New Heart Health Initiative Comes to Colquitt Regional

Colquitt Regional Medical Center is taking big strides this year with heart health. With more than 95 providers bringing expertise to over 20 specialties, Colquitt Regional is committed to providing high quality and compassionate health care to South Georgia and its residents.

Shortly after receiving its 11th consecutive “A”hospital safety score and introducing a new state-of-the-art Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy chamber to its Vereen Rehabilitation Center, Colquitt Regional is the first hospital in the state to partner with the National Heart Health Program.

This growing program uses published Societal Clinical Guidelines so that cardiologists can successfully implement an early detection of cardiovascular disease be-fore the first symptoms arise; according to their website, the first symptoms for 50% of people are heart attack or death.

With Colquitt Regional now in the mix, this program is implemented in over 120 hospitals in 15 different countries and focuses on coronary calcium scoring. This fifteen-minute heart test is non-invasive and is used to check for the presence of calcium in the coronary arteries before symptoms are even fully developed.

Sterling Physician Group board-certified cardiologists Dr. Pallavi Luthraand Dr. Lawrence Ukpong explained why this test can be a crucial element in health care and how the hospital became affiliated with the program.

“The calcium score test has made its way into current American College of cardiology and American Heart Association guidelines — an important task force that helps set standards for cardiovascular treatment— and has the ability to help tailor therapy for intermediate and high risk patients,” Luthra said.The scoring, which takes about 10 to 15 minutes, is done with a non-contrast CT scan of the heart. To compare how low-risk the test actually is, the radiation dosage from the scan is about the same as a routine mammography, according to Luthra.

“Because every 45-60 seconds someone dies from coronary artery disease, we know that coronary artery disease is still the leading cause of death in the world, but particularly in the United States and the western world at large,” Ukpong said.“Every testing modality that will help decrease the risk and prevent coronary disease is necessary to fight this giant of a cause for mortality.

You can start your heart health journey with the coronary calcium scoring test at Colquitt Regional

Luthra and Ukpong also touched on the importance of heart health awareness and how this test can help predict future cardio-vascular and stroke risk.Not only does it help the patient in the long run,but it also helps the physician treating them to take the best course of medical action.

“Every case is unique,but the more information I have on each patient and the more a patient knows about his or her own risks, the better prepared everyone is,” Luthra said. “If we can detect subclinical atherosclerosis and help patients to adhere to healthier lifestyles based on their scores, I think as a physician I can do a better job of taking care of them.”

“It is a great opportunity to make sure no stone is left unturned when it comes to cardio-vascular disease evaluation and treatment,” Ukpong said. “It gives us an additional tool to help bridge the gap for diagnosis in patients with low to intermediate risk for coronary artery disease.

According to Luthra, this program will be crucial in finding the people who are at risk for this disease. She explained that Colquitt Regional’s over-all goal with this program is to promote awareness of the available test within the community,especially for those who may not know that they are at risk.

For those interested in having the coronary calcium scoring test per-formed, visit Colquitt Regional Medical Center.It is available for $60 for the month of February($99 regularly) and does not require an order from a physician, nor is an appointment needed.Once the test is conducted, it will then be sent to your primary care physician for evaluation and to determine if further tests are needed.

Cardiovascular dis-ease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. and affects nearly half of American adults, according to the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology. Keeping track of your health and lifestyle choices can be the determining factor to avoid any cardiovascular events.You can start your heart health journey with the coronary calcium scoring test at Colquitt Regional

Dr. Lawrence Ukpong, board-certified cardiologist at Ukpong Cardiology Services,
standing in the state-of-the-art Cath Lab, located at Colquitt Regional Medical Center

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