Heart Screening tour travels throughout Iowa


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As heart disease continues to be one of the major causes of death in Iowa, a team of health-care officials throughout the state has joined together to offer affordable mobile heart screenings to detect heart disease and stroke. 

The University of Iowa Health Alliance conducted the first set of screenings this past month throughout the state. 

“Heart disease is a very significant health issue; if you can catch it in the early stages, it is much easier to treat,” UI spokesman Tom Moore said. “This is a very serious and common problem, and these screenings provide a more convenient way for Iowans to access.” 

The heart screenings have been located in such places as convenient stores, and Hy-Vees, Kmarts, and Walgreens.  The Health Alliance, comprising four Iowa health-care organizations with more than 50 hospitals and 160 clinics across the state, joined efforts with UI Health Care in 2012.  The alliance joined with HealthFair to manage the screenings. 

Ellen Barron, the associate vice president for marketing and communications for UI Health Care, said the department joined with the HealthFair to travel Iowa and parts of Illinois. 

“This is the initial phase of a long-term plan of offering these screenings throughout Iowa and parts of Illinois,” Barron said.  “We hope to continue these screenings for the future.”

The HealthFair is known as a national leader in mobile health testing by the Joint Commission, a national performance standards organization.  The heart screenings provide consumers with easy access to ultrasound, EKG, and other tests to better detect cardiovascular disease. 

Nick Hodgeman, one of the cardiologists of the health officials running the heart screenings, said the heart screenings are very important because it is a great way to create awareness in communities of one of the leading causes of death in the country.

“You don’t need a doctor; they are way cheaper than getting one done at the hospital,” Hodgeman said.  “Patients can get screened for a fraction of the cost and they don’t need to see a doctor, they can just go get it done.”

Individuals receive six different tests for $179, which are usually valued at $2,300. The process takes the cardiologist approximately an hour.  The six tests include a 12-lead electrocardiogram, an echocardiogram, hardening of the arteries test, stroke ultrasound, peripheral arterial disease test, and abdominal aortic aneurysm ultrasound. 

Hodgeman said there are many risk factors that people need to be aware of heart disease.  Many of the people who may be susceptible to heart disease are over the age of 50.  However, people with a history of heart disease in their family should be screened earlier in life and could potentially prevent or stabilize the disease. 

“Nationally, heart disease is the No. 1 killer; it is very common and these screenings only helps people become more aware of heart disease,” Hodgeman said.  “It’s a pretty simple process, and people can save money, and could potentially save a life.”

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