Prevention Is Key at Jefferson's New Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Center
Patients now benefit from services offered at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital's recently formed Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Center, directed by David M. Capuzzi, MD, PhD, JMC '64.
"Jefferson's Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Center is unique in the Delaware Valley for the comprehensive way it integrates aspects of patient care, education and research in cardiology, with an emphasis on prevention," says Howard H. Weitz, MD, Professor of Medicine and Director, Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine, Jefferson Medical College (JMC). "No other facility in our region offers such full integration of these features in one central location."
With February designated National Heart Month for America's number one killer of men and women, the preventive focus of the newly formed center is timely, notes its director, Dr. Capuzzi.
Patients come to Jefferson's Center from a wide geographic area in and beyond the Greater Philadelphia area. Most are patients with inherited disorders of cholesterol metabolism that predispose them to premature, aggressive cardiovascular disease. Many have suffered early heart attacks or stroke, and they may have had angioplasty and/or bypass surgery.
What's shared by these patients are narrowed arteries lined by fatty plaques which slow the flow of nourishing blood to vital organs, particularly the coronary arteries that nourish the heart. Rupture of these plaques in the heart's vessels blocks the coronary circulation, usually resulting in a heart attack.
"Our center's staff intervenes in the underlying disease processes that lead to the buildup of unstable fatty plaques," Dr. Capuzzi explains. "Stabilizing plaques markedly reduces the risk both of coronary disease progression and the recurrence of cardiac events."
The center also emphasizes evaluation of relatives of patients with early heart disease and others who are at high risk because of their heredity or lifestyle, for cardiac events such as angina or heart attack.
For more information about Jefferson's Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Center, call 215-955-2100.