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A conversation with Darrell Youngman

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014, at 12 a.m.

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Darrell Youngman isn’t a love doctor – but he does know how the heart works.

Youngman is a cardiologist and was recently named division chair of inpatient services and cardiovascular services for Via Christi. He is also on the board of directors for the Medical Society of Sedgwick County.

Youngman is originally a West-Coaster. His wife, Trish, is from New York. Now, they live in the middle of the country and have three sons.

“I’m a California boy who never dreamed he would spend the majority of his life in Kansas,” Youngman joked. “I’ve been here 25 years now.”

When he’s not working, he enjoys photography, exercising and baseball at every level.

“I root for the Royals for every game, except when they play the Dodgers,” Youngman says, showing his California roots.

How did you get interested in cardiology?

The fact that it all made sense. What you heard with the stethoscope could be heightened by what you saw on a cardiac sonogram, which could be coordinated with information on an invasive procedure. There weren’t a lot of vagaries if you understand how the heart works. It all makes a lot of sense.

What’s your favorite part of your job?

Interacting with people. If I can help them in any way as a physician or as a person, that’s what I really enjoy the most. I enjoy trying to find commonalities and people and putting programs together that work as well as they can for everyone involved.

Around Valentine’s Day, you’re always hearing that wine and chocolate are good for your health. True?

Wine has been shown multiple times to be helpful in heart health. It should be limited to probably one glass per day and red wine is better than white wine. Dark chocolates seem to be of benefit to the heart, but there is a point where more is not better, so moderate intake would be the best advice.

Are there a lot of changes in technology in cardiology?

Cardiology is poised to make another dramatic change in the quality and success of procedures to help people with their heart. That’s most notable now in aspects of valvular heart disease, where very diseased valves can be treated without surgery. Right now that’s limited to people who are very, very ill since it is a new technology, but one can fully expect that that will expand to more and more patients as time goes on.

In Europe, for example, these have been used for longer periods of time and the simple procedures through small skin incisions are done more frequently with less and less open cardiac procedures. Stents that we’ve used for many years also continue to improve, as do surgical techniques.

What are some of the biggest challenges in cardiology?

I think when people get into the system of cardiology, we can do so many things to help them. The challenge is, frankly, getting people to seek care and then once they’ve gotten in the medical system to really consistently do the things that we know will help them.

So education and communication between physician and patient is just as important in many ways as the technology that’s used in the care of heart patients.

What are some of your goals?

I’d just like to improve the efficiency and quality of care. Most of that is based on the success of communication methods between all of the various medical personnel involved, so that would include physicians, nurses, technicians, care coordinators and everybody else involved in the care of patients, which are ever more complex to care for.

Do you have any advice for people with heart problems?

People need to enjoy the opportunity that’s provided by a good activity plan and diet. If they do have cardiac problems, it’s important to continue to take medications, which are especially useful for cardiac patients, and to seek care early if they have any new symptoms. If you do all of those things, you should do quite well as rule.

Reach Kelsey Ryan at 316-269-6752 or kryan@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @kelsey_ryan.

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