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In The News

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Accredited & Recognized
2012 The Paragon Heart Group has became accredited in both Nuclear Cardiology and Echocardiography as well as been NCQA recognized.

Paragon Heart Adds New Nuclear Heart Imagining System
The latest in technology supports, fast diagnosis of heart disease in a procedure that is comfortable and safe for patients.

Alliance, Ohio - January 2011 - The Paragon Heart Group has acquired an advanced nuclear imaging system that helps doctors accurately diagnose heart disease while keeping patients comfortable.

Ventri

The Ventri™ nuclear imaging system from GE Healthcare uses the latest in technology to create the highest-quality images available, helping doctors quickly assess the location, extent and severity of possible blockage(s) of heart arteries.

For many patients, nuclear heart studies can be a trying experience. The Ventri system, however, is designed with multiple patient comfort features. Small detector heads and a slim gantry give patients a clear view of their surroundings, avoiding the anxiety of feeling "closed in". A specially designed table accommodates patients up to 440 pounds and lowers to 21 inches - making it easy for patients to get on and off. And VentriCare™ arm and leg supports are designed to help patients remain in a natural position and stay comfortable throughout the procedure.

These unique comfort features help the patient to feel more comfortable and secure during their scan. This can mean less movement, which ultimately can lead to better image quality.

Information from the Ventri exam helps doctors decide on the best treatment and can postpone or reduce the need for surgical procedures or more expensive and more invasive diagnostic tests.

Nuclear cardiology studies are important for diagnosing heart disease, the single leading cause of death in the U.S. today. According to the American Heart Association, about one in three deaths are attributed to cardiovascular disease, and an estimated 1.2 million Americans will have a heart attack this year. As the baby boom generation ages, these numbers are expected to rise.

Ventri"Our Ventri nuclear cardiology system raises the level of care that our physicians can provide for heart patients," says Fidelis O. Mkparu, MD. "We selected this system because its ergonomic design is focused around patient comfort. The more comfortable our patients are, the less they move during exams, and therefore, the better the quality of the images we receive to make our diagnosis."

"With the Ventri system, we are raising the level of excellence in healthcare in our area," add Mkparu. "We are proud to be on the leading edge of advancing the quality of heart care for local residents."

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW

GE Ventri™ Nuclear Cardiology Imaging System
The Ventri™ all-digital nuclear cardiology imaging system is compact and patient-friendly for cost effective imaging and improved patient care. With GE's exclusive Elite detector technology, Ventri provides unprecedented image quality for a wide range of nuclear cardiology studies.

Diagnosis
The Ventri system enables physicians to determine the location, extent and severity of decreased blood supply to the heart quickly, accurately and cost effectively. They can see where disease is located, distinguish it from normal tissue. For the exam, the patient is injected with a specific radioactive substance that collects in the tissue to be studied. The patient is then scanned with the highly sensitive Ventri camera, generating the images. The information helps physicians decide on the proper course of treatment - eliminating guesswork. A sound diagnosis using the Ventri system can postpone or reduce the need for surgical procedures or more expensive and more invasive and risky diagnostic tests.

Patient Comfort
The more comfortable patients are, the better they can hold still during the exam, and the better the image quality. The Ventri system is designed with comfort in mind. Its patient-friendly features include:

  • A specially designed table and a large 28-inch bore to accommodate patients up to 440 pounds.
  • A table mechanism that lowers to 21 inches - wheelchair height - making it trouble free for patients to get on and off.
  • Table handles positioned to offer greater stability while getting on and off the table.
  • A bed design that maximizes patient comfort.
  • Arm and leg supports, specially designed to reduce patient joint strain and allow for natural positioning.
  • Small detector heads and a slim gantry, giving patients a clear view of their surroundings, avoid the anxiety of feeling "closed in".

Relevant Statistics
Nuclear cardiology studies are important for diagnosing heart disease, the single leading cause of death in the U.S. today. According to the American Heart Association:

  • About one in three deaths are attributed to heart disease.
  • An estimated 1.2 million Americans will have a heart attack this year.
  • More than 45 precent of heart attacks result in death.

