"We anticipate that this service will help us to save more lives and make a difference in the cardiac health of patients in our service area," said Clark Taylor Jr., chief executive officer of Ephraim McDowell Health.
Angioplasty procedures will be performed by Aumiller, an interventional cardiologist, and a team of cardiovascular nurses and technicians. Aumiller has more than 20 years of experience in performing angioplasty procedures at Central Baptist Hospital in Lexington and in California.
Angioplasty services will be provided in the hospital's cardiac catheterization laboratory and will include balloon angioplasty and stents, based on each patient's medical condition at the time of arrival. The procedure will be performed only in an emergency when a patient is having a heart attack.
Leading cause of death in Kentucky
An August 2004 report issued by the Kentucky Department for Public Health notes that cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death in Kentucky and the nation. According to that report, nearly 40 percent of all deaths in Kentucky in 2001 were due to cardiovascular disease.
The Kentucky Cardiovascular Health Coalition has also compiled statistics on the impact of heart disease. The Coalition reports that more than 1 million people in the United States experience a heart attack each year and that Kentucky's death rate from cardiovascular disease is 10 percent higher than that for the United States and the fourth highest rate in the nation.
Within the seven-county area served EMRMC, 418 individuals experienced a heart attack between October 2003 and September 2004, the latest period for which data is available. That report shows that heart attacks occurred in 212 males and 206 females during that period.
While women may fear breast cancer, they face a greater risk of death from heart disease, which is the top killer of women over the age of 25. Each year, about one of every 2.4 women die of heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases.
The Kentucky Department for Public Health reports that men have a greater risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, although cardiovascular disease has claimed the lives of more women than men every year in the United States since 1984.
The Kentucky Department for Public Health report further shows that Kentucky men have the third highest cardiovascular death rate in the United States and Kentucky women have the fifth highest.
"Women tend to develop heart disease later in life, especially after menopause, but they die more often than men do as a result of heart disease," Aumiller said. "Nearly half of women who have a heart attack die within one year. Women who smoke are twice as likely to have heart disease as women who do not smoke."
As with many diseases, there are many factors that can increase a person's risk for cardiovascular disease. These include:
*Increasing age: Nearly four out of five people who die from heart disease are 65 and older.
* Sex: Men have a greater risk of heart attack than women and experience heart attacks earlier in life.
* Family history and race: A family history of heart disease increases an individual's risk for the disease.
While individuals can't modify the above risk factors, they can control other factors in order to have a more heart-healthy lifestyle, such as the following:
* Don't smoke: Smokers double their risk of having a heart attack.
* Get your blood pressure checked regularly: Between the ages of 18 and 39, have your blood pressure checked every two years, then annually after age 40. A blood pressure of 140/90 or higher is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke.
* Follow a diet low in saturated fats and cholesterol: Your fat intake should not exceed 30 percent of the total calories you consume daily.
* Exercise: The U.S. Surgeon General recommends that all adults engage in a minimum of 30 minutes of physical activity on most, if not all, days of the week.
* Control your weight: Excess body fat increases your risk of heart disease.
"While the statistics paint a bleak picture of the state of individuals' heart health in Kentucky and the nation, the good news is that individuals can reduce their risk factors for cardiovascular disease by having a healthy lifestyle," Aumiller said.