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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Event bridges past, present and future of heart care innovations

Exhibit profiles pioneer cardiac work of Indianapolis African-American physician

INDIANAPOLIS – In observance of American Heart Month and Black History Month, Franciscan St. Francis Health and the Indiana Historical Society (IHS) are hosting an event Wednesday, Feb. 27, focused on the past and future of heart care.

Annually, heart disease is the number-one killer in our country for both men and women. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that heart disease accounts for one in every three deaths, an estimated 2,200 every day.

With research indicating 80 percent of heart disease is preventable, Franciscan St. Francis physicians are passionate about preventing and curing heart disease. Symptoms of heart disease, when they do occur, may include shortness of breath, heart murmurs, severe swelling, heart palpitations, chest pain, fainting, frequent falls, fatigue and/or decreased endurance.

The event, which is free and open to the public, gets under way at 5:30 p.m. with a reception in the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center, 450 West Ohio St. Guests can enjoy an intimate viewing of one of IHS’s living history exhibits,You Are There 1939: Healing Bodies, Changing Minds, which offers a window into  the career of African-American physician Harvey Middleton, MD, one of Indiana’s leading cardiologists and innovators in the field of electrocardiography in the early 20th century.

At 6:30 p.m., world-renowned cardiovascular surgeon Marc Gerdisch, MD, will discuss the treatment of heart disease, heart murmurs and the latest the therapies for heart disease during the “Ask the Doctor” Program.

Gerdisch is the chief of cardiovascular and thoracic surgery at the St. Francis Heart Center, a partner of Cardiac Surgery Associates and the surgical director of the Heart Valve Center and Atrial Fibrillation Center at Franciscan St. Francis Health.  He is an independent physician who chooses to practice at Franciscan St. Francis Health, and has presented nationally and internationally on new technology in cardiac surgery and surgical treatment of heart disease.

Qualifying attendees will be able to sign up for a free echocardiogram at a later date at Franciscan St. Francis Health, a $500 value.

To sign up for the event and learn about living a heart healthy life, call 1-877-888-1777 or register online at
Attendance is free, but registration is required because seating is limited.