The Lancaster Heart & Stroke Foundation, a nonprofit founded 20 years ago by The Heart Group of Lancaster General Health, has merged with Lancaster General Hospital.
A center for cardiac research that conducted hundreds of clinical trials and brought groundbreaking treatments and procedures to area residents, the foundation was funded by the donation of fees The Heart Group doctors collected from research trials.
Its first mission was providing defibrillators to the community; in 1993, just three of Lancaster County’s 33 ambulances had them. Within a decade the foundation had donated 145 and made the community one of the first in the U.S. where every police vehicle was equipped with a defibrillator. The foundation also worked to equip people including police officers, volunteers and mission workers in how to use the devices.
“We wanted to give people treatment for their cardiac arrest before they got to the hospital,” said Dr. Seth Worley, medical director of clinical research, who according to a news release was instrumental in making the foundation possible.
The foundation will continue to be a regional leader in clinical research as part of the Lancaster Heart & Vascular Institute. Studies in which LVHI is currently participating include the following:
• an implantable cardiac monitor that tracks significant changes in the heart and sends a signal to patients at high risk for heart attacks to seek immediate medical attention;
• a procedure that deactivates the nerves to the kidneys, which are partly responsible for the way the body controls blood pressure, as a potential treatment for people whose blood pressure is extremely high even after taking three or more medications;
• a device similar to a pacemaker that, instead of stimulating the heart, stimulates a nerve in the neck whose signals to the heart may help lessen the stress on the heart for patients suffering from heart failure.