Milligan faculty lecture identifies risk factors, management of atrial fibrillation

Published 4:56 pm Monday, January 29, 2024

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Milligan University’s spring Faculty Lecture Series will begin with a lecture from Associate Professor of Physician Assistant Studies Dr. Maureen Knechtel titled “Risk Factor Modification as a Treatment Pillar in the Management of Atrial Fibrillation.”
The lecture will be held in the university’s Hyder Auditorium in the Science Building on Tuesday, Feb. 6, at 7 p.m. The lecture is free and open to the public.
Knechtel’s lecture builds upon her research recently published in The Journal of the American Academy of Physician Assistants, the premier national journal for physician assistants.
Atrial fibrillation occurs when the atria, the heart’s upper chambers, beat irregularly and out of sync with the heart’s ventricles, lower chambers. Knechtel notes that the incidence of atrial fibrillation is increasing as its risk factors, such as advanced age, obesity, sleep apnea, high blood pressure and diabetes, become more prominent. Her research indicates that modifying these risk factors by adopting healthier lifestyles can reduce the incidence of atrial fibrillation.
“Studies show that early detection of atrial fibrillation is paramount to reducing patient morbidity and enhancing clinical outcomes,” said Knechtel. “When patients are aware of what signs and symptoms to look for, they can seek medical attention early, and pharmacologic and invasive therapies are much more effective when these modifiable risk factors are appropriately identified and aggressively managed.”
In addition to her roles at Milligan University, Knechtel has served as a cardiology physician assistant for 19 years and currently works at the Ballad Health Cardiovascular Associates Heart Institute. She is the author of the textbook, “EKGs for the Nurse Practitioner and Physician Assistant,” used by nurse practitioner and physician assistant programs nationwide. She has been a national speaker on a variety of cardiovascular and medical education topics and is a faculty member with the MedAxiom Cardiovascular Academy. She was also named the 2021 Tennessee Academy of Physician Assistants Educator of the Year for Tennessee.
The Faculty Lecture Series provides students and other members of the Milligan community a glimpse into the active world of academic research and writing at Milligan.

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