"Preventing cardiac events requires spending enough time with each patient to create a prevention program tailored to their specific needs," says William Grossman, M.D., director of the UCSF Center for Prevention of Heart and Vascular Disease. "It's old-school cardiology aided by modern technology and advanced research."
Having a full range of interdisciplinary care and research in one location eases the process. This is why the prevention team has joined a comprehensive group of services making up the new UCSF Cardiovascular Care and Prevention Center at Mission Bay. The center includes cardiology and vascular practices, as well as the Center for Prevention of Heart and Vascular Disease, all of which are now housed in the same building as the renowned Cardiovascular Research Institute (CVRI).
For the prevention component, comprehensive teams of heart experts work with anyone who has had a cardiac event or possesses any of the traditional risk factors. In most instances, during their initial visit, patients can do everything required to create a personalized primary or secondary prevention program.
Grossman notes that prevention begins with a thorough personal evaluation. Depending on the patient, the evaluation can include all of the following:
"Part of our goal is to avoid unnecessary and potentially risky tests, such as angiograms and multiple CT exams," says Grossman.
After the initial visit, cardiologists conduct 30- to 40-minute follow-up visits every three to six months. Patients also can take advantage of biannual educational seminars that complement information on the center's website (due to be launched November 1, 2010) and in its newsletters and educational emails.
The result is a thorough, personalized, up-to-date prevention plan that covers medication, diet and lifestyle recommendations.
"It's time-intensive, but the patient benefits," says Grossman. "Much of my success as a cardiologist comes from spending this kind of time with patients."
Each patient also receives a laminated card with his or her most recent EKG miniaturized on one side and key medical information on the other. "Our goal is to eventually create a flash drive for patients — a tailored, portable EMR that can be a real benefit in an acute event," says Aleksandrina Eppel, the center's manager.
In addition, the proximity to CVRI facilitates closer collaboration between clinical physicians and basic scientists in the pursuit of ever more personalized medicine.
To that same end, the center will continue to expand its comprehensive database of clinical and research information. "Each visit, we enter everything from blood draws and vital signs to current medications — and then track the changes," says Grossman. "This yields important information that enhances both individual patient care and the management of entire populations of heart patients."
The UCSF Cardiovascular Care and Prevention Center is located at 535 Mission Bay Blvd. South.
To contact the UCSF Center for Prevention of Heart and Vascular Disease, call Aleksandrina Eppel at (415) 476–6463 or William Grossman, M.D. at (415) 502–8628.
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