Loma Linda University Health’s International Heart Institute has launched a Women’s Heart Health Clinic to help provide specialized cardiac care for women, many of whom are misdiagnosed for cardiovascular condition.
Our women heart experts are able to diagnose and treat different cardiovascular conditions seen in women. Patients are empowered through guided talks with physicians about detecting heart issues and receive resources that will teach them how to advocate for themselves.
The clinic’s founder and director, Purvi Parwani, MD, says women are often ignored when presenting with heart attack symptoms in emergency rooms.
“This clinic provides specialized care to a population that is often ignored even when presenting with classic chest pain," Parwani says. "The clinic also aims to equip women with the diagnosis, treatment and information regarding their complex cardiac conditions."
Heart disease is the No. 1 killer for women in the United States every year, according to the American Heart Association; yet only 56% of women are aware of this statistic, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Women’s Heart Health Clinic, founded in 2019, has already helped saved lives of many women in the Inland Empire, like that of Lisa Cummings, who is an active mother who has returned to skiing. For over nine years, Cummings said she dealt with severe chest pressure that gave her shortness of breath and made it hard to walk more than 10 feet. Although she would rush to the emergency room at the immediate onset of her symptoms, she was often turned away and dismissed as having a panic attack. However, Cummings’ husband told her not to give up and keep looking for another opinion. That search led her to the International Heart Institute.
When she met Parwani, she says she finally felt both seen and heard. Parwani’s expertise in diagnosing women with various heart conditions enabled her to diagnose Cummings with cardiovascular spasms that were brought on by a condition called vasospastic angina. Cummings was placed on the correct medication and was given what she felt like was a second chance at life.
“I would always feel like I was making a mountain out of a molehill because I was always ignored,” Cummings recalls. “It was not until I met Dr. Parwani that I knew I was going to be OK. She listened to everything I said and ran every test I could think of to make sure there were no underlying conditions missed. She gave me hope again.”
Now that Cummings is back with her family, she shares her story to inspire women to never give up and always seek a second opinion. Most importantly, she recommends that women find their first choice of care for heart issues at the Women’s Heart Health Clinic.
If you have a friend or family member who would like to learn more about heart care available at the Loma Linda University International Heart Institute, regardless of gender, visit lluhcardiology.hc.digital.