Dr. Pablo Quintero Pinzon Talks Cardiovascular Health

BIDMC Contributor

OCTOBER 15, 2021

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We’re celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month and World Heart Day by recognizing BIDMC’s Latinx Cardiovascular Clinic.

Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from Sept. 15, 2021 to Oct. 15, 2021, overlaps with World Heart Day, which took place on Sept. 29, 2021. So we decided to get in touch with Dr. Pablo Quintero Pinzon, Director of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center’s Latinx Cardiovascular Clinic.

Created in 2013, the Latinx Cardiovascular Clinic seeks to provide culturally sensitive care for the Latino population of Massachusetts. Cardiovascular disease affects the Latino community at a higher rate than other populations. For example, cancer and heart disease are the two leading causes of death in Hispanics and, despite the death rate of Hispanics being 24% lower than that of whites, Hispanics are 50% more likely to die from diabetes or liver disease. One significant factor that may contribute to this statistic includes language barriers that interfere with medication adherence which then leads to uncontrolled disease and adverse outcomes.

When asked how the need for the Latinx Cardiovascular Clinic, in particular, was determined, Dr. Quintero Pinzon noted that certain populations may be at higher risk for some diseases and that the Hispanic population “tends to have higher percentages of uncontrolled hypertension, diabetes, and obesity.” He explained that “experience suggests language barriers interfere with optimal care of acute and chronic cardiovascular conditions” which is an issue he and his team are trying to target.

Within Dr. Quintero Pinzon’s clinic, everyone speaks Spanish which has allowed for expanded cardiology services. To combat that issue outside of the clinic, instead of relying on patients to make outside appointments on their own, potentially forcing them to deal with language barriers should they receive a referral, Dr. Quintero Pinzon and his team have created a network of Spanish-speaking providers who are available for outreach to secure follow up appointments within multiple subspecialties.

Dr. Quintero Pinzon believes the Latinx Cardiovascular Clinic will help bridge the overall health disparity gap and lead to improved health outcomes. When patients better understand their disease and understand the critical importance of managing their medications, their outcomes will improve. In addition to explaining each medication and what it’s for, he says it’s important that patients understand that “most of the time high blood pressure is asymptomatic and patients can have uncontrolled hypertension despite ‘feeling well.’”

As of now, the Latinx Cardiovascular Clinic sees between 350-400 patients each year, not including visits with other cardiovascular subspecialty providers. According to Dr. Quintero Pinzon, the best way to avoid ending up in his clinic is to maintain a regular relationship with your doctor to control major risk factors that contribute to cardiovascular disease – things like hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and diabetes.

Another way to do that is by exercising regularly. Whether you want to run on a treadmill, throw a football, or go for a walk, getting at least 150 minutes of moderate to intense aerobic activity per week or, alternately, 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week, will help keep your heart healthy and strong.

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