Dr. Sohrab Lutchmedial
Proactive medicine: Dr. Sohrab Lutchmedial seeks to reduce cardiovascular risk factors in youth
As an interventional cardiologist, Dr. Sohrab Lutchmedial expects to see many people in their 50s and 60s seeking treatment in the aftermath of a heart attack. Yet over the past decade there's been a shift, so that he and his colleagues now see more and more people in their 30s and 40s.
"The combination of unhealthy diet, lack of exercise and genetic factors is driving a trend to younger people having heart disease," says Dr. Lutchmedial, an associate professor in the Division of Cardiology at Horizon Health Network and Dalhousie Medical School Dalhousie Medicine New Brunswick (DMNB). "We can't wait until people are in their 30s to address their risk—by then it could be too late."
Dr. Lutchmedial wants to know if working with teenagers in schools can help cut heart-disease risk for the next generation. He and his colleagues have launched a research project with grade ten students at two schools in the Saint John NB area to see.
"We start with a baseline assessment of blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, and body mass index," Dr. Lutchmedial says. "We've found a significant number of kids have risk factors for heart disease." These students and their families receive health report cards that recommend follow-up with the family doctor and invite the to take part in a six-month education and exercise program at school.
"If we can demonstrate improvements in the students' overall health and self-esteem, we will appeal to the Government of New Brunswick to roll out a school-based cardiac risk-reduction program across the province," Dr. Lutchmedial says. "This is how we feel we can have the most impact on the future."
For patients in the here and now, Dr. Lutchmedial is involved in numerous clinical trials and outcomes studies. He also collaborates with Dr. Ansar Hassan, Dr. Keith Brunt, Dr. Thomas Pulinilkunnil and Dr. Petra Kienesberger on studies to identify the molecular determinants of heart disease.