Kansas City Woman Becomes WomenHeart Champion and Support Network Coordinator

Graduates from national WomenHeart Science & Leadership Symposium at Mayo Clinic become community leaders, national spokespeople on women's heart health and will provide support for women living with heart disease

KANSAS CITY, Mo., Dec. 10, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Edie Marie Battaglia of Kansas City recently became a WomenHeart Champion after graduating from the prestigious annual WomenHeart Science & Leadership Symposium at Mayo Clinic. Battaglia is one of 30 women from around the country – all heart disease survivors, from across the country and ages 25 to 72 – who was selected from a nationally competitive application process to attend the three day symposium and return home as a community volunteer leader to educate, advocate, and support her community on the issue of women and heart disease – the nation's leading cause of death for women. WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease is the nation's only organization representing the 42 million women living with or at risk for heart disease. Battaglia is sponsored by Saint Luke's Mid America Heart Institute, a member of the WomenHeart National Hospital Alliance.

"The Class of 2013 is extremely impressive," said Lisa M. Tate, Chief Executive Officer of WomenHeart, headquartered in Washington, DC.  "These 30 women are living with the most devastating of chronic diseases, and yet have made a conscious decision and selfless commitment to help other women live heart healthy lives and support those currently living with heart disease by establishing a WomenHeart Support Network in their community."

"Edie Marie is an amazing voice and educator for heart disease," said Tracy L. Stevens, M.D., Saint Luke's Mid America Heart Institute cardiologist. "She can speak first hand to  the importance of providing support, education and advocacy to the 42 million women living with or at risk for heart disease."

In May 2012, Battaglia was working at home when she began to feel a strange discomfort in her chest. She had eaten lunch at her desk that day and at first thought it might be indigestion.   She tried taking Maalox.  When that provided no relief, she changed her bra, changed her shirt and tried stretching and then an ice pack but the pain remained.  Her neighbor, a nurse practitioner, advised her to take baby aspirin which she did.  Then her jaw began to ache at which point her neighbor advised her to go immediately to the hospital.  Her husband rushed her to Saint Luke's North Hospital where she was shocked to learn she was in the midst of a heart attack.  Edie Marie lost her mother, father and brother all at a young age to heart disease and is now a tremendous advocate for educating women about the dangers and warning signs of heart disease.

"I am thrilled and honored to represent this very important campaign to fight heart disease in women," said WomenHeart Champion Battaglia.  "As my experience demonstrates, educating women is critical.  As women we too often try to fix things ourselves or overlook important warning signs because we don't want to inconvenience anyone or think that we don't 'have time' to check things out. I look forward to continuing to spread this vitally important message here in Kansas City with a WomenHeart Support Network to women living with heart disease, educating the community and supporting all women in their quest to live a heart healthy life."

By becoming a national volunteer WomenHeart Champion, Battaglia becomes one of 650 inspirational women from across the country to be honored with the WomenHeart Champion title. These women, the "boots on the ground" in the fight against heart disease, will lead WomenHeart Support Networks for women living with heart disease in their community, and are available to speak to community, state, and national audiences about the prevalence of heart disease in women and how it is so often under diagnosed and mistreated.  In addition, WomenHeart advocates for prevention, early and accurate diagnosis, and proper treatment of heart disease, and WomenHeart Champions run the only national community based, patient led network of support groups for women living with heart disease.

The WomenHeart National Hospital Alliance is a partnership comprised of hospitals committed to advancing women's heart health. NHA seeks to ensure that women heart disease patients in every community have access to information, education and patient support services to help women live heart healthy lives.

"Heart disease can be a very emotionally and physically isolating condition for women," said Tate. "Our network of support groups enables women to have the camaraderie and support they need to make the lifestyle changes necessary to live a heart healthy life."

WomenHeart was founded in 1999 and the Science & Leadership Symposium at Mayo Clinic was founded as an integral part of WomenHeart in 2002.

Saint Luke's Mid America Heart Institute has been a part of  WomenHeart since 2002, and is a Founding Member of the WomenHeart National Hospital Alliance.

WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease

WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease is the nation's only patient centered organization serving the 42 million American women living with or at risk for heart disease – the leading cause of death for women. WomenHeart is solely devoted to advancing women's heart health through advocacy, community education, and the nation's only patient support network for women living with heart disease. WomenHeart is both a coalition and a community of thousands of members nationwide, including women heart patients and their families, healthcare professionals, and health advocates, all committed to helping women live longer, healthier lives. To join or donate, visit www.womenheart.org.

About Saint Luke's Mid America Heart Institute

Saint Luke's Mid America Heart Institute, a member of Saint Luke's Health System and a teaching affiliate of the University of Missouri-Kansas City, is one of the preeminent cardiovascular programs in the country. Its legacy of innovation began more than 25 years ago when it opened as the nation's first heart hospital. Since then, the Heart Institute has earned a world-wide reputation for excellence in the treatment of heart disease, including interventional cardiology, cardiovascular surgery, imaging, heart failure, transplant, heart disease prevention, women's heart disease, electrophysiology, outcomes research, and health economics. With more than 50 full-time board certified cardiovascular specialists on staff, the Heart Institute offers one of the largest heart failure/heart transplant programs in the country, has the largest experience with transcatheter aortic valve replacement in the Midwest, and is a global teaching site for the newest approaches to opening challenging blocked arteries using minimally invasive techniques.

SOURCE Saint Luke's Mid America Heart Institute



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