CCE Cardiometabolic disorders: University of Mississippi

September 18, 2009

Mississippi leads the nation in heart disease deaths. To combat the problem, the University of Mississippi Medical Center opened a Cardiometabolic Clinic in 2007 that provides comprehensive care backed by leading-edge research.

To handle the numerous complications of interrelated cardiometabolic disorders, the clinic has implemented a program model that incorporates clinical pharmacists who see patients with physicians.

"One of the things that the pharmacist can do is work in conjunction with the MD to not only medically maximize these patients, but to do it while minimizing risk of drug interactions and adverse effects," says Daniel Riche, PharmD, pharmacy director of the clinic and a certified diabetes educator. "It acts as a nice checks-and-balances on all ends of the care system, which, ultimately, really improves patient outcomes."

In addition to providing a new model of care, the clinic is conducting ongoing clinical trials, many of which focus on the role of dietary supplements in treating obesity, peripheral artery disease, and Framingham risk factors. Supplements used in recent trials include hoodia, mulberry extract, and vitamin D.

The Cardiometabolic Clinic provides "one-stop shopping" for patients and eases the burden on primary care physicians, particularly those in rural areas where obesity and cardiovascular disease are chronic problems, says Honey East, MD, associate professor of medicine and a clinic physician. "That's where it really helps to have multiple providers within the clinic."

Mississippi Medical Center is the only facility in the state to treat patients with very high low-density lipoprotein cholesterol who do not respond to diet or medication, by removing the harmful cholesterol particles from their blood using plasmapheresis equipment.

Leading-edge care is why Kara Brantley, MD, an obstetrician-gynecologist with Southern Women's Health in Jackson, Mississippi, sends her patients to the clinic. Before it opened, Brantley struggled to find internists who were up on the latest medications; patients, as a result, often experienced six-month waits.

"It's been 11 years since my residency, and I haven't had any training on the newest [anti]hyperlipidemic drugs or the [anti]hypertensives, so it has taken a burden off of me from using older medications and out-of-date care for these patients," Brantley says.