Sarah Goodwin

Kathi Ovnic
Holly Korschun
December 9, 1998

THE HEART OF THE MATTER: The Emory HeartWise Risk Reduction Program

Did your parents have heart problems? Do you have high blood pressure or elevated cholesterol? Have you undergone angioplasty or even suffered a heart attack? The Emory HeartWise Risk Reducation program is designed to help you reduce whatever risks you have for cardiovascular disease and put you on the road to your optimum heart health.

"We see a lot of people with strong family histories of heart disease who are either referred by their doctors for expert counseling or who decide to come in on their own for that kind of information," says Laurence Sperling, M.D., director of preventive cardiology at The Emory Clinic.

At the initial patient visit, a HeartWise Risk Reduction cardiologist completes a history and physical exam. An assessment is conducted to check for and treat cardiovascular risk factors (including high cholesterol, diabetes and high blood pressure) that can contribute to heart and blood vessel problems. For some people, stress tests and ultra fast CT scans may be indicated to detect coronary disease at an early state.

Utilizing a fully-equipped aerobic facility at The Emory Clinic at 1525 Clifton Rd., the program incorporates exercise physiologists and personal trainers who tailor a baseline exercise program for interested patients. It also includes nutrition and dietary counselors who advise patients on specific ways to take charge of their heart health. Participants are also encouraged to learn to change their behavior by attending a five week, 20-hour behavior modification program that combines group discussions with lectures on healthy living, low-fat cooking, exercise, yoga, stress reduction, smoking cessation, anger management and more.

A secondary component of the HeartWise Risk Reduction Program is designed for post-hospital patients who have had angioplasty or experienced a heart attack, stroke or other incident of circulatory or heart disease. Selected patients who have experienced a coronary event are placed in a monitored exercise program. EKG machines track their heart rate and rhythm during the rehabilitation process so participants can increase their fitness level safely.

Dr. Sperling envisions the Emory HeartWise Risk Reduction Program as more than an innovative way to reduce heart attack risks ­ he sees it as the future of heart health. "Right now, medicine addresses patients who have heart disease after they have had heart attacks, strokes or chest pain. Prevention of cardiovascular disease not only is less costly, but it's the right thing to do. And it's clearly the best approach to the disease itself. Preventive cardiology is the wave of the future."

For more information about the Emory HeartWise Risk Reduction Program, call Emory HealthConnection at 404-778-7777.


EMORY HEALTHCARE incorporates all of Emory's health services into an integrated whole. It includes The Emory Clinic and its 18 health centers, Emory University Hospital, Crawford Long Hospital of Emory University and Emory-Adventist Hospital at Smyrna, The Wesley Woods Center of Emory University, Inc. and The Emory Children's Center.

For more general information on The Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center, call Health Sciences Communication's Office at 404-727-5686, or send e-mail to

Copyright ©Emory University, 1998. All Rights Reserved.