The heart is fascinating. But many people don’t give a thought to what it is doing for them until it starts giving them trouble. And that’s when having a team of specialists on your side is key.
There are so many tools available today that help diagnose and repair heart damage. Locally, state-of-the-art equipment is available to help perform modalities to diagnose heart disease. Specifically, cardiologists that treat patients at Texoma Medical Center’s Heart Center utilize tools like stress tests, chemical and physical echo cardiograms, holter monitors, vascular ultrasound, cardiac and peripheral angiograms. All of these help detect heart and vascular problems for all age groups, from 18 to 100 years old.
You may have heard of the term cardiac catheterization (also called cardiac cath or coronary angiogram) but do you know why it’s performed? Cardiac cath is an invasive imaging procedure that tests for heart disease. It allows your cardiologist to take a look into your heart and see how well it is functioning. During the test, a long, narrow tube, called a catheter, is inserted into a blood vessel in your arm or leg and guided to your heart with the aid of a special x-ray machine. A contrast dye is injected through the catheter so that x-ray movies of your valves, coronary arteries, and heart chambers can be created.
In the event a cardiac or vascular problem is discovered, the problem can be treated with balloon angioplasty or stents. During angioplasty, a balloon-tipped catheter is inserted through an artery in the groin or arm to enlarge a narrowing in a coronary artery. This is important since coronary artery disease occurs when cholesterol plaque builds up in the walls of the arteries to the heart. In addition to the use of simple balloon angioplasty, medicated (drug-eluting) stainless steel stents in a wire-mesh design are often used to further prevent the recurrence of the blockage in the coronary artery. These stents are safe and have given favorable long-term results.
TMC physicians have performed approximately 30,000 caths and over 10,000 interventions including drug-eluting stents. If we cannot treat the blockages with interventions, the cardiothoracic surgeons on staff perform by-pass surgery if needed.
If you find yourself at an ER because of a heart attack, the national average for waiting time is approximately 90 minutes. At TMC we have cardiac cath physicians and personnel available 24 hours daily. We strive to have the damaged artery opened in 60 minutes from the time you present to the ER. This prevents most permanent damage to the heart muscle from occurring.
In the event you are unable to get treatment for your coronary or vascular disease before an adverse event lands you in the hospital, TMC is there to help you from the time you walk in the door to months after you leave our facility. As soon as your physician allows, a certified rehab specialist will visit with you and help you begin to rehab your body following your doctor’s orders. Once you are discharged and dismissed by your doctor, there is a very strong likelihood that he will recommend you attend cardiac rehab. Here, in a closely monitored environment, you begin to rehabilitate your coronary and vascular system to regain your health. Certified medical personnel are on the premises to detect and report any unusual events during your rehab. Physicians carefully monitor your progress by reviewing your EKG tracings daily. They are able to watch, in real time via monitor, any cardiac problems you are experiencing once alerted by the staff. Most of your rehab is covered by your insurance, including Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans.