Center for Preventive Cardiology

Recognized as a leader in cardiac care, the University of Maryland Heart Center offers a prevention and program dedicated to a patient's overall heart health.

If you have a family history of heart disease, are concerned about high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking and other cardiovascular risks, or if you are recovering from a heart attack or surgery, you can benefit from the Heart Center's Preventive Cardiology program.

How Does the Program Work?

The program specializes in prevention, early detection and the treatment of cardiac problems, with an emphasis on rehabilitation. Using state-of-the-art technology, program members provide patients with a comprehensive cardiovascular risk assessment. Based on those results, a skilled, multidisciplinary team devises an individual plan and educates patients on how to improve their heart health, which can include modifying their diet and lifestyle.

This is accomplished with a combination of individual and group therapies such as diet, food preparation, weight control and smoking cessation classes.

In addition to cardiac problems, patients are screened for all types cardiovascular diseases, including blockages and clotting of the legs, neck, heart and kidneys.

Diseases such as hypertension, high cholesterol and diabetes are our targets for prevention. We examine patients much earlier to prevent these conditions. Our staff looks at the entire scope of the vascular system.

Various screenings may include the carotid arteries, coronary arteries, testing for peripheral arterial disease (PAD/PVD), and renal artery stenosis.

What Kind of Testing Occurs During the Initial Visit?

When patients begin the program, they will have a complete physical, as well as advanced blood tests, which can include a total cholesterol test called the lipoprotein test. A complete family history, medical history and lifestyle history will be taken.

Patients may undergo non-invasive diagnostic testing like EKGs and stress tests and unlike any typical doctors office, the patients may have more technologically advanced tests such as 3-dimensional echocardiography and the 16-slice CT scan to get clear and accurate images of the heart.

The University of Maryland is capable of performing both PET imaging and CT angiography. These non-invasive tools are being investigated for the earlier detection of coronary disease. The technology and physicians together provide advanced and cutting-edge images and interpretations.

Following the testing, the patient will meet with a cardiologist, nurse practitioner, endocrinologist, dietician, and exercise physiologist. This multidisciplinary team determines a plan for each patient, addressing their specific needs. A change in diet or lifestyle or an emphasis on exercise may be recommended. Other patients may need to begin some sort of drug therapy.

What Other Unique Screenings and Clinical Trials Do You Offer?

The University of Maryland Heart Center offers non-invasive methods of detecting hardening of the arteries, biochemical tests, and other state-of-the-art tests. One of these, which is called Coronary Calcium Scoring or Heart Scan, can evaluate your risk for heart disease in less than an hour. To help prevent diseases such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes, we use a variety of currently available clinical tests, including CT scanning for the presence of premature calcium deposits within the blood vessels.

The University of Maryland Heart Center offers genetic screening in combination with non-invasive tests to try to identify individuals who may be at increased risk for early heart and aortic disease.

These advanced techniques can help determine the genetic likelihood of developing these conditions.

The Team

Michael Miller, M.D., is director of the Center for Preventive Cardiology at the University of Maryland Medical Center and professor of medicine and epidemiology and public health at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. He is also the president elect of the American Society of Preventative Cardiologists. Dr. Miller is the senior author of an AMA book entitled, "AMA Guide to Preventing and Treating Heart Disease."

Liz Schilling, N.P., is president of the local chapter for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Diseases Nurses Association.

More about Dr. Miller's heart disease research:

For More Information

Are you at risk for heart disease? There is now a non-invasive test available called Coronary Calcium Scoring or Heart Scan that can evaluate your risk in less than an hour.

Dr. Michael Miller compares three popular diets for risk of heart problems in a new study

This page was last updated: August 1, 2014

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