Recognizing that many forms of heart disease can be hereditary, Community Health Network recently launched a comprehensive cardiovascular genetics center at Community Heart and Vascular Hospital. Designed and led by Community Physician Network clinicians specially trained in cardiovascular medical genetics, Community’s program is the first of its kind in Indiana.
“Recent advances in genetic testing give us the ability to test for multiple genes at a reasonable cost,” stated Glenn Bingle, M.D., Ph.D., medical geneticist with the cardiovascular genetic center. “Now we can offer these tests to families with inherited cardiovascular disease and treat early stage disease before a sudden cardiac event occurs.”
Who can be screened?
The program is designed for patients of all ages who may be at risk for a heritable cardiovascular condition. Genetic testing and counseling helps at-risk patients learn how to prevent or proactively manage their heart disease.
“Cardiovascular disease runs in my family. Through genetic counseling we were able to identify what, if any, future risks were in front of us. Through early detection we have peace of mind and a care plan that is personalized to meet our needs. It is important to be proactive in taking care of your heart. Don’t wait until symptoms appear because then it might be too late. I am proud to take that first step for my family. Will you?”
—Deborah Hill, patient
Signs of hereditary cardiovascular disease
Genetic counseling services can be beneficial to individuals with signs of hereditary cardiovascular disease, including:
- A history of sudden death in the family, including unexplained accidental death such as drowning or car accidents
- A pattern of heart disease being passed through generations in the family
- A personal or family history of fainting or passing out
- Heart disease at a young age in one or more close relatives
- Two or more close relatives on the same side of the family with same or related condition, including relatives who have a pacemaker or who have had heart surgery
- Multiple relatives with related disorders such as diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure or high cholesterol
If any of these key indicators are present, genetic counseling can aid in assessing the risk of heart disease for you and your family.
Counseling evaluation process
The evaluation includes a blood test and the collection of an extensive family medical history from the patient. The genetic counselor carefully analyzes the information to determine the underlying cause of the hereditary disease; identify other family members who could be at risk; and outline personalized treatment based on the patient’s genetic makeup.
The cardiac genetic counseling team brings a high level of compassion to the care they provide, putting an emphasis on psychosocial counseling. They are uniquely trained to support the emotional needs of patients as they learn the results of their genetic tests and the implications for their future health needs.
What is a cardiovascular genetic counselor?
A cardiovascular genetic counselor is a health professional specially trained in cardiovascular medical genetics, genomics, and hereditary cardiovascular diseases. Cardiovascular genetic counselors offer expertise in:
- Extensive collection of pedigree information for thorough risk assessment
- Interpretation of genetic tests and discussion of results
- Facilitating, identification and testing of at-risk family members
- Psychosocial counseling surrounding issues related to heritable cardiovascular diseases
- Review of cost and insurance coverage
Cardiovascular genetics experts
Glenn Bingle, M.D., Ph.D., FACP
Co-director, CARDIOVASCULAR GENETICS PROGRAM
Dr. Bingle has practiced clinical genetics and internal medicine for over 40 years. His broad clinical experiences include serving as the Chief Medical Officer for Community Health Network for 19 years, and supervising the Center for Genetic Counseling within Community Health Network for 35 years. Most recently, Dr. Bingle has served as the Chairman of the Indianapolis Coalition for Patient Safety, a non-profit forum where leaders of area hospitals work together to solve patient safety issues.
Dr. Bingle has held academic positions at Indiana University School of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University and The University of Michigan. He has authored numerous scientific publications in peer-reviewed journals. His research focused on the hereditary factors contributing to cardiovascular disease.
During his extensive career, Dr. Bingle has been recognized with many community and medical honors and awards for his leadership and contributions to medicine, genetics and the Indianapolis community. For example, he served as the Chief Medical Officer for the Pan American Games in 1987. He received both his medical degree and Ph.D. in Medical Genetics from Indiana University.
Waqas Ghumann, M.D., FACC
Co-director, Cardiovascular Genetics program
Dr. Waqas Ghumann is co-director of the cardiovascular genetics program at Community Heart and Vascular Hospital. He is also the executive medical director for disease management and heart failure director for Community Health Network. More about Dr. Ghumann >>
At the cardiovascular genetics center, Dr. Ghumann helps identify and counsel patients and loved ones who have genetically-based heart failure. Each patient’s information is coordinated and integrated into a healthcare program tailored to the individual for optimal care.
In addition to assisting heart failure patients, Dr. Ghumann works closely with his cardiology colleagues to identify and treat other hereditary cardiovascular conditions in patients, such as electrical diseases that cause heart arrhythmia, and inherited diseases such as aortic disease or high cholesterol.
Courtney Eddy, MS, CGC, LGC, MT(ASCP)
Cardiovascular Genetic Counselor
Courtney Eddy joined the Community Health Network team as a cardiovascular genetic counselor in January 2013. She completed her undergraduate training with a B.S. in Clinical Laboratory Sciences, minoring in pre-medicine, from Purdue University in 2003.
Courtney is certified as a medical technologist by the American Society of Clinical Pathology and received a certification in molecular laboratory diagnostics from Michigan State University in 2004. She earned her master of science (M.S.) degree in genetic counseling from the Indiana University School of Medicine in 2007.
She is board certified by the American Board of Genetic Counseling, licensed in the state of Indiana, and a member of the National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC) and the Indiana Network of Genetic Counselors. Prior to joining Community Health Network, Courtney served as a genetic counselor for the Indiana State Department of Health in the Genomics & Newborn Screening Program.