Duke's cardiology chief on making heart care more accessible

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Manesh Patel, MD, chief of cardiology and co-director of the Duke Heart Center in Durham, N.C., talked about how Duke is making heart care more accessible during a recent episode of the Becker's Healthcare cardiology podcast.

Here is an excerpt from the podcast. Click here to download the full episode.

Editor's note: This response was lightly edited for length and clarity.

Question: How is Duke working to address the needs of communities that may not traditionally have access to heart care?

Dr. Manesh Patel: Part of what we've learned during the pandemic is that there are many parts of our own local communities that need more engagement in their own health. They need to trust or feel confident with their healthcare providers. Partnering with the American Heart Association and other groups, we've started to think about how can we have healthcare or heart care champions. We did this before the pandemic, but they became even more valuable during the pandemic. The largest cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide, that's probably modifiable after tobacco use, is hypertension. Yet something so simple as checking blood pressure, understanding what it means and that it disproportionately affects our Black and brown populations and people of color [is often lacking.]

Additionally, we know that the medications and lifestyle issues associated with reducing blood pressure can be effective, but we have to get there. So reaching out into the community is important. We've done both hypertension heroes and have worked with some of our community champions on just getting blood pressure checked in a variety of different settings. And then we've done initiatives on trying to cook with heart health and to think about how we can engage the community to think about their own care. That progresses to making more informed decisions about whether they do need procedures or other invasive care. Probably the most important innovations coming in the next few years will be around translating both blood pressure management and potentially innovative therapies for blood pressure care and prevention around cholesterol and lipid particles. 

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