Matters of the heart

Although heart disease has become a serious threat in Oklahoma, there are ways to protect this vital organ and potentially save a life.



For many Oklahomans, heart disease is an almost certain eventuality. It is the leading cause of death in Oklahoma, accounting for about a third of all deaths in the state.

The state ranks 51 out of 52 for the most deaths from heart disease. Sadly, the primary reason for the bad statistics is a disparity in the health care system: Either because of lack of insurance or lack of courage, not enough patients get to a doctor soon enough to treat their conditions.

If they did go in for treatment earlier, they’d be able to stop and even reverse their heart damage, says Dr. Wayne Leimbach, an interventional cardiologist with Oklahoma Heart Institute.

“You shouldn’t fear going to the doctor because of what we might find,” Leimbach says. “When you think you’re at risk of dying, it’s a huge stress on people, but we can fix most of it without a hospitalization. It’s so different from what it used to be.”

Fortunately for Ruth Boone, technologies were available just in time to help her after a heart attack. The competitive race walker, retired nurse anesthetist and former licensed pilot was taking a three-mile walk in September when she had chest pain.

An EKG in the ambulance showed an artery blockage, and within 20 minutes, she was having a stent inserted in the catheterization lab at St. John Medical Center.

Four days later, she was back home.

“It was truly a miracle and really a point of pride for me,” says her son Richard Boone, president of the St. John Foundation. “I usually see heart procedures from the hallway, but I got the up-close chance to see my mom benefit.”

Today, Ruth Boone is back to her old self — walking about two miles every day.

She has many of the risk factors under control. She exercises, watches her fat and sugar intake and keeps her weight under control.

You, too, can reduce your risk of heart disease and its cousin, cerebrovascular disease — usually called stroke — by watching the following risk factors. And if you already have some heart problems, you can actually reverse the damage if you tackle all the risk factors together.

High blood pressure — When the heart works overtime because of high blood pressure, it becomes thicker and stiffer. High blood pressure not only increases the risk of stroke and heart attack but also kidney failure and congestive heart failure.

High blood cholesterol — Cholesterol is a fatty substance that can accumulate in blood vessels, blocking normal blood flow. As blood cholesterol rises, so does the risk of heart disease. A blood test will tell you exactly what your cholesterol levels are. A total cholesterol of 200 mg/dL is best, with less than 100 being optimal for the bad kind of cholesterol, called LDL.

High blood sugar — Diabetes seriously increases the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, whether your blood sugar levels are controlled or not, but the risks are even greater if blood sugar is not controlled. About three-fourths of people with diabetes die of some form of heart or blood vessel disease, according to the American Heart Association.

Smoking — Cigarettes contain carbon monoxide, which inhibits red blood cells’ ability to carry oxygen, and nicotine, which stimulates the body to produce adrenaline, making the heart beat faster. A smoker’s risk of developing heart disease is two to four times that of nonsmokers.

Inactivity — Even a 10-minute walk every day helps the heart, Leimbach says, and the more vigorous the activity, the greater the benefits.

CRP — This acronym stands for C Reactive Protein, and this relatively new test is essential in determining your risk for heart disease. CRP is a marker for inflammation in the blood and is very accurate in predicting heart problems and stroke, Leimbach says.

Other kinds of chronic inflammation, such as gum disease, gout and rheumatoid arthritis, all can cause the CRP to rise. No matter where you might be experiencing chronic inflammation, it can affect your arteries.

CRP could be the reason why some people with normal cholesterol levels still have heart attacks. Until now, doctors weren’t so sure whether treating inflammation could actually protect the heart.

At the 2008 American Heart Association annual meeting in New Orleans, researchers presented the results of the recent Jupiter Trial, an international study. People with fairly good cholesterol numbers but with bad CRP numbers were put on a statin with anti-inflammatory properties. The medication, called rosuvastatin or Crestor, lowered the LDL cholesterol levels by about half. The study indicates that inflammation hurts the heart and that treating it with a statin helps.

New statin drugs, along with modifications in diet, exercise and quitting smoking, can nearly eliminate the chance of heart attacks, Leimbach says.

Cardiovascular blockage can start early in life — usually in the teens and 20s — not when people actually have a heart attack. It’s never too early, then, Leimbach says, for people to get serious about their hearts.

