TotalHeart Care: High-Quality Services, Excellent Outcomes

Memorial Cardiac and Vascular Institute continues to make strides in providing high-quality cardiac services for adult patients in South Florida.

The Institute treated more than 13,000 patients this year, including:

  • 4,838 diagnostic cardiac catheterizations
  • 1,684 percutaneous coronary interventions (PCI)
  • 627 cardiac surgeries, including transplants
  • 69 transcatheter aortic valve replacements (TAVR)
  • 686 electrophysiology procedures
  • 949 pacemakers and defibrillators for cardiac rhythm disorders

Memorial Cardiac and Vascular Institute has earned a three-star rating from the Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) for its patient care and outcomes in isolated coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) surgery and isolated aortic valve replacement (AVR) surgery in the current analysis of national data covering the period from January 2016 through December 2016. The three-star rating, which denotes the highest quality tier, places Memorial among the top 2.4% in the United States and Canada.

These scores are an indicator of the Institute’s commitment to patient safety and expertise in providing high-quality care to its cardiac patients. Our Total Heart Clinic has seen more than 1,316 patients for advanced heart failure, heart transplantation or adult congenital heart disease. To date, we have completed:

  • 18 adult heart transplants at the end of fiscal year 2016-2017,
  • 50 extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) procedures, and
  • 22 ventricular assist devices (VAD) in these complex patients

Memorial TotalHeart Care: Living with Congestive Heart Failure

When swelling in her legs and abdomen didn’t subside, Delores went to the emergency room at Memorial Regional Hospital. She was diagnosed with congestive heart failure.

At Memorial Cardiac and Vascular Institute, a team of nationally recognized cardiac specialists came together to create her TotalHeart care plan – beginning with a medication program, and followed by surgically implanting a defibrillator.

“I was well-informed and have always known what’s going on and what to expect,” Delores said.

Following surgery, a Memorial home health nurse monitored her condition and met her care needs. Delores also completed cardiac rehabilitation at Memorial.

“It was a great experience,” she said. “They are always there to challenge me and help me go beyond what I think I can do.”

Delores knew she was in good hands from the outset.

“It’s the hospital I know and trust,” she said. “They are wonderful and very attentive, like family.”

Delores is a very determined, positive person who believes in herself, her physicians and her treatment plan. She is proof the human spirit is stronger than anything that can happen to it.”
– Ioana Dumitru, MD, Medical Director, Advanced Heart Failure, Cardiomyopathy and Transplant

TotalHEART Team Saves Jennie from Severe Lung Failure

After several doctors’ visits and trips to the emergency room at Memorial Hospital West, Jennie was initially diagnosed with vasculitis and what the doctors thought was pneumonia because she had been coughing up blood clots. This scare led to her being admitted to the Intensive Care Unit because she had gone into respiratory distress, which required the use of a bronchoscope to remove the blood out of her lungs.

While undergoing a chest X-ray a few days later, Jennie bled into her ventilation tubes. She was diagnosed with Wegener’s/GPA vasculitis with an active leukocytoclastic rash, leading to acute respiratory distress syndrome and diffuse alveolar hemorrhage. To her family’s dismay, her chances of survival were not good.

Enrique Gongora, MD, Medical Director of Memorial Cardiac and Vascular Institute’s Adult Cardiac Surgical Transplant Program, recommended that she be transported to Memorial Regional Hospital and placed on an extracorporeal membrane oxygen (ECMO) machine. Normally reserved for patients with a predicted mortality of greater than 80 percent, ECMO is an innovative life-support intervention that acts as an artificial lung (or heart) for people with acute respiratory failure.

As an integrated healthcare system, Memorial Healthcare System is uniquely positioned to allow our dedicated team of healthcare providers to not only work within each of our six hospitals, but across our facilities as well. After performing the necessary treatment to stabilize Jennie, our Critical Transport team brought her to Memorial Regional Hospital, where she awoke nine days later.

Thanks to the TOTALHeart team, Jennie got the right therapy, at the right place, at the right time and was able to recover and continue living a normal life. “I have never come across someone who cares about patients the way Dr. Gongora cared for me,” Jennie said. “My new medical family is made up of people I will never forget. I have air in my lungs, a strong beat in my heart, and, in the words of my daughters, ‘sunshine in my pocket.’”

ECMO temporarily takes over the function of the lungs until they regenerate, allowing the patient to breathe on their own once they recover. It increases the likelihood of surviving to 50-60 percent and can mean the difference between life and death.”
– Enrique Gongora, MD, Medical Director, Adult Cardiac Surgical Transplant Program

Heart Transplants Transform Lives

Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital and Memorial Cardiac and Vascular Institute have saved dozens of lives with heart transplants. Members of the pediatric and adult transplant teams and the patients they care for describe these amazing cardiac programs.

Luis Finds Relief for Atrial Fibrillation

For years, Luis struggled with the symptoms of atrial fibrillation, the most common type of irregular heartbeat in adults. His shortness of breath, weakness and palpitations became more and more frequent, affecting his quality of life.

“It got to the point where I could barely carry out my normal activities,” he said. “I was on prescription medication to control my rhythm, but it was a scary situation all the time because it just kept happening.”

Luis’ symptoms eventually led him to the emergency room, and his cardiologist referred him to Daniel Benhayon, MD, cardiac electrophysiologist. Dr. Benhayon performed an atrial fibrillation ablation, which is a minimally invasive procedure that restores the heart’s regular rhythm by isolating or destroying the area of heart tissue that causes the rapid and irregular heartbeats.

“There was no cutting or sewing,” said Dr. Benhayon. “We simply used the veins and arteries as points of entry to reach the heart with specialized catheters that have the ability to move inside of the heart. We also perform these procedures with minimal radiation exposure to the patient, something unique about our technique and not offered elsewhere in South Florida.”

In addition to a highly qualified and experienced medical team, Memorial Healthcare System offers its patients an electrophysiology laboratory featuring the latest technology, catheters and mapping systems, all of which are not widely available in South Florida.

Luis, whose symptoms have disappeared since he had the ablation in October 2015, describes the procedure as “absolutely painless.” He was able to resume his normal activities right away, and is thankful to Dr. Benhayon and the Memorial team for helping him feel well again. Everyone was very supportive, he said, and he just knew he was in good hands.

“My experience at Memorial was amazing,” he said. “I wish I had done it sooner and avoided all those years of suffering.”

© 2017 Memorial Healthcare System