Staying a Beat Ahead: 5 Innovations in Heart Care
In the blink of an eye, a life can be changed by a heart attack. Each year, thousands of Americans experience this traumatic event. Here in Montgomery County, the cardiac teams at Washington Adventist Hospital and Shady Grove Adventist Hospital have been recognized nationally for the expert, quality care they deliver to heart patients each day.
In this special section, you are invited to meet the experts behind the high-level heart care at Washington Adventist Hospital in Takoma Park and Shady Grove Adventist Hospital in Rockville. You can also read the stories of two local heart patients who benefited from the expert teams at these two local hospitals.
From minimally invasive heart procedures to state-of-the-art technology and devices to cutting-edge research and open-heart surgery, the comprehensive cardiac care teams at Washington Adventist and Shady Grove Adventist Hospitals are dedicated to staying a beat ahead when it comes to heart care.
1. Alternative Pathway for Heart Catheterizations
Each year, more than 1 million cardiac catheterizations to diagnose heart disease are performed in the U.S., and for most of them, doctors enter through the groin to gain access to heart arteries. Today, interventional cardiologists at Washington Adventist and Shady Grove Adventist Hospitals are performing more and more heart catheterizations by entering through the wrist, also known as transradial access. The transradial approach can reduce the risk of complications and improve patient results. Washington Adventist Hospital is one of the leading hospitals in the area offering this approach.
“Patients prefer the transradial approach because it enables them to be mobile much faster and they tend to have less overall discomfort,” says David Brill, M.D., medical director of the cardiac catheterization lab at Washington Adventist Hospital and a cardiologist at both hospitals.
2. A More Compatible Pacemaker
On Feb. 16, 2011, Washington Adventist Hospital became the first in the Mid-Atlantic region to implant a new “MRI-safe” pacemaker. The procedure, performed by James Cockrell, M.D., electrophysiologist, came a week after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first-of-its-kind pacemaker specifically designed to be compatible with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) exams.
Electrophysiologists at Washington Adventist and Shady Grove Adventist Hospitals offer this device to patients. There is an estimated 50 to 75 percent chance that a patient with an implanted heart device will need an MRI.
“Providing pacemaker patients with a device that is MRI-safe means better and safer detection and treatment of serious medical conditions, such as vascular disease, stroke, cancer and orthopedic injuries,” says Sung Lee, M.D., medical director of electrophysiology at Washington Adventist Hospital. “It’s revolutionary for our patients.”
3. New Option for Angina Sufferers
When other treatments have failed to relieve persistent angina, or chest pain, doctors at Shady Grove Adventist Hospital offer patients a nonsurgical treatment option called enhanced external counterpulsation, or EECP.
New Option for Angina Sufferers When other treatments have failed to relieve persistent angina, or chest pain, doctors at Shady Grove Adventist Hospital offer patients a nonsurgical treatment option called enhanced external counterpulsation, or EECP. “During EECP, pressure cuffs are placed on the legs and buttocks,” says Dennis Friedman, M.D., medical director of cardiovascular services and cardiac rehabilitation at Shady Grove Adventist Hospital. “The cuffs are timed to inflate and deflate with each heart beat, sending blood to the heart and improving blood flow and circulation.”
This contributes to the relief of angina symptoms. Shady Grove Adventist Hospital is the only hospital-based EECP program in Montgomery County. EECP is not invasive, does not require a hospital stay and allows patients to return to their normal routines each day after treatment.
4. Cardiac Research at the Heart of Innovation
Washington Adventist and Shady Grove Adventist Hospitals are dedicated to the pursuit of advances that improve the quality of life for patients who have cardiovascular disease, putting cutting-edge cardiac and vascular research at the heart of what we do. Physicians at Washington Adventist Hospital’s Center for Cardiac & Vascular Research are pursuing studies that range from MRI-safe pacemaker data collection to testing devices that may provide detection of a heart attack before it even starts. Clinical studies at both hospitals aim to find better ways to detect, prevent, control and cure heart disease.
5. Valve Surgery a Cut Above the Rest
New technology and advancements in medicine allow heart surgeons to repair or replace a diseased heart valve through smaller incisions.
“During minimally invasive valve surgery, the patient receives the same operation as they would with a traditional, ‘open’ surgery,” says Paul Massimiano, M.D., heart surgeon and program director of cardiac surgery at Washington Adventist Hospital. “The difference is in the approach and tools used. Incisions are very small, only 5 to 6 centimeters long.”
For patients, this means a quicker recovery with less pain and a faster return to normal activity. Patients who have minimally invasive valve surgery can sometimes go home in as little as a day or two.