Getting to the HEART of Research

By: Kristen Gurnea, Lisa English and Lisa Preciado

February 23, 2023

Provider listening to a woman's heart

In February, we think about hearts not just in honor of Valentine’s Day but because it is American Heart Association Month. This is a great reminder to focus on our personal cardiovascular health. Renown Health helps patients think about their heart health with our world-class providers and cutting-edge treatments through our Cardiovascular Clinical Trials.

“Research serves a vital role in the future care of cardiovascular diseases. Being involved in research will help our medical community to further discover new treatment plans in our quest for life preservation and extension,” Dr. Thomas To, Cardiologist and Researcher at Renown Health.

For example, let’s talk about atherosclerosis. When our hearts are healthy, they are a strong muscle that pumps our oxygen-rich blood through our coronary arteries. Over time, cholesterol and fats can build up in our arteries. This is a condition known as atherosclerosis. This type of plaque buildup in the arteries can lead to a heart attack or stroke if not properly managed. If you are experiencing chest pain or discomfort, shortness of breath or pain in areas of the upper body, these can be the warning signs of a heart attack, and you should call 911.

One contributing factor to atherosclerosis is elevated lipoprotein(a) levels and the accumulation of cholesterol in the arteries, which increases the likelihood of a heart attack or stroke. Lipoprotein(a) is tested separately from the standard panel that is completed for cholesterol management, and while your total cholesterol levels may be in a healthy range, lipoprotein(a) levels can still be elevated.

"Increasingly we are realizing that lipoprotein(a) levels can be used as an important assessment in more carefully delineating an individual's risk of future cardiovascular events and treatment targets" said Dr. Michael Bloch, Lipid Specialist and Researcher at Renown Institute for Heart and Vascular Health.

While it is clear that elevated lipoprotein(a) contributes to atherosclerosis, there are currently no approved medications for reducing cardiovascular disease risk through reducing lipoprotein(a) levels.

This is why Renown Health’s Research Office is proud to offer a phase III clinical trial, called the OCEAN(a) study, to our patients with elevated lipoprotein(a) levels as a care option for management of their heart disease risk. Our teams of expert providers and researchers are here to support you on your healthcare journey.

“I am thrilled to be able to be part of this study and bring opportunities like this to our patients. The highlight of my day is getting to hear life stories from my patients during our study visits,” Lisa Preciado, Primary Clinical Research Coordinator for the OCEAN(a) study said.

Join us in raising awareness around American Heart Month by talking to your provider about lipoprotein(a) at your next appointment.

At Renown Health, our goal is to make it easy for patients to access clinical research as a care opportunity where patients can access a variety of standard care treatment options for their health condition or choose to participate in a clinical trial. For more information about clinical trial opportunities available to you or to ask any questions, contact the Renown Research Office at or 775-982-3646.

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