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Hospital launches Women’s Heart Wellness Center and WomenHeart Support Network

New Britain [January 03 2013] - Reflective of its commitment to women’s heart health, The Hospital of Central Connecticut (HOCC) Division of Cardiology has launched a Women’s Heart Wellness Center specializing in cardiac care for women.

In addition, HOCC is now also the first hospital in New England to be a founding member of the WomenHeart National Hospital Alliance and starting Jan. 22 will provide a monthly peer-led support network for women with heart disease.

The Women’s Heart Wellness Center, an additional service of the Division of Cardiology, targets women’s cardiovascular health and care. Heart disease is the number one killer of women says HOCC cardiologist Heather Swales, M.D., center director. “It is a very important issue that all women should be aware of, including what the risk factors are and ways to prevent and screen for heart disease.”

Three of the most common cardiovascular conditions affecting women, she says, are coronary artery disease, which is hardening or narrowing of the arteries; heart failure, which is decreased ability of the heart to pump blood effectively; and high blood pressure.

At an initial center appointment with an HOCC cardiologist a patient will receive a gender-specific risk factor screening to address cardiac risk factors specific to women, symptom assessment and a physical exam. If necessary, tests will be ordered and followed by a personalized treatment plan. Women have their choice of seeing either Swales or another HOCC cardiologist.

Wellness center services include arrhythmia, blood pressure and cholesterol management; heart rhythm monitoring; cardiac rehabilitation program; Heart Failure Resource Center; pacemaker and implantable cardiac defibrillator implantation and testing; and peripheral vascular disease management. For more information about the center or to schedule an appointment, please call 860-224-5694.

The hospital is further demonstrating its commitment to cardiac care for women through its National Hospital Alliance membership with WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease. WomenHeart is the nation’s only patient-centered organization serving the 42 million American women living with or at risk for heart disease and is dedicated to women’s heart health through patient support, education and advocacy.

Through the alliance, HOCC has established WomenHeart of Central Connecticut, a peer-led support group for women with heart disease to be led by WomenHeart Champion and Support Network Coordinator Kimberly Gensicki, a heart disease survivor. Gensicki, also senior marketing communications specialist at HOCC, attended the WomenHeart Science & Leadership Symposium at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. in October 2012. Each year since 2002, about 40 women heart disease survivors from throughout the country gather to be trained to become volunteer community educators and support network coordinators to help women live heart healthy lives and receive support.

“Having dealt with a heart condition, for which I’ve thankfully been cured, I understand the many challenges heart conditions and disease can present,” says Gensicki. “My training to lead a support network at the Mayo Clinic was a wonderful experience and as a WomenHeart National Hospital Alliance member, The Hospital of Central Connecticut offers a solid support program that serves as a resource for the hundreds of women in Connecticut impacted by heart disease.”

WomenHeart of Central Connecticut support network meetings will be held the fourth Tuesday of the month, starting Jan. 22 from 5:30 to 6:45 p.m. at the hospital’s New Britain General campus. Support network meetings are open to all women living with heart disease. For more information or to register for a WomenHeart of Central Connecticut support network meeting, please call 860-224-5769.

Contact: Kimberly Gensicki, 860-224-5900, X6507

HCC Corporate Communications
(860) 224-5695 • Fax (860) 224-5779