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(Photo: Heart screening participant undergoes a test Monday night during the partnership announcement of HeartSense with the Acadiana Practitioners Group located in Opelousas, Port Barre and Sunset. Photos by Freddie Herpin)

BOBBY ARDOIN Editor/Consulting Writer

Nurses armed with stethoscopes attached to monitoring screens demonstrated an innovative heart screening service, on Monday night, that is being provided to patients who make wellness visits at the three locations of Acadiana Practitioners.

The three St. Landry Parish rural clinics in Opelousas, Port Barre and Sunset operated by Dutstin Miller, announced the collaboration with HeartSense, a non-profit heart care provider, during an Open House event held at the Prudhomme Circle location.

Persons attending the event were provided with voluntary heart murmur detection screenings similar to the procedures to the type of service provided to patients who are scheduled for visits at the clinics for other health matters.

According to a press release provided in connection with the event, the collaborative relationship between Acadiana Practitioners and HeartSense intends to close the gap in heart care access offered at rural clinics.

Acadiana Practitioners, the press release says, are the first clinics nationwide to offer heart screenings that could potentially lead to the early detection of heart disease prior to symptoms.

During the screening procedures performed on those attending the event, nurse practitioners used stethoscopes connected to a monitoring device.

While the stethoscope monitored the heart, a real time visual display screen provided the nurse with information that included pulse, heart rate and heart murmur detection.

Nurse practitioner Rhonda Bergeron and thoracic surgeon Antoine Keller provided information on potential heart issues.

Antoine Keller, a thoracic surgeon affiliated with Ochsner Lafayette General Hospital, told those attending the event that HeartSense is partnering with Acadiana Practitioners in order to help provide better heart care for patients who are possibly vulnerable in rural communities.

“The heart screenings will provide information that can be shared with cardiologists. We are donating the technology to the clinics through our non-profit HeartSense. You can go online at and see the things that we are doing to help with the detection of heart problems,” Keller said during an interview. 

Keller said screenings could especially assist the area’s older patient population whose heart valve openings occasionally shrink due to age.

“What we are trying to do is keep people from having heart issues and now there is technology that is available that can help patients detect possible hear problems even before they begin to feel bad,” Keller told those attending the event.

“We want to use this technology that can tell us about heart murmurs before you go into the hospital,” added Keller.