Windsor-Essex Among Worst Regions In Ontario For Heart Attacks, Strokes

The head of the cardiac catheterization lab at Windsor Regional Hospital says the results of a new study on the risk of stroke and heart attack ring true.

Dr. Mark Kotowycz has reviewed the report in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, which used 17 different databases to correlate information based on the Local Health Integration Networks.

He says the Erie St. Clair LHIN which takes in Windsor-Essex, Chatham-Kent and Sarnia-Lambton is among the worst outcomes in the province.

He says the study looked at adults aged 40 to 79 who had no history of cardiovascular disease.

"Fewer patients saw a specialist in that period of time.  Patients with family doctors had fewer visits with them, and fewer periodic health examinations.  Fewer patients underwent screening for high cholesterol or diabetes.  In patients who had diabetes there was a lower use of statin therapy," says Kotowycz.

He says it's been a challenge to get people to know how to be aware of their own health condition.

"Many efforts have been made to educate patients on the importance of screening, looking at risk factors of recognizing the symptoms of a heart attack or stroke. Yet we still see people come in late with these problems and every once in a while they seem shocked that smoking could have caused my heart attack," says Kotowycz.

He says there is a clear difference in more rural areas.

"The more underserviced the area is the harder it is to recruit doctors to those regions.  Certainly the same applies to specialists. I know historically there have been issues having access to cardiovascular testing in the region although we've seen positive steps. I know at our own clinic here in Windsor we've added more testing and technicians," says Kotowycz.

He says the paradox is that the people who are more obesity and have higher rates of smoking they're accessing healthcare less.