Unprecedented lunchtime lectures offer unique opportunity to meet Porter Regional Hospital heart doctors one-on-one

Unprecedented lunchtime lectures offer unique opportunity to meet Porter Regional Hospital heart doctors one-on-one
By: Stacey Kellogg Last Updated: February 7, 2020

Ten highly-skilled physicians. One month. And a boatload of knowledge that will keep your heart and mind healthy. Oh – and free lunch! In an unprecedented series of events designed to help the community engage one-on-one with heart doctors, Porter Regional Hospital will offer free lunchtime lectures during February, national heart month.

The lectures will feature in-depth knowledge on nine fascinating topics all centered around the cardiovascular system – not just the heart itself. The series is presented by the Porter Physician Group’s Northwest Indiana Cardiology Physicians, specializing in cardiology, electrophysiology, and interventional cardiology.

“A hospital system has to be the leader in the community for spreading knowledge about the prevention and treatment of any disease, but especially heart health,” said Dr. Maya Kommineni, M.D., who spearheaded the month-long series with her colleagues. “We are fortunate that we have a group of cardiologists here who see the value in connecting with the community. It goes back to public health roots – we’ve got to identify the community’s barriers to being heart healthy, and then address those needs, and it all starts with education.”

The lectures will hit on topics some might not consider when they think of a healthy heart. One explores the connection between a healthy heart and varicose veins, which can indicate a more serious circulation or heart problem in some cases. Another physician will explore the connection between mental health and cardiovascular disease. Yet another will delve into how the food we eat is one of the most important ways to prevent heart disease, cancer, and other illnesses.

“This series is intended to hit the entire cardiovascular system – the electrical side of heart health, the structure of the heart itself, veins and circulation, prevention, you name it. And the programs are community-based, easy to understand, and presented in a friendly environment with plenty of opportunity to interact with the physicians and ask questions,” Kommineni said, adding that if you’re looking for a cardiologist, this is a perfect opportunity to meet the doctors in person.

Impressive about the series is the opportunity to learn, directly from the doctors doing the procedures, about the high-tech treatment options available right in Porter County for some of the most serious heart and vascular diagnoses.

Porter Regional Hospital was the first hospital in the entire nation to be recognize by the American College of Cardiology Accreditation Services for Atrial Fibrillation with ESP Accreditation – Version 3. All of the fancy terms aside, it means Porter is a leader in treating electrical disorders of the heart. Doctors there were the first in Northwest Indiana to implant a Watchman device, which reduces chances of a stroke for some patients with atrial fibrillation who want to stop taking long-term blood thinning medications. In fact, one of the lectures in the February series will touch on electrophysiology, and the availability of new mini, wire-free pacemakers as well.

“The breadth of expertise available here is astounding,” Kommineni said. “Each of our ten cardiologists has a niche specialty or interest, and we are predominantly trained in highly-esteemed institutions in Chicago and other major metropolitan areas.”

None of this is by accident. Porter Regional Hospital intentionally recruited a team of physicians so they could offer patients a team approach for every cardiovascular diagnosis.

“When you come to one cardiologist here, you’re essentially getting the expertise of an entire team,” Kommineni said. “Any time of day, I can consult with my colleagues here about any issue for my patients and know that I’m getting an expert opinion. That interaction happens frequently among all of us.”

The lecture series is perfect for people of any age, and Kommineni stressed that the earlier people learn about heart health, the better.

“Don’t wait until you’re 70 or older and have a heart problem. These programs are perfect for women and men in their 30s, 40s, 50s – we are seeing people with heart disease as young as their 20s.”

Likewise, companies across the region who want to encourage their employees to be healthy are encouraged to send their staff members to the lunch sessions.

“It’s during lunch time, so you really aren’t losing any productivity by sending your employees to the sessions,” Kommineni said. “Any time you have a healthier workforce, you have a healthier company, both financially and culturally, so it’s a good fit.”

In addition to the lectures, Porter Regional Hospital is partnering with the American Heart Association to host free CPR training. The training doesn’t net a certification but provides the basics in CPR that anyone should know.

“Most people will not survive a sudden cardiac incident if nobody is able to intervene with CPR before an ambulance can arrive and get them to the hospital,” Kommineni said. “It’s vital that everyone know how to be a first responder in this capacity.”

Below is a list of the full month’s activities. Space is limited so early registration is encouraged. Registration is required ahead of time for all events.

Porter Regional Hospital Free Heart Lecture Series

All lectures are taking place at Porter Regional Hospital’s Community Room, 85 East U.S. Highway 6, Valparaiso.

All lectures start with registration and a complimentary box lunch at 11:30 followed by the lecture at noon.  There will be ample time for questions and answers. Registration is required; space is limited.  Register online at https://heartmonthlunchnlearn.eventbrite.com.

Wednesday, February 5:  The Good, Bad and Ugly of Coronary Artery Disease, Presented by Interventional Cardiologist Anshuman Das, M.D.  

Thursday, February 6: Living a Heart Healthy Life – Preventing Cardiovascular Disease, Presented by Cardiologist Jay Shah, M.D.

Friday, February 7: Solutions for Atrial Fibrillation and Mini Wire-Free Pacemakers: An Introduction to Afib Ablation and Leadless Pacemakers, Presented by Electrophysiologists Raghuram Dasari, M.D. & Mark Dixon, D.O.

Monday, February 10: Easy Options for Aortic Valve Replacement & Stopping Blood Thinners in Atrial Fibrillation: An Introduction to TAVR and Watchman, Presented by Interventional Cardiologist Sandeep Sehgal, M.D.

Tuesday, February 11: Veins, Veins Go Away: Vein Ablations Made Easy, Presented by Interventional Cardiologist Fahd Syed, M.D.

Wednesday, February 19: A Tour of Your Heart: The Future of Advanced Cardiac Imaging, Presented by Cardiologist Michael Wheat, M.D.

Friday, February 21: Hot Topics in Cardiovascular Nutrition & Cancer, Presented by Cardiologist Maya Kommineni, M.D

Monday, February 24: High Blood Pressure and Cholesterol in 2020: How Low Should We Go? Presented by Cardiologist Andrew Putnam, M.D.

Wednesday, February 26: Heart and Mind: Discussing the Relationship Between Cardiac Disease and Mental Health, Presented by Cardiologist Jessica Williams, M.D.

Free CPR Training

Porter Regional Hospital is hosting two American Heart Association CPR training sessions (non-certified).  There is no cost to attend the training.

Interested participants can choose from one of the two following sessions. 

Tuesday, February 18 at noon in the Community Room at Porter Regional Hospital, 85 East U.S. Highway 6, Valparaiso and

Tuesday, February 18 at 5:30 p.m. in the Community Room at Porter Regional Hospital, 85 East U.S. Highway 6, Valparaiso and

Registration is required; space is limited.  Register online at https://porterhealthcpr.eventbrite.com.