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Expert Heart Care Close to Home

Published on 8/5/2009
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David Guarraia, M.D., the first cardiologist to practice full-time in the Mid-Columbia region, has devoted the last 12 years of his life preparing to care for patients with heart-related conditions. Dr. Guarraia's doors are open at his new practice located at Water's Edge, 551 Lone Pine Blvd., Suite 303 in The Dalles.

Having full-time access to a physician of Dr. Guarraia's caliber and in the specialty of cardiology is a rarity in a region the size of the Mid-Columbia.  While there is no denying the need for a full-time heart specialist to serve patients in the area, recruiting such a highly-trained individual can be very difficult. 

     Dr. Guarraia's presence in town was made possible by a unique arrangement between Mid-Columbia Medical Center and Oregon Health & Science University in Portland.  The two organizations collaborated to recruit him (from OHSU's own cardiology fellowship program) and he remains on the faculty at OHSU as an assistant professor.

He will live and practice in The Dalles and, once a week, travel to OHSU to see patients, participate in research activities and pursue still more educational opportunities.

"This arrangement is the best of all worlds, both for Dr. Guarraia and for heart patients throughout the region," says MCMC President/CEO Duane Francis. "We benefit from the care of a highly trained heart specialist who practices in our community full-time, but also remains closely tied with the vast resources of a highly respected health and research university.  And Dr. Guarraia is fulfilling his desire to practice state-of-the-art cardiology care in a small community."

Dr. Guarraia earned his bachelor's degree from the University of Colorado, then a master's degree in pharmacology from the University of Missouri School of Medicine. He pursued his medical degree at St. George's University, a program that included two years in the Caribbean followed by two years of clinical training in San Francisco and New York.

Dr. Guarraia then spent three years at the University of Arizona, where he completed an internal medicine residency program. His three-year cardiology fellowship at OHSU followed.

In The Dalles, Dr. Guarraia, says he has found the ideal setting in which to practice and, with wife Caroline, raise his two children, ages 21 months and 1 month.

"We were very attracted to the lifestyle here," he says.  "I love to windsurf; Caroline is an avid cyclist.  We're very happy to be here."

As a cardiologist, Dr. Guarraia provides comprehensive care for patients with, or at risk of, heart disease.  In his office or in conjunction with OHSU Dr. Guarraia has access to a vast spectrum of resources for diagnosing and treating heart conditions such as chest pain, heart failure and high blood pressure, the most common heart-related conditions.

He is trained to perform advanced procedures such as coronary angiography, and pacemaker implantation.

Dr. Guarraia built his cardiology practice from the ground up.  He shares his office with fellow cardiologist Mark Hattenhauer, M.D., a native of The Dalles who has provided part-time cardiology care in the community for many years.

"I like the idea of building something in this community that hasn't existed before," he says.  "We have the opportunity to dramatically change the way cardiovascular care is delivered in this community by providing full-time cardiology services and access to the many sub-specialists in the OHSU Cardiology department. That's very exciting."

Dr. Guarraia will begin seeing patients August 17. For more information on the MCMC/OHSU Cardiology clinic call 541/506-6530.

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