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Cardiologists Visit Oman to Discuss Global Health Care, Lung Cancer and Heart Disease

Dr. Sibu Saha and Dr. Thomas Whayne, physicians at UK HealthCare's Gill Heart Institute, recently visited the Sultan Qaboos University Hospital in Oman to participate in discussions with university physicians on global health care, lung cancer and heart disease.

Saha, who is a professor of surgery in the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine and chair of the directors council for Gill Heart Institute, discussed the challenges of health care for developing nations and the current obstacles in the global health care system.

“Poverty, inadequate health care infrastructure, economic disparity, shortage of health care providers, and rise of non-communicable diseases such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and trauma pose a big obstacle to global health care,” Saha said.

Saha and Whayne, who is also p‪rofessor of cardiology in the UK College of Medicine's Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, spoke at the Sultan Qaboos University Hospital during a symposium organized by the Oman Society of Lipid and Atherosclerosis and Sultan Qaboos University.

Saha also discussed the importance of evidence-based practice of medicine in order to provide quality health care at a reduce cost.

Saha said he was impressed with Oman's achievements in health care. He was particularly impressed with the country's low infant mortality rate, universal coverage of health care services, availability of hospitals and treatment facilities, and a number of health care providers that is adequately proportional to the population.

"Oman’s progress in health care is considered a 'miracle' by the World Health Organization," he said.

Whayne discussed the prevention of heart disease with the group, stressing the importance of advanced screenings and was impressed with the both country and the hospital. "I would say they are in step with (the UK Chandler Hospital) as far as their facility is concerned," Whayne said.

Whayne found it especially impressive that for the most difficult hypercholesterolemia patients, the Sultan Qaboos University Hospital had two units for LDL apheresis to decrease severely elevated LDL -- the “bad guy” in cholesterol metabolism -- unresponsive to medications and diet.  This sophisticated, time-consuming and costly technique has only minimal availability in the United States.

Whayne said heart disease is becoming more prominent in Oman and other Middle Eastern countries, possibly contributed to by the introduction of a Western diet into their culture.