Indianapolis, IN---Recognizing that many forms of heart disease can be hereditary, Community Health Network recently launched a comprehensive cardiovascular genetic counseling center at The Indiana Heart Hospital. Designed and led by Community Physician Network clinicians specially trained in cardiovascular medical genetics, Community’s program is the first of its kind in the state.
“Recent advances in genetic testing give us the ability to test for multiple genes at a reasonable cost,” stated Glenn Bingle, M.D., Ph.D., medical geneticist with the cardiovascular genetic counseling center. “Now we can offer these tests to families with inherited cardiovascular disease and treat early stage disease before a sudden cardiac event occurs.”
The program is designed for patients of all ages who may be at risk for a heritable cardiovascular condition. The evaluation includes a blood test and the collection of an extensive family medical history from the patient. The genetic counselor carefully analyzes the information to determine the underlying cause of the hereditary disease; identify other family members who could be at risk; and outline personalized treatment based on the patient’s genetic makeup.
The cardiac genetic counseling team brings a high level of compassion to the care they provide, putting an emphasis on psychosocial counseling. They are uniquely trained to support the emotional needs of patients as they learn the results of their genetic tests and the implications for their future health needs.
Patients who opt for genetic testing and counseling take a proactive step in the management of their health, as it allows for earlier treatment of cardiac disease which leads to improved outcomes. According to Dr. Bingle, there is also a financial benefit to the program:
“This program will save lives. We will also save healthcare dollars by using appropriate cardiac screening tools and medications that can prevent the further progression of cardiovascular disease, and save healthcare dollars by not deploying invasive testing when there is no genetic risk.”
Genetic counseling services can be beneficial to individuals with signs of hereditary cardiovascular disease, including:
- A history of sudden death in the family, including unexplained accidental death such as drowning or car accidents
- A pattern of heart disease being passed through generations in the family
- A personal or family history of fainting or passing out
- Heart disease at a young age in one or more close relatives
- Two or more close relatives on the same side of the family with same or related condition, including relatives who have a pacemaker or who have had heart surgery
- Multiple relatives with related disorders such as diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure or high cholesterol
No referral is needed to access the program, and genetic counseling services may be covered by insurance. Visit eCommunity.com/heart or call 800-777-7775 to learn more.
About The Indiana Heart Hospital
As the region’s first integrated model for heart and vascular care, Community Heart and Vascular includes more than 40 cardiovascular providers aligning services at The Indiana Heart Hospital; Community Hospitals East, North, South and Anderson; 20 office locations; and other health care facilities across central Indiana. Achieving leadership through physician and administrative partnerships, this advanced model of care provides a more connected, coordinated and convenient cardiovascular experience, increasing alignment in quality, safety and service to patients, families and other physicians. For more information, visit eCommunity.com/heart.