News Seton Participates in Pilot Screening Program to Help Fight Women's Number One Killer, Heart Disease

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Seton Cardiologists Partner with OB/Gyns to Improve Early Disease Detection

AUSTIN, Texas - (February 1, 2012) - Cardiovascular disease kills about 433,000 women every year - that's almost one person each minute. One in three women is living with some form of heart disease and, currently, more women than men die from the condition.

The Seton Heart Institute is taking action to help lower these statistics through a groundbreaking outreach program with community obstetricians and gynecologists. As part of this effort, Seton Heart is participating in a pilot screening program, sponsored by Abbott Vascular, aimed at collecting information from women regarding cardiovascular disease risk factors.

"Women often depend on their gynecologists for all of their healthcare needs. We are reaching out to gynecologists and imageobstetricians to make screening for heart disease a part of women's regular exams," explained Dr. Caitlin Giesler, Seton Heart Institute cardiologist.

Seton cardiologists provide OB/Gyns with a questionnaire screening tool that identifies risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Women identified 'at risk' are recommended to follow up with a physician that specializes in heart care.

Seton is one of 40 sites and the first in Central Texas participating in the pilot screening program. Abbott's goal is to collect data from 3,000 women. To date, the company has reached 70% of their goal.

Survey results will be used to initiate further research about heart disease in women. Seton is also using the opportunity to improve awareness, diagnosis and treatment of women and heart disease with physicians. image

Remarked, Dr. Giesler, "With early screening and physician education about risk factors, we can make an impact on this potentially silent killer and hopefully close the gender gap in diagnosis and treatment of heart disease."

Obstetricians play an important role, too, because problems during pregnancy, such as preeclampsia (high blood pressure), may be an early indicator of more serious heart disease in the future.

"Heart disease is still widely under-diagnosed and undertreated in women. With the right information, we can equip patients to take action to help reverse heart disease and reduce women's risk of having a heart attack or other cardiovascular conditions later in life", Dr. Giesler said.

One message Dr. Giesler stresses is that women should know their numbers. These include blood pressure, cholesterol, BMI (body mass index) and fasting glucose (blood sugar).

For more information about these numbers and other heart-healthy information, visit Dr. Giesler's blog at

Call (512) 324-3440 to schedule an appointment with a Seton Heart Institute women and heart disease specialist, including: Mary J. Borses, MD, Fotini M. Chalkias, MD, Caitlin M. Giesler, MD, and Charlie Simpson, ANCP.

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image Seton is proud to have four hospitals – the only hospitals in Central Texas - that have earned the Magnet designation, the highest award for nursing excellence given by the American Nurses Association.