News & Events

ACH program aims to prevent heart disease

February 23, 2012

By Shannon Harsh, The Review, Posted February 22, 2012

February highlights the importance of heart disease awareness and prevention -- something Alliance Community Hospital is hoping to spread this year. The hospital has recently unveiled a new early detection program through its website called HeartAware that involves a simple survey that could save lives.

According to Billie Jo Hatton, ACH's director of the Cardiopulmonary Department, Aultman Hospital has done a similar program and recently helped ACH get its own program started. "For us, it was just the right answer," she said. "We see so many patients when it's too late. We see them on the (emergency department) side. We see them when they're coming in and there's nothing we can do to help them at that point."

"In our department specifically, with respiratory being a part of us, we see that side," she explained. "With cardiac rehab being one of our departments, we see the after effects. With cardiac diagnostics and the stress lab, we see after the damage is done, but in the detection phase. We really felt like the next answer for us was to do something more on the prevention side and that's why we decided to pair up and go with HeartAware."

Hatton said the screening program allows patients to answer questions and learn about their risk factors for heart disease. While they get some good information by taking the online survey, Hatton said the assistance doesn't stop on the computer screen.

"They'll actually get a phone call from a cardiac nurse from the hospital if they are actually identified as high risk," she described. "And they'll actually have a chance, if they're willing, to come in and sit down with them one-on-one and go through some cardiac discussions about their risk factors."

Hatton said the goal is to have only a 24- or 48-hour turnaround time from computer survey to phone call in the hopes that they can talk to people while they have their attention focused on their health. "At least they are thinking about it; they're talking about it; they're willing to seek out some help for it," she explained.

Should they have some risk factors, patients may take further steps in the process. Hatton said ACH will offer on-site blood testing for cholesterol, glucose and triglycerides to see if the numbers put them in a high-risk category as well.

For those at risk for heart disease who may not yet be under the care of a physician, Hatton said the hospital has set up an agreement with some area physicians who will fast-track them into the office for further care.

Hatton said the idea of the program is early detection, as more than 50 percent of men and 64 percent of women who died suddenly of heart disease have no previous symptoms. "The goal is to catch them early enough that we're able to provide the education and help change them early on," she added.

The HeartAware program is geared towards individuals who have not had previous heart problems or been diagnosed with heart disease. Hatton said the risk assessment begins at the young age of 18 and is especially important for those in the 30 to 60 range who are often too busy with jobs and families to focus on their health.

"We're seeing (heart disease) younger and younger. Gone are the days, I think, when anybody's ruled out," Hatton admitted. "Depending on what your childhood was like; depending on your stressers; if you were a smoker."

The online assessment looks for risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, diabetes, obesity, sedentary lifestyle, leg pain, family history and transient ischemic attacks (mini-strokes).

Though some things cannot be changed, such as heredity, Hatton said once you know the risk factors, some can be reduced. "You can't change your genetics. You can't change what mom and dad gave you as far as your risk for hypertension and sometimes even cholesterol, but you can change the contributing factors, as far as your diet and lower sodium, lower saturated fat, things like that," she said. "So, you control what you can control."

In addition to the HeartAware program, which is also available in paper format at the ACH Resource Center, she said the hospital will hold two informative talks about controlling and reducing risk factors of heart disease. At 2 p.m. today at McCrea Manor, 2040 McCrea St., Kelly Burke, RN, will speak on "Heart Disease: Know Your Risk Factors." A similar program by ACH will be held from 1 to 2 p.m. on Feb. 29 at Rodman Public Library, which will also include free blood pressure screenings.

To learn more about HeartAware or to begin the program, visit

200 East State Street   |   Alliance, Ohio 44601   |   Phone: (330) 596-6000   |
Home   |   Location   |   Pay Your Bill Online   |   Contact   |   About Us   |   Services & Treatments   |   Patient Resources   |   Families & Visitors   |   Giving Back   |   Careers   |   Pay Your Bill Online   |   Find a Provider   |   Video Library
All Rights Reserved 2019, Alliance Community Hospital - Admin Login   |   Associate Login   |   Web Development by Alt Media Studios