May 11, 2001

Women’s heart disease discussed at Eisenstein Symposium May 16

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Dr. Denis O'Day

For the second year, the Vanderbilt Women’s Heart Institute will host the Ann F. Eisenstein Women’s Cardiovascular Symposium on May 16 at Loew’s Vanderbilt Plaza Hotel.

The program, funded by a gift to the Institute from Eisenstein, will offer free screenings and a heart-healthy breakfast followed by featured speaker Dr. Rose Marie Robertson, medical director of the Institute, professor and chair of the Department of Medicine and the national president of the American Heart Association. Robertson will be joined by a panel of the area’s leading cardiologists and specialists.

Optional screenings will be available from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. An overview and panel discussion is scheduled from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. moderated by Dr. Keith Churchwell, medical director of the Vanderbilt Page-Campbell Heart Institute.

Complimentary parking will be available in the garage. Call 936-0301 by May 11 for reservations.

The Eisenstein symposium was established to educate women about the misperceptions surrounding heart disease as well as providing them with the latest treatment and prevention options.

The late Eisenstein, a heart patient at Vanderbilt for more than 40 years, became an advocate for heart research after learning the statistics regarding women and heat disease.

“As the national president of the American Heart Association, I am reminded daily of the damage heart disease inflicts on so many people in America,” Robertson said. “We have only recently begun to address the misconception that heart disease is only for men. Over the past year, I have urged women to take an active role in helping educate other women and their families of the potential risks they face.”

Robertson said educational programming like the Eisenstein symposium is a key component in teaching women to take control of their health and provide much needed information about how to talk to health care providers about cardiovascular issues.

Members of the panel include:

•Churchwell, assistant clinical professor of Medicine and co-director of Nuclear Cardiology at Vanderbilt. He received his medical degree from Washington University School of Medicine in 1987. He graduated from Harvard University in 1983.

•Dr. John Dixon, associate professor of Medicine at Vanderbilt. He graduated magna cum laude from Duke in 1969 and received his medical degree in 1973 from Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

•Dr. Rebecca Dignan, assistant professor of Cardiac and Thoracic Surgery at Vanderbilt and chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Veterans Administration Medical Center. She received her nursing degree in 1981 from the University of Illinois Medical Center and her medical degree in 1987 from the Medical College of Virginia.

•Dr. Tina Gresham, partner in Page-Campbell Cardiology Group in Murfreesboro and director of the Coronary Care Unit at Middle Tennessee Medical Center. She graduated cum laude from the Howard University College of Nursing in 1979 and received her medical degree in 1987 from Howard University Medical School.

The statistics are alarming:

•Coronary heart disease is the single largest killer of American women.

•In 1997 in the United States, all cardiovascular diseases combined to claim the lives of more than 502,938 women. In the same year 450,172 men died from these diseases.

•More than one in five women have some form of heart or blood vessel disease.

•42 percent of women who have heart attacks die within a year compared with 24 percent of men.

•During the first six years after a heart attack, the rate of having a second attack is 33 percent for women compared with 21 percent for men.