“It’s preventable. It’s treatable,” he says. “And it’s the No. 1 cause of death. It’s sad we’re not putting all our efforts into changing that.”

When Ruth Boone had chest pain last September, St. John Medical Center set a record in caring for her — just 20 minutes from “door to balloon.”

In only 20 minutes, she was from her door at St. Simeon’s to the catheterization lab at St. John.

It was a testament to Boone’s early recognition of her symptoms, calling 9-1-1 quickly, a fast EMSA response and a hospital ready to help her immediately.

“St. John is actually the only hospital in the Tulsa area currently receiving EMSA EKGs remotely, as St. John is the only hospital that has invested in the necessary equipment upgrade,” EMSA spokeswoman Tina Wells says.

According to the American Heart Association, the movie version of a heart attack, in which a person grasps his or her chest and falls to the ground, is not so common.

Most heart attacks start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. Too often, victims aren’t sure what’s wrong and wait too long before calling for help.

These are the signs that can mean a heart attack is happening: Chest discomfort

Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain. 


Discomfort in other areas of the upper body
Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.

Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort

Other signs may include:
Breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness

A woman’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain.

Even if you’re not sure what you’re experiencing is a heart attack, tell a doctor. Don’t wait more than five minutes to call 9-1-1.

Medics can begin treatment when they arrive — up to an hour sooner than if someone gets to the hospital by car, according to the American Heart Association.

EMSA staff also are trained to revive someone whose heart has stopped. Patients with chest pain who arrive by ambulance usually receive faster treatment at the hospital, too. It is best to call EMSA for rapid transport to the emergency room.

If you can’t access the emergency medical services, have someone drive you to the hospital right away. If you’re the one having symptoms, don’t drive yourself, unless you have absolutely no other option.

New Technology
A new type of machine has revolutionized the way doctors look at the heart.

Multi-slice computed tomography (CT) scanners are a noninvasive way for doctors to see the coronary arteries and determine whether they’re clogged.

In the past, older types of CT scans have been able to detect calcium in the coronary arteries, but calcium scans aren’t useful in revealing soft plaques that may be blocking the arteries. Both hard and soft plaques can cause narrowing of the heart arteries and possibly lead to a heart attack, says Dr. Gregory Hill, medical director for cardiovascular CT at Saint Francis Hospital. CT angiography, a CT scan of the heart arteries using X-ray dye, can detect both plaques.

In the last few years, however, CT technology has advanced, and today, multi-slice CT machines — basically an X-ray machine that rotates around a patient very quickly while the patient holds his or her breath — can take pictures within milliseconds and in submillimeters.

Computers can put the pictures together as a moving or still image, which then can be rotated on a screen for doctors to examine different areas of the heart. In addition to the CT lab, physicians can even review the images anywhere Internet access is available, Hill says.

Saint Francis has recently installed a multi-slice CT scanner, the Siemens Dual Source CT.

New testing protocols have been developed to accurately acquire images with considerably less X-ray exposure, and newer CT versions are coming out. Siemens announced its latest in November. The new machine, still in testing, is so fast and has such high resolution that patients don’t even have to hold their breath.

Oklahoma Heart Institute now has access to a 64 multi-slice CT scanner. The Oklahoma Heart Institute heart hospital will have a more sophisticated 320 multi-slice CT scanner in about a year, Dr. Wayne Leimbach says.

“It’s absolutely amazing what you can uncover and treat early,” he says.

Hill says that although this technology has many advantages, the tests are not for everyone. The American College of Cardiology and other medical societies have developed recommendations for appropriate use for these tests. For example, a 50-year-old smoker with chest pain and a questionable stress test would be a good candidate. However, a 20-year-old female with fleeting chest pain and no risk factors would not because she would have an extremely low risk for coronary disease; the cause of her pain is most likely chest wall, stomach or digestive problems.

“With such a low risk for heart disease, why expose that patient to X-ray dye or X-ray exposure?” Hill says.

CT angiography has its greatest impact in patients with chest pain for which coronary disease is suspected or in patients with equivocal stress tests, Hill says. These patients often undergo invasive angiography. That procedure requires a catheter to be placed into the artery and fed to the heart to look for arterial blockages. This test also involves IV sedation and a half-day hospital stay. Often, the arteries are found to be normal. CT angiography is a noninvasive way to look at these arteries and requires only 15 minutes to scan the heart, Hill says.

