Internal medicine is adult-focused health care. And there are plenty of adults at the older end of the scale who consider internist Dr. Bruce Burtenshaw their first-line medical provider.
Dr. Burtenshaw, who practices at Tanner Clinic Layton, sees more geriatric patients than other Tanner Clinic physician. In fact, he estimates, 60 percent or more of his patients are retired.
Dr. Burtenshaw is also medical director of Rocky Mountain Care, a rehabilitation and long-term care center in Layton, Utah.
A native of Logan, Utah, Dr. Burtenshaw graduated magna cum laude from Utah State University. He earned his M.D. from the highly ranked Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City.
He traveled cross country for his residency in internal medicine at the University of California, San Diego.
The board-certified internist joined Tanner Clinic in 1978. He soon began to serve as chief of the critical care unit at Davis Hospital and Medical Center, a position he held for 30 years.
He also served as the hospital’s Department of Medicine chairman and president of the medical staff. He is a former president of Davis County Medical Society and is currently on the board of directors for Davis Hospital Medical Center and Tanner Clinic.
Dr. Burtenshaw and his wife Thea are the parents of six children and grandparents to 14 children.
In his role as an internal medicine specialist who treats many seniors, Dr. Bruce Burtenshaw often sees what he says are the two most common disorders of this older age group: diabetes and heart disease.
Such incurable diseases require “maintenance” plans that includes regular checkups and testing to prevent any complications. The result, says Dr. Burtenshaw, “is that patients may not get better, but they certainly do better.”
For a wide range of heart diseases, Dr. Burtenshaw evaluates, provides medication and conducts stress tests, but his specialty is in-office cardiac ultrasounds. Yes, that’s the same ultrasound used with expectant mothers.
Live ‘picture’ of the heart
The ultrasound allows Dr. Burtenshaw to “actually take a picture” of a very fast-moving, complex organ, he said, explaining, “We gain a lot of information from the test.” Also called a cardiac echo or echocardiography, the heart ultrasound is one of the most widely used diagnostic tests in cardiology.
The heart ultrasound allows the physician to scrutinize the size and shape of the heart’s chambers and the thickness of their walls. It answers whether the heart is pumping a normal level of blood, or whether the blood vessels have become restricted, said Dr. Burtenshaw.
An echocardiogram may be used to look for damaged tissue or the cause of an abnormal heart sound, such as a murmur or arrhythmia. Dr. Burtenshaw also inspects how the heart valves open and close, whether they’re narrowed or whether there are any leaks.
You may benefit from a heart ultrasound if you’ve experienced:
▸ Unexplained chest or upper arm pain
▸ Heart murmur
▸ Heart attack
▸ Heart defect
▸ History of heart disease
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