Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - One of the iconic events in the Missoula calendar in February of years past was always the popular Providence St. Patrick Hospital’s ‘Heart Expo’, where hundreds of people would line up around the hospital to receive low-cost blood draws, along with lab and health testing.

However, the COVID pandemic necessarily put a stop to the popular event.

The Long Wait is Over because the 'Heart Expo' Returns on April 29

Now, the ‘Heart Expo’ returns on April 29.

Dr. James McKay, Chief Medical Officer at Providence St. Patrick Hospital provided details to KGVO News.

“We're excited about it too,” said Dr. McKay. “It was very disappointing for us to have to pause that because we know how well received and well attended it was and what a good service it was for the community. We’re really happy to announce that we will be having it on April 29. In the past, it was in February. We had to delay it a few months, but I think it will be perfect. It'll be nicer weather to travel, and we’re really looking forward to providing this again.”

There are Blood Draws and Low Cost Health Tests Available

Dr. McKay said there are three main aspects of the Heart Expo, but one of the most popular is the inexpensive health testing offered by the hospital.

“There are really three components,” he said. One is that we have blood draws at a nominal price, in fact a really discounted price for basic blood draws that people like to take advantage of. We do lipid panel tests, glucose tests, and an A1C test, which is a way to look at your glucose level over time. We also do thyroid and prostate testing as well, again at a nominal price. We just want point out the payment for that so people aren't surprised. You must pay by cash or check only, but again the price is nominal.”

Dr. McKay said another important component of the Heart Expo is the information received by those attending on a variety of health topics.

“Another component is the lectures that we give,” he said. “We have world class providers here who will be giving lectures geared to the public to bring them up to speed on the latest developments, many which of course are offered here at St. Pat's, so people don't have to travel. We’ll have discussions from vascular surgeons, cardiothoracic surgeons or interventional cardiologists and our general cardiologists. Really, it’s just about the latest and greatest information delivered in a way that's easily digestible and understandable, and then they're around to answer your questions as well.”

The Staff and Physicians at St. Pat's are Just as Excited about the 'Heart Expo'

Dr. McKay said the staff and physicians at St. Pat’s are just as excited for the Heart Expo to return as the general public.

“It's kind of a great signal for us that we're in a much better phase of this pandemic,” he said. “We’re through the worst of it, and then we can maybe get back to what feels to us like normal and where we want to be. We were very excited when we were able to say, yes, we can safely do this. There was great excitement here at St. Pat's, and within the International Heart Institute to be able to put this back together for folks because it's not only for the people coming here, but our folks get great satisfaction from it as well.”

The blood draws will occur from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. and the lectures will be from 8: a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at Providence St. Patrick Hospital, located at 500 West Broadway in Missoula.

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