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Keeping your heart in tip-top shape

July 11, 2009
By BEN SIMMONS, Staff Writer

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in West Virginia, accounting for nearly 30 percent of all deaths. To help combat the epidemic, a Cardiology Clinic is opening in Elkins in July on the campus of Davis Memorial Hospital. The clinic is a partnership between the West Virginia University Heart Institute and DMH.

"We are very fortunate to have this partnership, which is a great addition to our cardiology service line," said Mark Doak, chief executive officer of Davis Health System. "These cardiologists have expertise in every aspect of cardiac care. This ranges from standard procedures such as evaluations of patients who have been admitted to the hospital, outpatient consultation, echocardiography and angiography to advanced clinical research into heart failure, preventive cardiology and radio-frequency ablation."

The cardiologists will work closely with patients' primary care physicians to ensure coordinated, continuous care, he said.

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According to the latest data available from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, West Virginia leads the nation in adult deaths from cardiovascular disease. West Virginia also has the highest rates in the country for some of the known risks for CVD: high blood pressure, obesity and smoking, among others.

Patients who need evaluation and management of heart disease and diseases of the circulatory system can receive services including: echocardiography and stress testing; follow-up care after coronary bypass surgery; follow-up care involving pacemakers; and cardiac rehabilitation.

West Virginia University cardiologists, including Robert J. Beto, M.D., leader of the WVU Heart Institute, will see patients at the Cardiology Clinic by referral. Dr. Beto, an expert in interventional cardiology, earned his medical degree at West Virginia University and is board certified in internal medicine as well as cardiovascular disease.

"It is part of our mission at the Heart Institute," Beto said. "We feel it is our duty to provide some specialty care to areas that may not have had specialists in the past. This will provide availability to the Elkins community to specialists and subspecialists that may not have been present before. It is quite convenient to have follow-up in your own town rather than drive several miles to get to your doctors office.

Beto said there is a great demand for cardiology services in West Virginia. He said a key issue is access to those services, that's why the clinic is coming to Elkins.

"West Virginia is very unique as far as heart disease goes," Beto said. "Heart disease is an epidemic in West Virginia, whether it's the diet, socio-economic or genetic issues, it's absolutely an epidemic. We're 48 out of 50 in deaths from heart attacks."

The Cardiology Clinic is located at 903 Gorman Ave. in Elkins. WVU Heart Institute cardiologists will see patients by appointment on Mondays from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. and on Fridays from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. beginning in early July.

For appointments, call 304-637-3897.



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