Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans’ Hospital
The Pulse of Veteran Health Care
February is American Heart Month, a great time to learn about the amazing technologies that Truman VA is using to pave the way as a leader in cardiac care. Currently, the Columbia facility is a VA referral center for cardiac surgery. The expertise of the skilled surgeons, nursing staff and exceptional facilities ensure that Truman VA heart patients receive the highest level of care before, during and after surgery. Mark Hern, a Truman VA employee and heart patient recently underwent mitral valve repair. Instead of replacing the valve, which would need to be repeated every 15-20 years, the cardiac surgeons at Truman VA were able to repair the valve, which should last a lifetime. At only the age of 46, Hern is thankful for the care he has received at Truman VA and that he does not anticipate another cardiac surgery.
The future of Truman VA’s cardiac services will include state-of-the-art x-ray and ancillary equipment in new cardiac catheterization labs, due to open in approximately two years. According to Dr. Kul Aggarwal, a Truman VA cardiologist, “These labs will help provide the best service possible to Veterans undergoing cardiac catheterization procedures. Benefits will include reduced radiation exposure due to advances in technology, ability to integrate other imaging data such as CT scans and ultrasound into the same room, as well as improved diagnostic tools and improved image quality.” Dr. Aggarwal also says that these new cardiac catheterization labs will offer cardiologists the ability to use special mapping techniques in the heart to treat heart rhythm abnormalities and disorders.
In order to maintain proper heart health, Dr. Aggarwal recommends that people of every age should eat a balanced diet low in fat and salt and exercise moderately for at least 30 minutes, three times a week or more. He also advises all patients to be tested for diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Learning CPR is also important to know to help others in case of an emergency.