An Evening With the Experts — heart experts, that is — drew such a crowd the first time that the doctors returned for another session April 18 at Cafe Thirty-A.



The event was free and focused on heart health, along with an update given on Sacred Heart Hospital's expanded heart and vascular services.



As attendees nibbled on heart-healthy hors d'oeuvres and sipped wine, they had an opportunity to listen and ask questions of the panel of heart experts from SHHEC.



The experts consisted of interventional cardiologist Ajay Labroo, who moderated the discussion; board certified electrophysiologist Dr. Francis Le; board certified cardiologist Angel Morrobel; and board certified cardiologist Stephen Phlaum.



The doctors fielded questions from the audience and talked of the differing symptoms for men and women experiencing heart problems or a heart attack. Being aware of these differences could be key, as the No. 1 killer of women is heart disease.



The classic symptom for a man is chest pains. For women, however, the pain might be chest pains, but could manifest itself between the shoulders in the back, or in the jaw, or upper arm. These pains may be accompanied by nausea in men or women.



The doctors discussed key ingredients that can bring on heart attacks, such as high blood pressure.



Some may not know that when checking blood pressure, especially if heart problems are evident, it is best to check blood pressure readings in both arms, and while sitting and standing.



Another excellent indicator of blood pressure health is through an eye examination where a specialist looks at the back of the eyes.



The experts recommended keeping blood pressure under control by watching your weight, hormone levels, and salt intake.



Snoring and sleep apnea can also affect blood pressure.



In testing for heart disease, Labroo said stress tests are still the first line of defense, and that no cardiac caths are performed unless necessary — but everything depends on the individual.



Dr. Labroo said Sacred Heart is proud that the whole battery of procedures to detect heart disease is now done at Sacred Heart. He especially bragged on his associate, Dr. Le, saying that with Le's credentials, he could be on staff at John Hopkins Hospital.



SHHEC is a 50-60 bed hospital that is unique, said Labroo.



"Most things we do here are not done in hospitals this size," he said.



The panel also addressed a question from the audience about diabetes, saying that men and women might also exhibit different symptoms with the onset of diabetes. Some of the classic symptoms there might include fatigue, swelling of the ankles, and/or shortness of breath.



Labroo said the hospital is trying to get funding for more equipment to detect diabetes.



Since scarring and calcium deposits in the heart tissues are a problem in diabetics, such could lead to a need for a pacemaker.



Sacred Heart is a faith-based organization and spent $34 million last year on free care.



SHHEC Marketing Coordinator Sarah Bailey said the hospital held the first Heart Talk in February due to requests from residents living along 30A. The first Heart Talk drew such a crowd that people had to be turned away. She said there are no immediate plans to hold another on 30A in the near future unless more requests come in. More education talks may be held on a different topic, however.



For more information, call 278-3030.