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RACER proposal aims to reduce heart attack in Renville County by 50 percent

OLIVIA — Digital technology that is making it possible to expand telehealth services at hospitals could have far reaching benefits in the countryside as well.

Dr. Robert Hauser, M.D., and cardiologist with the Minneapolis Heart Institute, is hopeful of seeing the technology play a major role in reducing heart disease and deaths in Renville County.

He is proposing what is being termed the Renville Acute Cardiac Event Reduction project in the county. It would take advantage of modern technology to screen every adult age 35 and older in the county, or an estimated 7,000 people.

A 15-minute, CT evaluation would allow doctors to identify persons with aortic aneurysms, in many cases before the enlargement leads to any apparent symptoms.

Screening and a patient’s own family history would also identify those with elevated cholesterol as a result of familial hypercholesterolemia.

The apparent risk to individuals could be identified, and treatment and preventative care prescribed.

Telehealth technology would allow ongoing monitoring of those with identified risks. Telehealth equipment would allow a patient to visit the local clinic for convenient, follow-up visits at three-month or six-month intervals.

Modern devices, such as iPads and sensors, could be used by patients to send data on the condition of their hearts to specialists while they are driving their tractors, noted Dr. Hauser.

His goal is to reduce acute cardiac events in the Renville County population by 50 percent in 10 years.

“I believe that this can be done,’’ he said.

Tom Cherveny

Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.

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