Medical center celebrates heart month

Hannah Grover
Runners make their way down the route Feb. 14, 2015, during the seventh annual Goosebumps run outside the San Juan Regional Medical Center in Farmington.

FARMINGTON – The San Juan Regional Medical Center will once again celebrate Heart Month with A Fair of the Heart and the Goosebumps race.

Every year, February is designated Heart Month, and organizations around the country host events that focus on cardiovascular health.

The San Juan Regional Medical Center's heart fair will be Saturday. This year's event features an opportunity for people to examine the world's smallest heart pump, known as an Impella.

Abiomed, the company that produces the Impella heart pump, takes a mobile learning lab on a tour of the country, stopping in major cities. The company will be in Denver prior to Farmington and will go to Phoenix following A Fair of the Heart.

"It's a little unusual that it would be coming to a city the size of Farmington," said Laura Werbner, a spokeswoman for the medical center.

She said the medical center's reputation for its cardiology program attracted Abiomed to visit for the heart fair. Werbner said the medical center uses the Impella heart pump in its cardiology program, and the device reduces the risk of death after strokes or heart attacks to less than 20 percent.

The heart fair will also serve as an opportunity for the medical center to introduce its new pulmonologist, or lung specialist, Dr. Ravi Chopra, to the community. Werbner explained that Chopra works closely with cardiologists because heart disease and lung disease often overlap. In addition to introducing Chopra, the fair will offer lung tests.

"You can breathe into a machine and test your lung capacity," Werbner said.

The lung capacity test is one of several free screenings people can get during the fair, including body mass index and blood pressure tests.

Led by hospital mascot Mr. Juan Hart, runners line up for the start of the annual Goosebumps run outside of the San Juan Regional Medical Center in Farmington on Feb. 14, 2015.

The Goosebumps race will also be a highlight of the fair. The race starts at 11 a.m. Participants have the option of a 5k run or walk or a 1-mile run. People can register for the race from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday at the San Juan Regional Heart Center, 407 S. Schwartz St.

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Hannah Grover covers Aztec and Bloomfield, as well as general news, for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652.