The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Community

August 18, 2007

New clinic helps heart patients

FARRELL — Even though 17-year-old Tyler Ennis of Hadley suffers from a heart condition that requires regular checkups, he and his family are excited that it’s now easier to visit the doctor.

The Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC recently opened a weekly clinic in Farrell at UPMC Horizon’s Cardiovascular Institute, housed in the Primary Health Network building at 350 Sharon-New Castle Road.

“It’s so much easier,” said Tyler’s mother Gail as her son waited to be examined Monday at the clinic.

In early 2006, Tyler was diagnosed with myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart, after he was taken to the hospital for treatment of a cold that turned into pneumonia.

“It progressed into chest pains and his heart was racing,” Mrs. Ennis said.

Tyler was flown to the Children’s Hospital, where he stayed for nearly a week. Doctors aren’t sure what caused his myocarditis, but they believe it came from a virus that attacked his heart, Mrs. Ennis said.

Tyler had only one follow-up appointment in Pittsburgh, but the trip into the busy downtown area was overwhelming for the Ennis family.

They were grateful to hear about the Farrell clinic, where Tyler learned Monday he could return to normal physical activity after being examined by Dr. Mick McCaffrey, a cardiologist who comes from Children’s Hospital once a week.

The cardiology staff at Children’s saw a need for the clinic because they knew a lot of patients would benefit from the location, McCaffrey said.

The clinic has been going well and its hours will soon expand. McCaffrey sees patients from 8:30 a.m. to noon and in October, the clinic will stay open until 3:30 p.m.

“It’s been filled every Monday morning,” he said.

Tamera J. McLaughlin, practice manager of the Cardiovascular Institute, said the clinic was needed in Mercer County because childhood obesity is on the rise and can lead to heart problems. Adults can be referred to the clinic if necessary, she said.

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