For more than 100 years, Lutheran Medical Center has cared for the hearts of our community’s citizens. Every day, we save patients experiencing heart attacks or chest pain. But we don’t stop once they’re out of immediate danger. Our team of cardiovascular specialists—including cardiologists, cardiothoracic surgeons, cardiac-trained nurses and many others—pinpoint and treat the root cause of the problem and rehabilitate patients to restore their health and reduce their risk of future heart issues.
Lutheran’s Heart and Vascular Program offers patient-focused care and cutting-edge technology. Here are just a few of the conditions we treat.
Successful heart attack treatment is a race with one goal—opening the blocked blood vessel and restoring blood flow. Lutheran’s heart attack teams, led by interventional cardiologists including David Kovar, MD, use catheter-based techniques, such as balloon angioplasty and stenting, whenever appropriate.
“Our rapid ‘door-to-balloon time’ [the period from when the patient enters the hospital to when the artery is unblocked] is typically less than 90 minutes, which saves lives and increases the chances of recovery,” Dr. Kovar says. “Our teams also include cardiovascular surgeons who can perform bypass grafts and open-heart surgery, if required.”
In addition to operating in emergency situations, Lutheran’s cardiovascular surgeons, including Allan Brants, MD, perform many elective (planned) procedures, such as heart valve repair.
“We offer advanced technologies, including 3-dimensional transesophageal echocardiography, to help us evaluate the valves and determine the best surgical approach,” he says.
“Our cardiovascular group has worked together for many years, and we have a deep sense of commitment to this patient community,” Dr. Brants adds.
Dr. Kovar agrees. “We’ve become very effective in how we communicate with each other and with patients,” he says. “This leads to superior survival rates and outcomes.”
Heart Rhythm Issues
Treating hearts that beat too fast, slowly or irregularly is the focus of Lutheran’s electrophysiology team. One of the most common heart rhythm disorders is atrial fibrillation, which occurs when abnormal electrical signals cause the heart’s upper chambers (atria) to contract very quickly or irregularly. Untreated atrial fibrillation is a significant risk factor for stroke.
Electrophysiologist Bohuslav Finta, MD, performs procedures that destroy the heart tissue producing the abnormal signals using either radiofrequency (heat) energy or cryoablation freezing techniques.
“We use mapping technology that helps us determine exactly where to treat the tissue and how much energy to apply,” he says. “Ninety percent of patients experience a decrease in symptoms, such as shortness of breath and palpitations. Unfortunately, we still see many patients who have ignored these symptoms and have sustained significant heart damage,” he adds. “The earlier you seek treatment, the better.”
Peripheral Vascular Program
Complete cardiovascular care includes treating the peripheral vascular system, the network of blood vessels (arteries and veins) throughout the body. If you’ve been experiencing pain in your legs during walking that disappears when you rest, it may be a symptom of narrowing of the blood vessels due to plaque deposits.
Interventional cardiologist Martin Fejka, MD, treats peripheral vascular diseases using a variety of minimally invasive techniques, including stenting arteries to keep them open and using radiofrequency energy to shrink diseased veins, allowing blood to reroute to healthy veins.
“These procedures reduce pain, improve mobility and may even prevent limb amputation,” Dr. Fejka says. “And patients are better able to exercise, which helps improve overall cardiovascular health.”
Lutheran Medical Center provides cardiac expertise and the latest in diagnostics, interventions, surgery and rehabilitation. Learn more here.