Emory Healthcare launches new heart center for women

Woodruff Health Sciences Center | Feb. 12, 2014

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Jennifer Johnson McEwen
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Emory Healthcare is launching the Emory Women's Heart Center (EWHC), a new program uniquely dedicated to the screening, prevention and treatment of heart disease in women.   

With five locations in the metro Atlanta area, one of the main goals of the Center is to raise awareness among women of the dangers of heart disease. According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is the number one killer of women and is more deadly than all forms of cancer combined.

"Most heart disease is preventable, so we want to reach these women before 60 years old and evaluate their individual risks and educate them on risk reduction. Starting treatment early, when it's necessary, will help save lives," says EWHC clinical director Gina Lundberg, MD, assistant professor of medicine, Emory University School of Medicine.

In 1998, Lundberg founded and directed the first women's cardiac prevention program in the state of Georgia and in 2007 started the Saint Joseph's Heart Center for Women.

The new Emory Women's Heart Center is offering comprehensive cardiac risk assessments for women at risk for heart disease as well as a full range of treatment options for women already diagnosed with heart disease. For $75, the initial screening includes a review of family history of heart disease and a comprehensive global risk assessment that includes age, blood pressure, total cholesterol level, HDL level, blood glucose, smoking history, pregnancy history and hypertension history.  Women with symptoms of heart disease or known heart disease are encouraged to have full consultation with Emory's expert physicians.

"Our diverse team will counsel patients on weight loss, exercise programs, diet and other lifestyle changes, as well as help them understand how stress, obesity, depression and menopause may impact their hearts," explains Lundberg.

In addition to serving as a clinical resource for women who want to prevent and treat heart disease, the Emory Women's Heart Center is dedicated to research in women to determine the best diagnostic tests and treatments specific to them. Leslee Shaw, PhD, professor of cardiology at Emory School of Medicine, is leading this effort as the research director for the Emory Women's Heart Center.

"Our new center is evidence of vision and teamwork and an outstanding example of the integration of Emory's clinical and research efforts," says W. Robert Taylor, MD, PhD, director of the division of cardiology for Emory School of Medicine. ?It is a momentous addition to the rich history of women's heart disease at Emory."

Emory's pioneering work in women"s heart disease spans more than a half century beginning with renowned cardiologist Nanette K. Wenger, MD.

Wenger, a professor of medicine at Emory University School of Medicine and former chief of cardiology at Grady Memorial Hospital, has contributed immeasurably to the field of cardiology, particularly heart disease in women. She was among the first physicians to focus on women"s heart disease and to evaluate the different risk factors and features of the condition in women and men. Wenger remains one of the most outspoken and best-known champions for women with cardiac disorders.

For more information on the Emory Women"s Heart Center, please call 404-778-7777 or visit Emoryhealthcare.org/womensheart.