“This technology guides the doctor into fine-tuning management of heart disease,” he says. “It’s a significant tool to better treat our patients.”

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October 2019

The Brush Creek Bazaar is South Tulsa's largest and longest running Arts and Crafts Festival. This year we will host over 70+ vendors, featuring handcrafted items from all around the region. We...

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Studio K (Tulsa) and Zarrow Studio (Broken Arrow(
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Asbury United Methodist Church
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More information

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Telephone: 918-272-2281

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Telephone: 918-289-0330
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Cost: $15

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Cost: $1,250

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Sponsor: Abersons
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Cost: Free

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View map »


Sponsor: TU College of Law
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Cost: FREE

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Sponsor: City of Broken Arrow
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Contact Name: Tanner Wilburn
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Cost: 109

Where:
THE DANCE PLACE
3310 WEST 42ND PLACE
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View map »


Telephone: 918-813-6514
Website »

More information

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Cost: $10 / $15

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Cost: 0.00

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Sponsor: Arabian Horse Association
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Cost: $8 for ages 13+, $4 for ages 3-12. Children 2 and under are free.

Where:
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View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden
Telephone: 918-289-0330
Contact Name: Lori Hutson

More information

Willkommen to four days of Oompah (or Bavaria or Oktoberfest) in Oklahoma  with nationally known German bands, authentic European foods, arts and  crafters MarktHaus, full carnival, and fun...

Cost: $10 at the gate or $7 in advance for adults. Children 12 and under are FREE.

Where:
River West Festival Park
2100 S. Jackson Ave.
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View map »


Sponsor: Resolute PR
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Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
Living Arts of Tulsa
307 East Reconciliation Way
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View map »

More information

Hello, Friends!   Fall is in the air! We are excited to present the 5th Annual Hugo Pumpkin Festival, a fun-filled event featuring a variety of entertaining activities for the whole family....

Cost: $ 6 - $ 20

Where:
Endangered Ark Foundation
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View map »


Sponsor: Endangered Ark Foundation
Telephone: 580-317-8470
Contact Name: Emily
Website »

More information

Go into the woods and experience the return of this fantastic family production with performances in both Tulsa and Broken Arrow. Tulsa Ballet's Hardesty Family Foundation Children's...

Cost: $15

Where:
Studio K (Tulsa) and Zarrow Studio (Broken Arrow(
1212 E 45th Place
Tulsa, OK  74105
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Ballet
Telephone: 918-749-6006
Contact Name: Dan
Website »

More information

Abersons presents Pink Ribbon -- an exclusive, high-fashion fundraiser featuring a runway show by one of the world's hottest designers. Cocktails 6 p.m. | Dinner & Live Auction 7...

Cost: $1,250

Where:
Southern Hills Country Club
2636 E. 61st St.
Tulsa, OK  74136
View map »


Sponsor: Abersons
Telephone: 918-834-7200
Contact Name: Scarlet Henley
Website »

More information

Nimrod Journal and Booksmart Tulsa will host Write Night 2019 at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, October 18th, at the Tulsa Historical Society & Museum. Write Night will feature a reception and...

Cost: $0

Where:
Tulsa Historical Society and Museum
2445 S Peoria Ave
Tulsa, OK  74114
View map »


Sponsor: Nimrod Journal
Telephone: 918-631-3080
Contact Name: Cassidy McCants
Website »

More information

Join us for Nimrod Write Night, the opening event of our Nimrod Conference for Readers and Writers weekend, on Friday, October 18th, at the Tulsa Historical Society, 6:30 p.m. Write Night is...

Cost: free

Where:
Tulsa Historical Society
2445 S. Peoria Ave.
Tulsa, OK  74114
View map »


Sponsor: Nimrod Journal
Telephone: 918-631-3080
Contact Name: Cassidy McCants
Website »

More information

For the first time in 10 years, we will hear new music and get a new tour from three-time GRAMMY® Nominated, American Music Award and Dove Award winning recording artists Avalon. The group will...

Cost: $24.50-$75.00

Where:
Owasso First Assembly
9341 N. 129th E. Ave.
Owasso, OK  74055
View map »


Sponsor: Compassion Live
Telephone: 877-234-3847
Contact Name: Carol
Website »

More information

Originally from West Africa, Kizomba is a partner dance that is a sexy addition to any Latin dance party. It is the fastest Latin growing dance in the U.S. Come and learn the basics plus a few more...

