Heart & Vascular Care
The Cardiac Services at Northwest Medical Center bring together the collaborative efforts and experience of highly skilled physicians, nurses, and other cardiovascular health professionals. Our cardiac services encompass a full range of diagnostic modalities, interventional procedures, and open heart surgery. Comprised of a team of experienced cardiologists, interventional radiologists, pulmonologists and internists, these specialists combine their expertise and knowledge to provide our patients with the latest scientific advances in their respective fields.
Tour Northwest Medical Center's Heart and Vascular Institute
You're never too young to start taking care of your heart.
The Heart and Vascular Institute
Over the past two years, the team at Northwest Medical Center worked diligently to establish a comprehensive cardiac care program to the residents they serve. As of August 2nd, 2010, The Heart and Vascular Institute opened their doors as the only Cardiac Level II Licensed Program in Northwest Broward County. The new program will provide further enhancements to their existing services including a Cardiac Catheterization Lab, an Electrophysiology Lab, State of the art coronary imaging services, and Experienced Cardiothoracic surgeons, Cardiologists, Electrophysiologists, and Cardiac Anesthesiologists.
Northwest Medical Center's Heart and Vascular Institute is built on the foundation of proactive heart care. We'll help you love your heart better.
Don't wait, be more proactive.
For more information or a FREE Physician Referral call 1-866-4HCA-DOCS (442-2362)
In addition to Open Heart Surgery, Northwest Medical Center offers the following minimally invasive cardiac procedures.
Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement
Until now, patients with severe aortic stenosis have had to give up much of what makes life enjoyable. But a new procedure called transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), means they won’t have to give up hope. This promising new procedure for those considered too high risk for traditional heart valve replacement, or those who were previously considered inoperable. Read more.
Emergency Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI)
Northwest Medical Center received the approval from the State of Florida to perform primary percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) services, which means our facility will have emergency coronary angioplasty available to our patients 24 hours per day, 7 day per week.
This initiative along with our stroke certification are two very tangible steps that we have taken to become the tertiary hospital of choice for our community. As we continue along this path of growth and development of our service lines and clinical programs, we are very proud to be a facility that is continually investing and adding services to meet the changing and growing needs of our community.
Cardiac catheterization is a medical sub-specialty dedicated to using minimally invasive techniques with imaging guidance. A heart catheterization, or “cath” exam, is a special diagnostic x-ray imaging exam that allows your physician to see if any of the coronary arteries have blockages or evaluate patient’s heart valves functionality.
Our lab is equipped with the latest medical technology and available 24-hours a day for emergency services. These catheter-based procedures may reduce the risks and recovery time found in traditional surgical approaches. The benefits of catheter-based interventions include shorter hospital stays, reduced recovery time without the pain of a large incision, and less visible surgical scarring. These procedures can be performed on both the heart and peripheral blood vessels.
Specifically, NWMC uses the Allura Xper FD20 X-ray systems from Philips which exposes patients to less radiation during the actual procedures than many other available systems.
- Right and left heart catheterization
- Coronary angiogram
- Left ventriculograms and other angiographies
- Temporary pacemaker insertion
- Intravascular Ultrasound
- Intra-aortic balloon pump insertion
- Thrombolytic therapy
- Percutaneous Coronary Interventions (PCI) such as:
- Coronary Stenting
Our echocardiography laboratory is equipped with the latest cardiac transthoracic and transesophageal ultrasound systems. The Philips iE33 is a digital system that has enhanced tissue harmonic imaging with next generation broadband flow imaging. This advanced technology has the capability of viewing images throughout the facility and from physicians offices and home. Cardiologists also have a workstation for evaluation and analysis of the images.
Specialized procedures performed in the Echocardiography Lab include the following:
- Diagnostic 2-dimensional echocardiography with or without M-Mode, Color Flow, Mapping and Doppler
- Transesophageal echocardiography with mutliplane transducer
Cardiac electrophysiology is the study of the heart’s electrical system. The term “Electrophysiology Study” or “EP Study” applies to any procedure that requires the insertion of an electrode catheter into the heart.
