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February 17, 2000

Heart care center opens

UPMC Health System's Cardiovascular Institute has opened the Preventive Heart Care Center to focus on the prevention, early detection and treatment of cardiovascular disease.

"Cardiovascular disease remains the No. 1 killer in the United States," said Daniel Edmundowicz, center director and assistant professor of medicine. "More than 1.5 million people will experience a heart attack this year and over 250,000 will die within an hour of their first symptom. Prevention and early detection of heart disease are paramount if we are to favorably change these figures."

The focal point of the center is the electron beam computed tomography (EBT) scanner. EBT is non-invasive and involves rapidly scanning the beating heart or aorta with X-rays to accurately detect the presence of calcification. Calcium in these arteries indicates the presence of atherosclerosis and can be present long before obstructions occur.

Other components include: a hypertension clinic; a lipid clinic; nutrition counseling; exercise counseling; and collaborative efforts with the UPMC Weight Management Center and the behavior medicine program at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic for a particular emphasis on such lifestyle changes as stress reduction and smoking cessation.

In addition to the EBT, other tests that are available at the center include treadmill stress testing and echocardiography.

For additional information, call 1-800/533-UPMC.

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