Cost: 109

Where:
THE DANCE PLACE
3310 WEST 42ND PLACE
TULSA, OK  74107
View map »


Telephone: 918-813-6514
Website »

More information

Signature Symphony at TCC celebrates the work of the late Ernie Fields, a Tulsa icon who had a career as a bandleader and trombonist. Fields’ music developed at a time when R&B, swing,...

Cost: $36 - $58

Where:
VanTrease Performing Arts Center for Education
10300 E 81st St
Tulsa, OK  74133-4513
View map »


Sponsor: Signature Symphony at TCC
Telephone: 918-595-7768
Contact Name: Tabitha Littlefield
Website »

More information

Signature Symphony at TCC celebrates the work of the late Ernie Fields, a Tulsa icon who had a career as a bandleader and trombonist. Fields’ music developed at a time when R&B, swing,...

Cost: $36 - $58

Where:
VanTrease Performing Arts Center for Education
10300 E 81st St
Tulsa, OK  74133-4513
View map »


Sponsor: Signature Symphony at TCC
Telephone: 918-595-7768
Contact Name: Tabitha Littlefield
Website »

More information

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The annual US National Arabian & Half Arabian Horse Show returns to Tulsa. You will be able to see over 1700 Arabian and Half Arabian horses competing in many divisions, including Breeding/In Hand...

Cost: 0.00

Where:
Tulsa State Fairgrounds
4145 E 21st St,
Tulsa, OK  74114
View map »


Sponsor: Arabian Horse Association
Telephone: 303-6964500
Contact Name: Kelsey Berglund
Website »

More information

Nimrod Journal will host its annual Conference for Readers and Writers on Saturday, October 19th, at The University of Tulsa. The conference will feature workshops on fiction, poetry,...

Cost: $10-70

Where:
Allen Chapman Student Union
440 S Gary Ave
Tulsa, OK  74104
View map »


Sponsor: Nimrod
Telephone: 918-631-3080
Contact Name: Cassidy McCants
Website »

More information

Nimrod International Journal of Prose and Poetry will host its annual Conference for Readers and Writers at The University of Tulsa on October 19th, 2019.   The Conference offers the...

Cost: $10-$70

Where:
TU's Allen Chapman Student Union
440 S. Gary Ave.
Tulsa, OK  74104
View map »


Sponsor: Nimrod Journal
Telephone: 918-631-3080
Contact Name: Cassidy McCants
Website »

More information

Willkommen to four days of Oompah (or Bavaria or Oktoberfest) in Oklahoma  with nationally known German bands, authentic European foods, arts and  crafters MarktHaus, full carnival, and fun...

Cost: $10 at the gate or $7 in advance for adults. Children 12 and under are FREE.

Where:
River West Festival Park
2100 S. Jackson Ave.
Tulsa, OK  74107
View map »


Sponsor: Resolute PR
Telephone: 903-292-7885
Contact Name: Zachary Johnston
Website »

More information

Hello, Friends!   Fall is in the air! We are excited to present the 5th Annual Hugo Pumpkin Festival, a fun-filled event featuring a variety of entertaining activities for the whole family....

Cost: $ 6 - $ 20

Where:
Endangered Ark Foundation
2657 E 2070 Rd
Hugo, OK  74743
View map »


Sponsor: Endangered Ark Foundation
Telephone: 580-317-8470
Contact Name: Emily
Website »

More information

The Karbach Games and Competitions Arena becomes our own center of the universe Saturday at 2:00 PM for true fans of German bier. Why? Because it is ground zero for the Linde Oktoberfest Bavarian...

Cost: $40

Where:
River West Festival Park
2100 South Jackson Avenue
Tulsa, OK  74107
View map »


Sponsor: River Parks
Contact Name: Ryan Howell

More information

Folk Salad Radio Show celebrates its 20th anniversary with a potluck meal followed by a concert featuring Grammy-nominated singer songwriter John Fullbright and several other Tulsa musicians on...

Cost: $35

Where:
The Stone Church
4225 W. Fifth St.
Tulsa, OK
View map »


Sponsor: Folk Salad Radio Show
Website »

More information

Go into the woods and experience the return of this fantastic family production with performances in both Tulsa and Broken Arrow. Tulsa Ballet's Hardesty Family Foundation Children's...