Our electrophysiology lab boasts an array of state-of the art technology including the the Prucka system to stimulate the heart, and a CARTO system for 3-D mapping. These are capable of performing a wide range of procedures including:
- Sinus Node Recovery Times
- HIS Bundle Recordings
- A-V Nodal Conduction Recordings
- Atrial and Ventricular Pacing/Recording
- Comprehensive Electrophysiology Studies
- Cardiac 3D Mapping
- Cardiac Ablations
- Cardiac Implants:
- Permanent/Temporary pacemakers
- Implantable Cardiac Defibrillators
Atrial Fibrillation (A-Fib)
Captivating moments can make your heart skip a beat. Unfortunately, you also know that something else causes your heart to flutter — atrial fibrillation (A-Fib). Though A-Fib is treatable, it's difficult to know what to do when its symptoms continue. Northwest Medical Center is here for you when advanced treatment options are your best chance for success. For the estimated 2.4 million Americans diagnosed with A-Fib, most are initially prescribed with low level medications or treatment procedures to help control heart rate and prevent blood clots. But when symptoms persist, it's vital to seek an alternative treatment option that works to avoid the negative health effects that can result from untreated A-Fib, namely, stroke.
The good news is, Northwest Medical Center offers several leading-edge treatment options to help safely and easily treat A-Fib before life-threatening effects can occur. Some of these minimally invasive techniques include: Atrial Flutter (A-Flutter) Ablation, Ventricular-tachycardia (VT) Ablation and Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT) Ablation. Many individuals who have utilized these procedures enjoy quick recovery, and require no further treatment for their A-fib.
Severe carotid stenosis is a disease characterized as a build-up of plaque in the carotid artery which is the artery that supplies blood to the brain and when left untreated often results in a stroke.
At Northwest Medical Center we have been performing a new FDA approved minimally invasive life-saving procedure called Carotid Stenting. This procedure involves puncturing the femoral artery in the groin. Under x-ray guidance, a catheter device is then threaded through the blood stream into the carotid artery and then an angioplasty balloon and stent are inserted to hold the artery open. Also employed is a novel technology involving the insertion of a filter device which stays in place during the procedure that catches particles which are often inadvertently dislodged during angioplasty, thereby minimizing the possibility of any complications which could occur during the surgery.
Non-Invasive Vascular Ultrasound Laboratory
Ultrasound waves are used to detect disease in veins and arteries throughout the body by using pulse wave and color Doppler. Specialized exams; to name a few; are venous mapping, thoracic outlet syndrome, shunt testing, SMA Doppler and Renal Artery Doppler.
The laboratory is accredited by the American College of Radiology with a dedicated team of sonographers who are nationally registered by the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers.
Peripheral vascular disease refers to blockages in arteries of the brain, kidneys, and legs. Peripheral vascular disease is a form of atherosclerosis, also known as hardening of the arteries, and is a progressive disease process.
Atherosclerosis is caused when fatty substances build up inside the artery walls over time and create a narrowed opening which restricts proper blood flow. This build up is most likely to occur in the iliac arteries (lower abdomen leading to the legs), the femoral and popliteal arteries (legs), the renal arteries (kidneys) and the carotid arteries (in the neck leading to the brain).
When organs and muscles in the body receive an insufficient supply of oxygen-rich blood, they literally become starved and alert you to this fact by producing pain. If the blockage occurs in the arteries supplying the legs, the resulting symptom is a cramping pain in the hips, thighs or calf muscle and can limit even casual walking. If the cycle of pain is relieved with rest, we call the condition intermittent claudication. Pain that occurs during rest can sometimes be alleviated by lowering the legs so the force of gravity shunts blood into the feet. If blood circulation becomes so severely restricted that the legs and feet are perpetually starved for nutrition, gangrene--or death of the tissue-- can occur. Without treatment, the entire foot or possibly part of the leg may have to be amputated.
Other symptoms of peripheral vascular disease in the lower extremity include: coldness of the leg and foot; paleness of the leg or foot if elevated; blue/red discoloration of the foot or toes; loss or decreased growth of hair on the legs; dry, fragile or shiny-looking skin; numbness, tingling or pain in the leg, foot or toes; sores that do not heal.
Other conditions can also cause these symptoms. Therefore, a thorough examination with a physician is necessary. Symptoms of peripheral vascular disease in the carotid arteries include: sudden, temporary weakness or numbness of the face, arm and/or leg on one side of the body; temporary loss of speech or trouble speaking or understanding speech; temporary dimness or loss of vision, particularly in one eye; unexplained dizziness, unsteadiness or sudden falls. Transient Ischemic Attacks (TIA’S) are mini-strokes and elicit the same symptoms named above except they are temporary. At this time, carotid atherosclerosis can only by corrected by surgery.
