The term “cardiometabolic disease” refers to a group of interrelated medical conditions that involve the heart, blood vessels and metabolism. These include high blood pressure (hypertension), obesity and high levels of sugar, LDL (“bad”) cholesterol or fats in the bloodstream. Scientists have determined that the intricate interplay of these cardiovascular and metabolic conditions can contribute to the development of several potentially serious medical issues, including heart attacks, strokes, type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. To optimize cardiometabolic health, a comprehensive understanding of its diverse components is essential, as are holistic interventions to protect it.
Tampa General Hospital is taking cardiometabolic disease prevention to the next level, going beyond traditional indirect markers of cardiovascular risk such as LDL cholesterol level.
The renowned team in our Cardiometabolic Disease Prevention Center is now capitalizing on the power of game-changing technological advances, such as coronary computed tomography angiography (CCTA) and artificial intelligence, which allow our preventive cardiologists to visualize and measure different types of arterial blockages more directly. Using these advanced imaging techniques in addition to traditional risk stratification methods, TGH has created a more detailed and personalized way to understand heart health and prevent cardiometabolic disease—and has revolutionized the field of preventive cardiology in the process.
What Sets TGH Apart for Cardiometabolic Disease Prevention?
As Tampa Bay’s first and largest teaching hospital, TGH is nationally recognized for providing world-class cardiovascular and cardiometabolic healthcare through our highly acclaimed Heart & Vascular Institute. We are also the only hospital in the region to be included in the list of “100 Hospitals and Health Systems With Great Heart Programs” compiled by Becker’s Hospital Review. Our Cardiometabolic Disease Prevention Program is further distinguished by:
Our Multidisciplinary Team
Featuring many nationally respected practitioners in the field of cardiometabolic disease prevention, our outstanding team includes:
- Preventive cardiologists
- Primary care physicians
- Bariatric specialists
- Integrative/Lifestyle medicine specialists
- Registered dieticians
- Licensed pharmacists
- Advanced imaging technicians
Focusing specifically on cardiometabolic disease prevention, each member of our collaborative team has undergone highly specialized training. Working closely together, we deliver comprehensive and longitudinal cardiac care.
Our Comprehensive Risk Identification and Assessment Methodology
The team in TGH’s Cardiometabolic Disease Prevention Program utilizes a comprehensive four-step process to help prevent cardiometabolic disease and manage its risk factors.
Step 1 – Early Diagnosis
To help ensure the early detection of cardiovascular issues, we begin with a CCTA. This advanced diagnostic test uses contrast dye and specialized imaging technology to create detailed 3D pictures of the coronary arteries, which supply blood to the heart muscle. A CCTA may reveal arterial narrowing or blockages, which can help a physician diagnose several conditions involving the heart and blood vessels, including coronary artery disease, aneurysms and pulmonary embolisms.
Step 2 – Precise Staging and Classification
Instead of relying solely on traditional risk-scoring algorithms to assess and categorize coronary artery disease risk, we apply artificial intelligence technologies to CCTA images to derive plaque burden and specific features plaques in the coronary arteries. By studying plaque morphology—how these deposits appear and behave—we can gain valuable insights into the progression and severity of coronary artery disease, allowing us to precisely tailor a prevention strategy or treatment plan.
Step 3 – Personalized Risk Assessment
In addition to the coronary calcium score, we evaluate specific imaging biomarkers obtained from a CCTA—such as plaque characteristics and pericoronary fat inflammation to gain a more detailed picture of the patient’s cardiovascular health. Combined with traditional risk algorithms, this valuable information allows us to develop more customized risk assessment and prevention strategies for cardiometabolic disease.
Step 4 – Treatment Response Assessment
Representing a paradigm shift in the management of coronary artery disease, our transformative approach involves evaluating the effectiveness of various therapies by closely monitoring plaque metrics obtained through imaging assessments. These plaque metrics serve as indicators of how the disease is progressing and how it is responding to therapeutic interventions, providing us with a more nuanced understanding of treatment efficacy. As a result, we can make more informed and tailored treatment adjustments.
The scientists and clinicians at TGH are continually working to gain a better understanding of cardiometabolic disease. Each research breakthrough we achieve allows us to tailor our prevention strategies and treatment plans more precisely, and thus contributes to more effective disease management and better patient outcomes.