Cost: $15

Where:
Studio K (Tulsa) and Zarrow Studio (Broken Arrow(
1212 E 45th Place
Tulsa, OK  74105
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Ballet
Telephone: 918-749-6006
Contact Name: Dan
Website »

More information

Abersons presents Pink Ribbon -- an exclusive, high-fashion fundraiser featuring a runway show by one of the world's hottest designers. Cocktails 6 p.m. | Dinner & Live Auction 7...

Cost: $1,250

Where:
Southern Hills Country Club
2636 E. 61st St.
Tulsa, OK  74136
View map »


Sponsor: Abersons
Telephone: 918-834-7200
Contact Name: Scarlet Henley
Website »

More information

America’s LARGEST interactive comedy murder mystery dinner show is now playing at the Hilton Garden Inn Tulsa Broken Arrow! At The Dinner Detective, you’ll tackle a challenging crime while you...

Cost: 59.95

Where:
Hilton Garden Inn Tulsa- Broken Arrow
420 W Albany St.
Broken Arrow, OK  74012
View map »


Telephone: 866-496-0535
Contact Name: The Dinner Detective
Website »

More information

Join us for Nimrod Write Night, the opening event of our Nimrod Conference for Readers and Writers weekend, on Friday, October 18th, at the Tulsa Historical Society, 6:30 p.m. Write Night is...

Cost: free

Where:
Tulsa Historical Society
2445 S. Peoria Ave.
Tulsa, OK  74114
View map »


Sponsor: Nimrod Journal
Telephone: 918-631-3080
Contact Name: Cassidy McCants
Website »

More information

Originally from West Africa, Kizomba is a partner dance that is a sexy addition to any Latin dance party. It is the fastest Latin growing dance in the U.S. Come and learn the basics plus a few more...

Cost: 109

Where:
THE DANCE PLACE
3310 WEST 42ND PLACE
TULSA, OK  74107
View map »


Telephone: 918-813-6514
Website »

More information

Flashes of vivid colors, laughter, dancers whirling around keeping pace with the energetic music, more laughter……this is what you will experience at Guthrie Green this Saturday,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Guthrie Green
111 East M.B. Brady Street
Tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Sponsor: SAPAF
Telephone: 918-665-6419
Contact Name: Mohan Kelkar
Website »

More information

Signature Symphony at TCC celebrates the work of the late Ernie Fields, a Tulsa icon who had a career as a bandleader and trombonist. Fields’ music developed at a time when R&B, swing,...

Cost: $36 - $58

Where:
VanTrease Performing Arts Center for Education
10300 E 81st St
Tulsa, OK  74133-4513
View map »


Sponsor: Signature Symphony at TCC
Telephone: 918-595-7768
Contact Name: Tabitha Littlefield
Website »

More information

Tulsa in Harmony is a congregation of community choirs, lending their voices in one accord. They sing of their hopes and their faith and aspirations of a more unified community and a more unified...

Cost: Free

Where:
Gathering Place
2650 S. John Williams Way E.
Tulsa, OK  74114
View map »


Website »

More information

Where:
ONEOK Field
201 N Elgin Ave
Tulsa, OK
View map »


Website »

More information

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What's New


3.06: Representing District 73 - Regina Goodwin

A conversation with the state representative about issues in her district, plus what it's like being a Democrat in the state legislature. Plus Tulsa Architect Foundation's Amanda DeCort on the Blue Dome District and new music from Count Tutu.

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Oklahoma's Best-Sellers: Oct. 13

Based on total number of book sales at Magic City Books, Best of Books in Edmond, Brace Books and More in Ponca City, and Full Circle Bookstore in Oklahoma City.

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CLIFFDIVER on mental health, Tulsa and their new music

A Q&A with the Tulsa band that describes its sound as "Elevator Emo Pop"

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Oklahoma Best-Sellers: Oct. 6

Based on total number of book sales at Magic City Books, Best of Books in Edmond, Brace Books and More in Ponca City, and Full Circle Bookstore in Oklahoma City.

Comments

Henna Roso on food insecurity and songwriting

Members of the Tulsa funk, jazz band discuss their new album and what drives them

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