Symptoms of peripheral vascular disease in the renal arteries include; hypertension (high blood pressure-consistently higher than 140/90); abnormal kidney function blood tests.
For more information or for a free physician referral, please call 1-866-4HCA-DOCS.
- Visit our health library for Heart Attack Info
- Treating a Heart Attack Before It Happens
- Solving Heart Problems: Percutaneous Coronary Intervention
Accredited Chest Pain Center
Chest pain is one of the most common reasons that emergency rooms see patients. Every year there are well over a million cases of people suffering from cardiac attacks of some sort. In some cases the cardiac issues that bring patients to the hospital result in a heart attack. Hospitals that have protocols which are designed to reduce the amount of time it takes a patient to be diagnosed are extremely effective at catching a potential heart attack before it happens and saving lives.
Who is involved?
The Society of Chest Pain Centers is an organization that is dedicated to helping medical facilities increase their quality of care when it comes to cardiac issues such as heart attacks. They have put together a process by which hospitals are evaluated. The hospitals who perform well enough to be evaluated favorably can then become Accredited Chest Pain Centers. An Accredited Chest Pain Center is a facility that meets or exceeds standards of medical care pertinent to potential heart attack patients. The goals of this accreditation are to:
- Decrease the amount of time it takes for a patient exhibiting cardiac troubles to be effectively evaluated by a physician.
- Provide a medical setting where patients who may or may not be in danger of a heart attack can be properly watched and evaluated to ensure that they do not need further medical attention.
- Decrease the amount of “low risk” patients who are admitted to the hospital. “Low risk” patients are people who may be experiencing chest pain but are not realistically in danger of having a heart attack.
- Provide feedback and educational opportunities to all interested medical facilities in an effort to improve medical care and reduce the number of heart attack deaths experienced by patients.
As you can see the Society of Chest Pain Centers wants to help hospitals save lives. Receiving care for a heart attack at an Accredited Chest Pain Center means that you are being cared for by a facility that has taken extra time to makes sure that organization and medical knowledge are brought together effectively. In essence you are getting the best heart attack care available.
How do they do it?
The end goal is to increase both efficiency and effectiveness in order to save lives. This is done through careful evaluation, education and by making changes to the way that hospitals approach heart attack care.
- Evaluation- The evaluation process begins when a hospital applies for accreditation. Once the evaluation begins an agent comes to the hospital and identifies any gaps in care. Gaps in care constitute any practices that could be made faster, more effective or eliminated in an effort to identify a heart attack. Once any gaps have been identified a multi-disciplinary team of expert educates the hospital staff on how to bridge the gaps. They strategize with the staff about what would work best and then the hospital staff implements the changes and operates more effectively. Once the hospital is performing more effectively on their own a research team is sent in to track progress and confirm that patient care has been improved and meets accreditation standards. If the hospital meets the required standards the team files necessary paperwork which is evaluated by the Society of Chest Pain Centers. With final approval the hospital receives accreditation.
- Education- The Society of Chest Pain Centers seeks to work with the hospital. Any gaps that exist can be closed. Any delays in treatment that make patients wait longer to be evaluated can be reduced. Patients who need further evaluation can be accommodated instead of being sent home to possible have a heart attack. Evaluators educate hospitals on where they are falling short or where they can make improvements.
- Making Improvements- If any of these issues are present the evaluators will document them and work with the hospital to fix them. If it means improving the triage policy-the protocol for patients checking themselves in-or dedicating floor space to allow for patients to stay for further evaluation then the evaluators will help the facility make these things happen. The process borrows effective reasoning from other industries, such as the business world, to help identify problems and find solutions that promote the best medical outcomes. Timing is an important part of the evaluation so anything that makes a patient wait or slows a doctor down will be eliminated.
We have gone through the process and are now an Accredited Chest Pain Center. That makes our hospital one of the best choices in all of South Florida when it comes to seeking care for a heart attack. We provide expert care to the residents of Broward County. For more information please visit us online or call 1-866-442-2362 for a free physician referral.