Superior Firefighters Undergo Stress Tests for Heart Health

St. Luke's is Partnering with Superior Fire Department, After a Federal Grant Allows for Free Stress Tests

DULUTH, Minn. – A federal grant recently received by the Superior Fire Department is going toward improving the quality of health for firefighters.

Tuesday morning, firefighter Cameron Vollbrecht responded to his stress test appointment at the St. Luke’s Regional Vascular Center.

Experts are using the tests to take a closer look at lung capacity and heart rate under intense situations.

Doctors say cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death for firefighters.

It’s been nearly twelve years since Vollbrecht has been put to the medical test.

“I think it’s very important for us and I think all firefighters should be going through these tests, especially once they get over the age of 40 like me, every few years,” said Vollbrecht.

Cardiovascular experts at St. Luke’s advise firefighters to ask their primary physician about a stress test during your next visit.

“The alarm goes off, their fight or flight response starts, their adrenaline is pumping, not to mention all the smoke and the chemicals that they are breathing through and working through; it’s a tremendous amount of stress on their body,” said Dr. Disha Mookherjee, St. Luke’s Cardiac Rehabilitation and Women’s Hearth Health Clinic Director.

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