About GE Healthcare
GE Healthcare provides transformational medical technologies that will shape a new age of patient care. GE Healthcare's expertise in medical imaging and informational technologies, medical diagnostics, patient monitoring systems, disease research, drug discovery and biopharmaceuticals is dedicated to detecting disease earlier and tailoring treatment for individual patients. GE Healthcare offers a broad range of services to improve productivity in healthcare and enable healthcare providers to better diagnose, treat and manage patients with conditions such as cancer and cardiovascular diseases.

Fidelis O. Mkparu, MD, FACC: in pursuit of excellence by Robert Janek
Fidelis Mkparu, MD, is a perfectionist, and he’s proud of it. So is his staff at The Paragon Heart Group, where standards are set purposefully high.

"From the time I was a young boy, in whatever I did, I wanted to be the best possible. That was always my approach to life," said Dr. Mkparu, who is board-certified in internal medicine and cardiovascular diseases, with special certification in nuclear cardiology. "So, I named my practice Paragon, fully intending for it to be (as defined by Merriam-Webster) 'a model of excellence' in cardiovascular healthcare delivery."

Born and raised in Onitsha, Nigeria, Dr. Mkparu was the youngest of five children. After completing high school, he immigrated to the United States to obtain a college education.

"Going to college was nonnegotiable with my parents," laughed Dr. Mkparu. "I always knew I was going to college; there were no options there. Everyone in my family attended college."

Initially, he considered becoming an engineer—first a bioengineer, then a chemical engineer, then a mechanical engineer. After losing a cousin to meningitis in 1972, he changed his mind and decided to pursue medicine as a career.

"My cousin lived with my family most of his life. His death was due to inadequate care, and that had a direct impact on me. I thought if I had been a doctor, things would have been different," Dr. Mkparu explained.

After graduating from State University of New York (SUNY) in Albany, he spent two years as a Ph.D candidate in Biophysics at Wayne State University before being accepted into the State of Tennessee Medical Scholar Program at Meharry/University of Tennessee Medical School. He graduated in 1987. An internship and residency at Indiana University were followed by back-to-back clinical and research fellowships in cardiology at University of Connecticut Health Center and in advanced cardiac imaging at Harvard Medical School. He remained at Harvard and Massachusetts General Hospital as an attending cardiologist until 1995.

"I was part of Harvard’s medical system in academic medicine," he said. "I’d make rounds with the resident physicians and never really get to know the patients, because we didn’t see the same ones every day. In a way, I was disillusioned. That wasn’t the way I wanted to practice medicine. I wanted to be more involved, to have more one-on-one interaction with patients."

As a result, Dr. Mkparu decided to move to Ohio and, within one year, opened The Paragon Heart Group as a solo practitioner so he could be totally involved with his patients’ care—in the office and in the hospital. By doing so, he felt he could better maintain continuity of care. He also felt that people would prefer this more personalized approach. He was right.

"Now, his patients demand it that way. He really doesn’t have any choice. They’re used to it, and they won’t settle for anything else," laughed Christine Dickey, operations manager and nuclear cardiology technologist for The Paragon Heart Group.

"Yes, that’s true. And I love being a solo practitioner, because it makes my life easier," Dr. Mkparu said. "Some people wouldn’t think that. They’d think it would be very difficult. But it’s not. I know most of my patients, and because of the way we take care of them, they hardly ever have to be admitted to the hospital."

Currently, Paragon has an active patient base of about 14,000 patients which Dr. Mkparu sees at two locations—in Canton and in Alliance, where Paragon Heart has a 5,000 square-foot freestanding cardiology center. Equipped with all of the latest technology, it is a veritable one-stop shop for cardiac testing and treatment. In-office services include

  • comprehensive lab testing,
  • advanced pacemaker clinic,
  • ICD clinic,
  • nuclear stress testing,
  • 2D and 3D echocardiography,
  • 48-hour Holter monitoring,
  • 30-day event recording,
  • coumadin clinic,
  • 24-hour blood pressure monitoring, and
  • biventricular pacing clinic for heart failure patients who need closer monitoring.

