martin, Dr. Rani Whitfield, and the Principe family to discuss congenital heart disease (CHD) and overall heart health for people of all ages. The Hangout will stream live on and afterwards will be posted here and on our social media pages.

Did you know that congenital heart defects are the most common types of birth defects? Nearly 1 in 100 babies is born with some sort of heart defect in the United States each year. Many babies born with critical congenital heart disease (CCHD) need life-saving treatment within the first few weeks--sometimes even hours--of life.

What many people do not realize is that a simple, painless test known as a pulse-oximetry test (pulse-ox) can be administered in the hospital 24+ hours following birth to alert medical professionals of serious heart problems in infants. Failure to detect CCHD in newborns can lead to life-long issues and even death. The pulse-ox test is often thought to be a basic vital test, but it is not required in all states.

Children's National Medical Center and the American Heart Association are working to make sure this test is standard procedure throughout the country and the world. 

In addition to bringing awareness to CHD, the American Heart Association sets out to build healthier lives by providing credible heart disease and stroke information for effective prevention and treatment to all Americans. 

Heart disease is the number 1 cause of death for both men and women in the United States, claiming nearly 1 million lives annually. More people die of heart disease than of AIDS and all cancers combined. The good news is that heart disease prevention is possible at any age and we are going to talk to experts about things you and your family can do together to stay heart healthy. 

We are honored to have the following participants join us tomorrow to share their stories and expertise with you all:

Dr. Gerard Martin: Dr. Martin is a board certified pediatric cardiologist as well as a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Cardiology. He is the Senior Vice President at tech Center for Heart, Lung and Kidney Disease, and the Medical Director for Global Services at Children's National Medical Center. Dr. Martin attended Syracuse University and the State of New York, Upstate School of Medicine. He completed his residency at Brown University and the Rhode Island Hospital following training in pediatric cardiology at the Cardiovascular Research Institute at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Martin has published over 100 peer review manuscripts and book chapters, and is an invited lecturer who has traveled to over 100 hospitals and universities around the world.

Dr. Martin is also the physician who was called in to look at Paul Baier just hours after he was born, only to discover that Paul was born with five serious congenital heart defects. He delivered the news to Bret and Amy and has been treating Paul ever since.

Dr. Rani G. Whitfield: Dr. Whitfield is a board certified family physician with a certificate of added qualification (CAQ) in sports medicine. He is currently in private practice in his native Baton Rouge, LA. Dr. Whitfield attended Souther University and A&M College and completed medical school at MeHarry College in Nashville, TN. He completed his residency at Franciscan Medical Center in Dayton, OH.

Dr. Whitfield is an impassioned advocate for increasing awareness in cardiovascular disease, obesity and HIV/AIDS. He is a motivational speaker, has been featured in numerous documentaries and television programs, served as a medical expert for BET, and currently serves as an Ambassador for the American Heart Association. In addition to these and MANY other accomplishments and awards, Dr. Whitfield is also know as "The Hip Hop Doc." He has produced three music CD's geared towards young adults addressing various health issues. He has even been known to rap during a Google+Hangout--so who knows-- we might get lucky! Check out some of his videos here--

The Principe Family: It is every parents worst nightmare--hearing that something is wrong with your baby following birth. That is exactly what happened to Jessica and TJ Principe. Jessica had a normal pregnancy and all signs pointed to their baby boy being born healthy and normal. Following birth, a nurse noticed Brycen's lips were a bluish color and administered a pulse-ox test--a test not required by the state of New Hampshire at the time. The pulse-ox revealed that Brycen was born with CHD and a pediatric cardiologist was brought in to deliver the news to the Principe family. Brycen was taken by ambulance to a children's hospital in Boston-- his father TJ rode with his newborn son while his mother stayed behind to recover.

Today, Brycen is an active 3 year old and a proud big brother. The Principe family is dedicated to maintaining heart healthy lives and to sharing Brycen's story in order to help other families understand CHD. Brycen has been featured as a "Heart Warrior" for the American Heart Association and we are so excited that he and his parents will join us for the hangout.

Fore more on Bret's story you can visit and you can read about the Baier family and their personal journey with CHD in Bret's new book, "Special Heart: A Journey of Faith, Hope, Courage and Love" out June 3rd and available for pre-order at Books-A-Million, Barnes and Noble, and Indie Bound.

If you have a question ahead of the Google+Hangout for Bret or any of the other participants you can tweet @BretBaier or @American_Heart with the hashtag #SpecialHeart--we may just use your question!

National Wear Red Day!

February 1st is National Wear Red Day in support of the American Heart Association's 'Go Red For Women' campaign! Heart disease is the #1 killer of women and the movement is dedicated to education and prevention! This year marks the 10th National Wear Red Day and the campaign is celebrating saving over 627,000 lives! Tomorrow on Special Report Bret will wear red in order to show his support and we encourage you to do the same!  You can also visit to learn more about the warning signs of a heart attack, the risk factors and ways you can prevent heart disease! 

Thank you to the American Heart Association and Go Red For Women for the video elements in the story! 



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