Q : How long have you practiced cardiology as a member of the medical staff at Nash Health Care?
A: I’ve lived in Rocky Mount and been a member of the Nash medical staff for 22 years.
Q: You’ve been a part of this community for a long time. What are some of the community activities in which you have participated?
A: I serve on the board for the YMCA, and I’ve been very active in the local branch of the American Heart Association.
Q:Why did you decide to specialize in cardiology?
A: Personally, the heart intrigues me. In cardiology, a physician has an opportunity to use the skills of both his mind and his hands. Cardiology also has a profound impact on people in the prime of their lives - there are so many ways to prevent heart disease or even to prevent a first heart attack. You feel as if you are really making a difference in the lives of your patients.
Q: You are a board-certified cardiologist. What does that mean?
A: National Board Certification represents the highest level of clinical excellence. Doctors must first demonstrate clinical expertise. The doctor then qualifies to take a rigorous examination in their specific area. After passing the examination they receive Board Certification.
Q: What are some of the biggest changes you’ve seen in field of cardiology?
A: There have been many improvements in non-invasive imaging, which lead to better diagnosis. Stress tests and echocardiography have also gotten better, and we have the capability to do echocardiography in 3-D. Catheters have gotten smaller and safer.
Q: What does it mean for our community to have a dedicated center for heart patients that offers PCI (stent placement)?
A: For the last 20 years, Nash Health Care has had diagnostic capabilities, but to have an interventional procedure, patients had to leave the area. Now, patients can have state of the art interventional care delivered locally. This is a significant and very positive step for Nash Health Care and the community.
Q: But you and your practice partners have been performing stent procedures for years, right?
A: At other facilities, but not at Nash. In fact, our cardiologists have performed thousands of procedures at WakeMed and Pitt County Memorial Hospital. With the start up of the Nash Heart Center, we can perform these same procedures at Nash. Providing these services locally not only saves time, which translates into less damage to valuable heart muscle, but provides the added benefit of lower cost and more convenience to patients and family.
Q: You sound very enthused about this new service.
A: This is a project that has been on the radar since I came to Rocky Mount and to see it come to fruition is very gratifying. And as I mentioned earlier, it is a huge step forward for the health of our community.
Q:What are a few things area residents can do to better care for their hearts?
A: Heart disease can be prevented. You have to evaluate your risk factors, which include smoking, diabetes, a sedentary lifestyle and high blood pressure. Residents can make a big difference by modifying their behavior, by stopping smoking, by maintaining a healthy weight, and by getting regular physical activity. It is also important for patients to take their medication as directed. Not only can these steps prevent a heart attack, but if a patient has already had a heart attack, it can prevent another one from occurring.