"Since Dr. Mkparu started this practice, he has added a progression of services, most of which came about as a result of patients requesting them," said Mrs. Dickey, pointing out that Paragon Heart was the first to introduce online 3-dimensional echocardiography to Stark County a few years ago and is still the only place in Alliance that offers this today. In addition, Paragon Heart’s echocardiography lab was the first in Alliance to be accredited. Paragon was also the first in Stark County to be accredited for nuclear cardiology imaging by ICANL.

"Our patients want to have the testing done here, because they feel more comfortable with our staff and with our office environment," she said. "They also feel that our location is convenient, so Dr. Mkparu invests in technology as needed."

With the latest technological advancements, however, some patients with chronic cardiac problems don’t need to come to the office frequently. Instead, they can be remotely monitored.

"Blood pressure, weight, heart rhythm, fluid status... can all be remotely monitored, and downloaded into a patient electronic medical record system through which we can access this information," said Dr. MkParu. "If the patient has gained weight or has arrhythmias or other findings outside the parameters we’ve set for that specific patient, an alert is sent directly to our printer. This makes management easier for patients, especially those with heart failure or cardiac arrhythmias."

He understands that technology will continue to advance, but he’s willing to change with the times and routinely updates computer software, printers and fax machines so reports can automatically be received. These are small investments compared to the nuclear gamma camera he purchased several years ago.

As for the future, Dr. Mkparu predicts more molecular management of heart disease—the use of stem cell injections, for example, to develop new blood vessels for nonsurgical bypass of blocked arteries.

"We will have to eventually devise a system to image angiogenesis... to follow the progress of injected stem cells and determine if they’re actually making new blood vessels. So, that may be on the horizon for imaging," he said.

When asked what’s on the horizon for Paragon Heart, Dr. Mkparu and Mrs. Dickey both agreed that it will continue to grow—mostly as a result of physician referral, but also as a result of self-referral.

"It’s very interesting that, in Alliance and in Canton, everyone knows everyone else. So if you take good care of someone, they tell their friends and their relatives and their neighbors," said Dr. Mkparu. "And we do take excellent care of our patients. We’re really dedicated, but our patients don’t hear it from us. They see it in our actions."

He does not feel that by being a solo practitioner he’s losing anything. In fact, he feels he’s gaining a lot, because he really knows his patients very well. And they know him.

"Our patients like knowing that the physician who takes care of them in the office is the same one who will take care of them in the hospital," said Mrs. Dickey. "It’s all about continuity of care."

"My patients believe in me and trust in me. That's why I work so hard to try to provide excellent care to my patients," said Dr. Mkparu. "I really love what I do."

Paragon Heart Group is located at 2565 S. Union Avenue in Alliance. A second office is located at 2525 Thirteenth Street NW in Canton. For more information, call 330-823-0894 in Alliance or 330-454-5521 in Canton.

Top Dog [ click to view ]
We've done it. The Paragon Heart Group is the first and only ICANL Accredited Nuclear Cardiology Laboratory in Stark County. In fact, we're one of the first in the United States to be recognized with this honor. The rigorous demans of meeting the qualifications means that you won't find a better practice to entrust the care of your heart to.

Be There [ click to view ]
With state-of-the-art diagnostics, individualized programs and unparalleled dedication–you can rest assured that The Paragon Heart Group will help you be there to experience life's little joys. Take control by contacting us now.

Decisions, Decisions [ click to view ]
The health industry has–once again–acknowledged The Paragon Heart Group's commitment to combatting the leading cause of death in the United States, cardiovascular disease. Our latest success is having been awarded the ICAEL's Accredited Echocardiography Laboratory status. Combined with the caring hands of our "people" people, you'll soon know why the decision to visit Paragon is a smart choice.

Where Your Heart Is [ click to view ]
Stay close to home for the care of your heart. The Paragon Heart Group serves your community with industry-leading patient programs right here in your corner of the world-Alliance. Our home is your home and like a trusted friend, you will always find our door open. Begin your journey to recovery by calling now.