“Affair of the Heart” event to feature internationally recognized heart disease survivor and author


“Affair of the Heart” event to feature internationally recognized heart disease survivor and author 

Mellanie True Hills, founder of StopAfib.org, will keynote Desert Regional Medical Center’s free seminar and health fair. 

PALM SPRINGS –  Desert Regional Medical Center’s annual Affair of the Heart event will feature a keynote presentation by Mellanie True Hills, a heart disease survivor and author of the multiple award-winning book, “A Woman’s Guide to Saving Her Own Life: The HEART Program for Health & Longevity.”

After emergency heart surgery and a subsequent close call with stroke due to atrial fibrillation, the most common form of irregular heart beat, Hills left her high-tech executive life to devote her time to helping others avoid heart disease and stroke. She went on to found the Web sites www.stopafib.org and www.atrialfibrillationblog.com.

“What you don’t know about atrial fibrillation could kill you – or a loved one. That’s why I founded StopAfib.org — to raise awareness about this devastating but little-known condition,” Hills said. “Programs like Affair of the Heart at Desert Regional Medical Center are a vitally important part of educating and raising awareness, and I’m happy to be coming to share my experience.”

Affair of the Heart will be held from 9 am to 12:30 pm Friday Feb. 14 — Valentine’s Day — on the campus of Desert Regional Medical Center, 1150 N. Indian Canyon Drive. The free event will feature physician lectures, heart health screenings, heart-healthy recipe demonstrations and refreshments. Call (800) 491-4990 to RSVP.

Atrial fibrillation (or AFib) is the most common type of heart rhythm disorder and affects more than 2.7 million people in the United States, according to the American Heart Association. People with AFib are five times more likely to have a stroke.1 AFib occurs when the heart’s electrical system has a problem that causes the heart to quiver. When this occurs, the heart cannot pump blood properly throughout the body.

Hills will team up for a presentation with Desert Regional’s Hetal Bhakta, MD, a board-certified cardiac electrophysiologist, a physician who specializes in the electrical system of the heart. The likelihood that someone will have AFib increases with age, and treatment options become more important in regions like the Coachella Valley which have large numbers of retirees.

“In some cases, AFib can cause chest pain but some people may not feel any symptoms,” Dr. Bhakta said. “A lot of the episodes are silent, so these patients don’t know they have atrial fibrillation. 

Atrial fibrillation is often treated with drugs to treat the arrhythmia and other medications to prevent blood clots from forming. Some patients may be candidates for a procedure called cardiac catheter ablation, which may reduce or eliminate the need for medications.

In catheter ablation, a cardiologist will determine the location of the heart cells that are causing the electrical problem — the circuits that are misfiring — and eliminate those cells using special technology inserted into the heart through a catheter.

“When people first start having symptoms, they can take medication and wait and see, but really, it’s best to do the ablation early,” Dr. Bhakta said. “If we treat it at the beginning, there is just one area to treat. If you let it run rampant, you run the risk of having other circuits that are damaged. If we treat early, we’ve virtually taken care of the problem.”

This summer, Desert Regional Medical Center installed new equipment — the Epoch System by Stereotaxis — which promises to make the ablation procedures easier for physicians and more accurate for patients. Rather than push a catheter manually through a patient’s blood vessels, with Stereotaxis navigation the cardiologist can steer the catheter remotely while watching its progress on a high-definition computer screen. Powerful magnets lock onto the tip of the catheter and allow it to be steered. This provides excellent precision and safety, as well as reduces the use of radiation exposure because the physician needs to take fewer X-ray pictures than manual ablation methods would require. 

Affair of the Heart

Friday, February 14, 2014

9 am to 12:30 pm at Desert Regional Medical Center, 1150 N. Indian Canyon Drive (Parking is in the main deck. Look for the tent to the north of our Sinatra Tower at the hospital.)

9 am: Registration and Health Screenings. Desert Regional will offer free blood pressure, blood glucose and body mass index screenings for attendees. Peruse information from community organizations. Then take time for a souvenir photo at our photo booth. 

9:30 am: Living with Heart Failure. Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) is a long-term condition that more than 5 million people live with every day2 in the U.S. Learn important information on how to avoid this chronic disease as well as important steps to take if you or a loved one is diagnosed. Lecture by Desert Regional’s CHF Nurse Practitioner Denise Rigney.

10 am:Heart Healthy Cooking Demonstration. The chefs from Desert Regional’s Desert Palms Café will demonstrate a heart-healthy recipe you can take home.

10:15 am: Heart Healthy Stretch. Take a quick stretch with an exercise you can do right in front of your seat. Short session led by Tina Louise Moreno, who is a certified Fit After Fifty Trainer and Respiratory Technician at Desert Regional.

10:30 am: Diet Evolution. Dr. Steven Gundry, a cardiothoracic surgeon at Desert Regional who has gained national recognition as a diet and wellness evangelist will share his secrets to heart and brain health through a better diet.

11:30 am:Stop Afib. Author, health advocate and heart-disease survivor Mellanie True Hills teams up with Desert Regional’s Dr. Hetal Bhakta to talk about atrial fibrillation, the most common type of heart rhythm disorder, and what you can do to control, and sometimes cure, this disease which is increasingly common as we age.


Contact:Richard Ramhoff
Director of Marketing
[email protected]      

Or Linda Stevens
[email protected]