New HMFW Vascular Screening Program Goes Mobile
12/21/2007

FORT WORTH, Texas – Harris Methodist Fort Worth Hospital (HMFW) is hitting the streets to uncover potentially fatal conditions in the body’s transportation – or vascular – system. The hospital’s new vascular screening program, which can identify individuals at risk for stroke, ruptured aneurysm and peripheral arterial disease, is available as a mobile health service and can be brought to any local company or community. Beginning December 31, the screening program also will be offered at HMFW’s non-invasive vascular laboratory located at the Harris Methodist Heart Center.

The City of Denton has provided the screening for its employees.

“We feel it’s very important that people participate in these preventative measures to catch things ahead of time, before they get too critical or too expensive,” said Kari Zika, benefits administrator for the City of Denton. “The response from our employees has been phenomenal. We’ve offered the vascular screening four times since October, and a total of 70 employees have participated.”

Three Quick Scans Save Lives
The vascular system carries blood to vital organs throughout the body. If left undetected, a weakness of the blood vessel wall or blockage within this system can lead to a debilitating stroke, deadly aneurysm rupture, limb amputation or other serious disability.

“Three simple and non-invasive tests that take only 20 minutes to complete can tell us if an individual has a vascular problem that might lead to serious complications or death, and whether or not they need to see a physician for treatment,” said Deborah Bricker, director of HMFW’s cardiac and vascular services. “When you consider that most deadly aortic aneurysms go undetected because there are few, if any, symptoms prior to rupture, you realize how life saving a quick and simple screening can be.”

The screening’s carotid scan uses ultrasound to evaluate the arteries in the neck which supply blood to the brain. Carotid artery blockages are the No. 1 cause of stroke.

Ultrasound is also used in the aortic scan to detect and measure an aneurysm in the abdominal aorta – the body’s main artery. Abdominal aortic aneurysms account for 15,000 deaths each year in the United States.

Using Doppler imaging, the peripheral arterial disease scan identifies reduced blood flow and/or blockages in the arteries of the arms and legs. Impaired circulation in the body’s extremities can lead to serious disability or amputation. Between 25 and 30 million people over age 70 have peripheral arterial disease and are three times as likely to die of heart attacks and strokes as those without the disease.

Getting a Vascular Screening
Harris Methodist Fort Worth Hospital offers the three-test screening for $120. Medicare does not cover the cost of vascular screening. Individuals with private insurance should contact their provider to check on coverage.

“It’s really a great Christmas present or New Year’s resolution,” Bricker said. “What’s better than to give someone you love a potentially life-saving gift or to resolve to get screened in 2008?”

Persons age 55 or older with vascular disease risk factors such as diabetes, high blood pressure, smoking, high cholesterol or a family history of stroke, heart disease, aneurysm or other circulatory problems should undergo screening.

Individuals can get screened at Harris Methodist Heart Center’s new, nationally accredited non-invasive vascular laboratory. To make an appointment, call 817-250-3400.

To bring the vascular screening mobile service to your company or community, call 1-888-4-HARRIS.

About Harris Methodist Fort Worth Hospital
Opened in 1930, Harris Methodist Fort Worth Hospital is a Magnet-designated hospital, and Tarrant County's largest and busiest hospital and regional referral center. A member of Texas Health Resources, HMFW is licensed for 710 beds and provides the following services: cardiovascular; high risk and routine obstetrics and gynecology; neurosciences; orthopedics and sports medicine; rehabilitation; adult critical care and neonatal intensive care; trauma and emergency medicine; cancer care; medical/surgical; kidney transplants; occupational health; and more. The campus is home to almost 1,000 members of the medical staff, more than 4,000 employees, 200 volunteers and the new state-of-the-art 100-bed Harris Methodist Heart Center. For more information, please call 1-888-4-HARRIS, or visit www.texashealth.org/HMFW

About Texas Health Resources
Texas Health Resources is one of the largest faith-based, nonprofit health care delivery systems in the United States and the largest in North Texas in terms of patients served. THR controls 13 affiliated hospitals and a medical research organization, and is a corporate member or partner in seven additional hospitals and surgery centers. THR's family of hospitals includes Harris Methodist Hospitals, Arlington Memorial Hospital and Presbyterian Healthcare System. For more information about Texas Health Resources, visit http://www.texashealth.org/.