Cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and stroke, is the leading cause of death in Mississippi, accounting for over a third of all deaths in the state. Mississippi’s CVD mortality rate remains the highest in the nation.
The first research study of heart disease in the south was conducted at Greenwood Leflore Hospital in 1953. The Greenwood chapter of the American Heart Association’s 1954 Chairman W.H. Montjoy reported to the Greenwood Commonwealth then, “the state organization allocated sufficient funds for the purchase of equipment to be used at Greenwood Leflore Hospital in a constant temperature room for the study of arterial and heart diseases”. According to the same 1954 article, “Despite the advances made in research and education, diseases of the heart still remain the greatest killer of all mankind” (Greenwood Hospital, First in South in Heart Disease Study, Greenwood Commonwealth, 1954.)
Today in the year 2012, studies still show that, cardiovascular diseases, and stroke, are ranked as the number one killer of people especially in the Delta region. Now we know that obesity and diabetes remain the close second. Our traditional southern eating habits and lifestyles are maintaining these same traditional health problems. Under the Greenwood Leflore Hospital mission statement worn on every single employee, doctor and volunteer in the hospital, is a powerful message which states that the hospital’s mission is to “provide high quality, state of the art, cost effective health care services in partnership with its medical staff to the residents of Leflore County and North Central Mississippi. The hospital is committed to improving health status of area residents by providing educational, preventative, diagnostic and therapeutic health care services”. The hospital is doing just as the mission statement says.
Beginning in 2004, major medical changes began to take place at Greenwood Leflore Hospital. With the epidemic of heart disease still wiping out the good people of the region, the hospital with its mission in mind, began to develop the current cardiac program in a more thorough attempt to offer its patients the utmost in cardiac care locally.
First, the hospital purchased a 32/67 slice CT scanner, the first in the region. This CT scanner is radiology equipment that when in use on the human heart, shows the heart on a computer screen beginning at 32 different angles and having the capabilities to show the heart at 64 different angles. Being able to view the most vital organ in such depth allows Radiologist and cardiologist to pin point the most minute of problems.
Second, the hospital’s rehabilitation center became a certified cardiac rehab. Those who had undergone heart surgery elsewhere could be rehabilitated in Greenwood by certified experts in cardiac rehabilitation.
In preparation for the recruit of a very important team member, the cardiac catheterization lab was reopened near surgery in late summer 2005. Cardiologist, Abhash Thakur, of the Leflore Specialty Clinic began performing heart catheterizations in the lab in September of 2005. Dr. Thakur was called upon daily to assist other physicians by giving consults for patients in the hospital with heart problems. These are patients that in the past would have been sent out of town due to the lack of specialty doctors in Greenwood.
It seems that this plan to provide the patients of our region with the ammunition to battle heart disease was carefully orchestrated, and how fortunate. Greenwood Leflore Hospital is diagnosing, treating and rehabilitating cardiac patients daily, as well as continuing education to the residents on preventative measures they may take.