On Saturday, February 24, the International Heart Institute in conjunction with Providence St. Patrick Hospital will host the 15th annual Heart Expo from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

IHI Executive Director Tim Descamps said the Expo, held in the Broadway Building, has three different aspects.

“There is a blood draw to test lipid glucose, which is five dollars,” said Descamps. “We also offer PSA tests and thyroid testing for $10 each. It’s intended to bring people in to think about their heart health, to think about prevention, and we combine that with lectures provided by our very own doctors. Then, we have booths where we offer blood pressure checks, you can sign up for an echo test, and there’s already a two year waiting list. We’ll also have demonstrations for heart healthy cooking.”

Descamps said the Expo is extremely popular, usually drawing over 1,000 people in just a few hours.

“People come from all over Montana and Idaho to attend the event,” he said. “It’s something that we look forward to ourselves, and we also look forward to seeing the same people year after year who have become regular attendees.”

Descamps said the hospital and the IHI have received an important distinction in cardiac care.

“For the third year, we have earned a Truven Health Analytics top 50 heart program designation,” he said. “We’re one of just a handful in the nation that has consistently been awarded this top 50 designation, and we work hard every year to earn that distinction.”

The event begins at 7:00 a.m., however, Descamps says the line begins forming at about 6:00 a.m., so they open the doors and begin drawing blood as early as 6:45 a.m.

The blood tests require a small fee, but the lectures and the sponsored booths are free of charge.