Cardiology Care Services
About Our Cardiology Care Services
The Cardiovascular Program brings board certified cardiologists, nurses and cardiac technicians together to provide personalized, quality care from the earliest onset of a cardiac event through rehabilitation.
Nationally recognized as the gold standard to diagnose heart disease, cardiac catheterization is part of the comprehensive cardiology services at Southern Ocean Medical Center.
Cardiac catheterization involves passing a catheter (i.e., a thin, flexible tube) through an artery or a vein to the heart, and into a coronary artery. Contrast dye is then injected into the catheter to show areas of blockage. Then, angiograms (i.e., x-ray images) of the coronary arteries and the left ventricle, the heart’s main pumping chamber, are taken. Cardiac catheterization can also be used to measure pressure in the pulmonary artery and to monitor heart function.
The procedure takes 15 to 30 minutes to perform and patients are required to remain on bed rest for two to four hours following cardiac catheterization.
Indications for the procedure include the following:
- Angina that is not easily controlled with medication, that disrupts daily routine, occurs at rest, or recurs after heart attack
- Heart failure with suspected coronary artery disease
- Heart valve disease with symptoms (e.g., shortness of breath)
- Markedly abnormal stress test results
- Recurring chest pain of unidentified cause
Preliminary results are usually available immediately, indicating whether angioplasty or open-heart surgery is necessary, or if treatment with medication is advisable.
There are a number of tests available at Southern Ocean Medical Center that can help physicians understand what is going on inside the heart. These include:
- Exercise Stress Test: While hooked up to equipment that monitors the heart, the patients gradually increases his or her pace on a treadmill. As the body works harder, it requires more oxygen and the heart has to pump more blood. This test can show if there’s a lack of blood supply through the arteries that go into the heart.
- Nuclear Stress Test: This test reveals how well the blood flows to the heart muscle. When the patient reaches the maximum level of exercise on the treadmill, a small amount of a radioactive substance called an isotope is injected into the blood stream. The patient lies down on a table under a camera than can see the isotope, which mixes with the bloodstream and enters the cells of the heart muscle, revealing any potential problems, such as a blockage.
- Persantine/ Lexiscan Nuclear Stress Test: This test is for those who are not able to exercise on the treadmill. Persantine/ Lexiscan, are medications, are injected slowly over four minutes. Then, an isotope is injected. Pictures of the heart are obtained by nuclear camera to see blood circulation to the heart muscle.
- Stress Echocardiology: An exercise stress test and echocardiology combined.
- Cardiac Rehabilitation
Following surgery or hospitalization, the Cardiac Rehabilitation Program provides an intensive 12-week program of monitored exercise, education and counseling support under the direction of a board-certified cardiologist.
Exercise is the focal point of the program. The program helps patients achieve improved fitness and prepare them to succeed in an independent exercise regimen.
The basic program is held three times a week for up to 12 weeks. Each session is approximately one hour long. Instruction and supervision help patients progress safely and gradually toward their optimal level of function.
- Continuous ECG and heart rate
- Blood pressure checks
- Oxygen monitoring (as needed)
- Blood sugar testing (as needed)
- A variety of state-of-the-art equipment such as treadmills, stationary cycles, ergometers and free weights, may be used to provide for total body conditioning
Educational sessions are integrated into the overall program to help patients gain a better understanding of their condition and promote healthier lifestyle habits. Family members are encouraged to attend.
- The benefits of safe and effective exercise
- Lifestyle modification of risk factors
- Improving nutrition (each participant meets individually with a dietitian to plan an appropriate diet)
- Disease management
- Stress management and relaxation techniques
- How cardiac medications work
- Coping with your emotions about the disease
The Southern Ocean Medical Center Family Resource Center sponsors a number of blood pressure screenings at various locations and times throughout the year. High blood pressure is a risk factor for heart disease, so having one’s blood pressure checked regularly can help prevent heart disease.
The Southern Ocean Medical Center Family Resource Center also sponsors a number of education programs presented by Southern Ocean Medical Center physicians on the prevention, diagnosis and treatment for heart disease.
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