MyNorth News Service

(Press release and commentary submitted by David Zechman, President and CEO of McLaren Northern Michigan)

PETOSKEY: Cardiovascular health does not have a one-size-fits-all approach. Heart disease, for example, affects millions of people and costs billions of dollars every year, but what is appropriate and necessary for one patient might be redundant or even counterproductive for another.

Through regular study, analysis, and review of health conditions affecting the residents within our 22-county service area, we are consistently reminded that cardiovascular disease is a prevalent issue. To address individual heart conditions and to rein in costs for both facilities and patients alike, we provide a clinical care approach.

Heart and vascular clinics at McLaren Northern Michigan focus on individualized treatments plans, resulting in better outcomes, in a shorter amount of time, with a marked reduction in hospital readmissions. The heart clinics at McLaren Northern Michigan are representative of our pursuit of quality in all that we do.

These clinics bring together multidisciplinary teams of cardiologists, cardiothoracic surgeons, anesthesiologists, and highly trained clinical specialists who work together to expedite diagnosis and evaluation which benefits patients in such a large geographic region. Patients schedule appointments close to home for everything from evaluation to diagnosis, from treatment planning to procedures, and from rehabilitation to home care.

The heart clinics focus on education and symptom recognition, encouraging patients to become active partners in the management of their chronic disease.

Vein Clinic

An estimated 6 – 7 million people in the United States are affected by Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI) at a given time. Vein disease is very common, yet under recognized or misunderstood as purely cosmetic. Untreated, the disease may significantly impact quality of life by causing pain, limitation of mobility, infections, or even early mortality. The Vein Clinic at McLaren Northern Michigan provides a comprehensive approach to vein disease in conjunction with other disease management. Clinical findings of the disease show an overlap with multiple other syndromes that cardiologists normally treat, including heart failure and peripheral arterial disease. Our cardiologists are specialists in treating vein disease, and the Vein Clinic team provides evaluation and management including the use of medications, diagnostic studies, and interventions that are familiar to cardiologists. We are focused on creating awareness of venous conditions, so patients receive treatment to improve quality of life.

Arrhythmia Clinic

The Arrhythmia Clinic treats patients with heart rhythm disorders, such as atrial fibrillation (or Afib). Based on a patient’s specific arrhythmia condition, our specialists may perform device implantation such as a pacemaker, use advanced ablation techniques, and facilitate a course of medication designed to stabilize the heart rhythm. For some patients, ablation (heat) and cryoablation (cold) technology is used to reset the heart rhythm. Keith Kester of Cedarville was accustomed to living with a heart condition, having been diagnosed years earlier. His heart rate was typically 145 beats per minute. (Ideal heart rate is 60 – 100 BPM.) Kester was referred to our Electrophysiologist Naomi Overton, MD, and eventually was treated with cryoablation — it changed Mr. Kester’s life.

Cryoablation is known for its ability to pinpoint the precise area of electrical misfiring without damaging surrounding tissue. So successful, Mr. Kester no longer needs medication. “I am off everything,” he told us. “I never liked being on medication, and now I take nothing at all.”

Heart Failure Clinic

National statistics indicate that the 30-day period following a heart procedure is the time most likely for hospital readmission. Through our Heart Failure Clinic, we take a proactive approach, and our physicians see patients within 3 – 7 days after they are discharged from the hospital, working to prevent complications before they arise. The Heart Failure Clinic at McLaren Northern Michigan uses education, medication therapy, symptom management, and close follow-up to reduce the incidence of readmission or emergency department visits.

Heart Valve Clinic

Heart valve conditions once required invasive surgery — McLaren Northern Michigan surgeons have performed well over 6,000 procedures — but the Heart Valve Clinic also offers innovative technologies and advanced treatment options. For example, transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) requires only a small incision to place a heart valve. In 2012, we were one of only a few Michigan hospitals approved to offer TAVR and among the first 25% of all cardiac surgery programs nationwide to set the course for this life-changing procedure. And since, we have implanted over 70 valves with fantastic results. Additionally, the Heart Valve Clinic uses outpatient therapy, medication management, plus health and wellness educational programs.

The clinical model of care is a very useful tool in the promotion of heart health and the treatment of all heart conditions. Bringing advanced heart care to our region has long been a priority, and our use of this model has allowed us to achieve that goal. We are proud of the recognition our heart program has brought us, but equally important, we are honored to be of service to the many communities throughout northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula.

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