STAFF PHOTO/BROOKE WILLIAMS Dr. Samir Pancholy frequently reminds patients that its never too late to improve their heart health.
Whether its American Heart Month or not, Dr. Samir Pancholy always reminds his patients that its never too late to improve their heart health.
The treatment of heart disease comes down to diet, diet, diet, exercise, and then medicine, in that order, he said. Procedures are like fire extinguishers. You need them when youre in the middle of a crisis, but they dont really change the course of the disease itself.
The general and interventional cardiologist takes care of patients with a broad variety of cardiovascular illnesses and performs procedures like catheterizations and stent placements.
Since 1996, Dr. Pancholy has been practicing in Clarks Summit, later opening North Penn Cardiovascular Specialists in 2007. His procedural practice is mainly in Regional Hospital of Scranton.
For 20 years, he has also been making trips to see patients in Tunkhannock.
Its been a very good journey for me as far as taking care of patients from Wyoming County and providing service to people who live over there, and working with the doctors in Wyoming County, particularly at Tyler Hospital, Pancholy said.
Outside of the office, Pancholy spends time trying to improve the field of cardiology through original inventions.
Were up to 20 different patents now in the USPTO and worldwide, he said. Were going to market our first device that we invented starting hopefully next month, and were just in the process of prototyping our second device. My whole focus is to make the catheterization procedure simpler and safer for patients.
Starting catheterization procedures from the groin used to be a common practice. In 2002, Pancholy learned an alternative method overseas, starting the procedure from the wrist instead.
We realized that one of the problems with the wrist is that sometimes the artery clogs up and shrivels up, he said. It blocks up the access for future procedures.
His device prevents the radial artery from clotting up and losing its patency.
The second invention in the works improves the transit of the catheters.
Our new device will allow the doctors to push these catheters safely through very unfriendly territory, he said. Its called a transporter catheter and its going to have four or five different embodiments.
Over the last two years, Pancholy has also trained in robotics for catheterization and stent procedures.
In December of 2018, he was part of a team overseas that performed a stent placement remotely from 20 miles away. Next year, he anticipates performing a transcontinental stent placement from Europe to India.
One day, he hopes this technology can become more widely applied to help patients in areas such as Tunkhannock.
Right now, our biggest problem in medicine is that we have a big shortage of doctors, and even a bigger shortage of specialized doctors, he said. If you can bring that expertise over the wire into a rural area, then I think the residents will have a lot to gain.
When it comes to heart health, its important to recognize warning signs such as abrupt changes in your ability to perform any type of exertion, Pancholy said. Discomfort in the chest and weak spells should also be red flags.
While various heart issues exist, Pancholy highlighted antherosclerotic heart disease caused by blockage in the arteries as a dangerous issue.
Every person has full control of how much plaque their arties build up by how they treat their body with their diet and their habits, he said.
While its never too late to change the bodys chemistry for the better, he said this education should begin with young children in schools before they grow into unhealthy adults.
Here were talking about health care expenditures as one of the biggest problems, he said. The bigger problem we are ignoring is the declining health of our population. Unless we fix that, nothing is going to fix our health crisis.
Local medical centers have plenty of educational resources, which Pancholy encouraged the public to use.
In acknowledgment of February as American Heart Month, Commonwealth Health has free heart health fairs planned for Tuesday, Feb. 25, from 2 to 6 p.m. at Tyler Memorial Hospital, Tunkhannock (in the Lobby Cafe), Regional Hospital (McGowan Conference Center, General Services Building, 743 Jefferson Ave., Scranton), Wilkes-Barre General Hospital (1st Floor Concourse, Heart & Vascular Institute, 575 N. River St., Wilkes-Barre), and Berwick Hospital Center (in the lobby).
For more information, visit commonwealthhealth.net.
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