Diagnosis and Treatment
Quick, thorough diagnosis is the key to properly providing heart and vascular care. In cooperation with the region's finest cardiologists, surgeons and radiologists, Skagit Regional Heart and Vascular Institute on the Skagit Valley Hospital campus offers the latest in heart care and vascular procedures, utilized by our highly trained staff to diagnose and care for you.
We are proud to offer state-of-the-art diagnostic testing here, close to home in our community. Most tests are done on an outpatient basis for your convenience. Patients experiencing problems such as chest pain, irregular heart beat, heart murmur, congenital abnormalities or who experience leg pain while walking, may need a diagnostic or therapeutic procedure performed. We're pleased to offer these and other sophisticated procedures right here on the Skagit Valley Hospital campus.
Most heart and vascular disease is caused by atherosclerosis, which is a narrowing or blockage of the blood flow through the arteries to the heart and other blood vessels. A test called an angiogram allows your cardiologist or health care provider to see the blood flow to determine the degree of blockage and decide on treatment.
Skagit Regional Heart and Vascular Institute's two cardiac catheterization labs offer quick access to patients for enhanced images of their heart. Our newest lab was designed as a surgical suite and completed in late 2006. Having two labs allows heart attack victims to be immediately brought in for angioplasty or stent procedures to open a blocked artery, enhancing patient outcomes. The flat-panel equipment in the newer surgical suite provides enhanced resolution with a lower radiation dose during diagnostic heart catheterization. These tests are used to check on the condition of the heart and the flow of blood through the arteries - providing a detailed view.
Take a video tour of the cath lab and learn more about cardiac catheterization with Dr. Sanjeev Vaderah, interventional cardiologist with Skagit Regional Clinics.
In October 2009, state approval allowed interventional cardiologists working in Skagit Valley Hospital’s cardiac catheterization labs to begin performing elective angioplasty.
Cardiac electrophysiology is the study, diagnosis and treatment of heart rhythm or electrical disease (arrhythmia). Dr. Ramy Hanna, cardiac electrophysiologist at Skagit Regional Health, explains his role in patients' heart health by saying, “An electrophysiologist diagnoses and treats heart rhythm disease in many ways. One route is by medicines that we are specifically trained to use. Another is by implanting pacemakers and defibrillators (ICDs) to treat people whose hearts either go too slow or too fast. The final treatment is by using catheters that are inserted into the heart through blood vessels in the legs in order to diagnose and ablate abnormal circuits in the heart muscle.” Skagit Regional Health is pleased to provide state-of-the-art heart rhythm treatment and a full range of cardiovascular care.
In the video presentation below (left) Dr. Ramy Hanna, cardiac electrophysiologist with Skagit Regional Clinics, provides information about the type of arrythmias and treatment options. The video on the right below takes viewers on a tour of the cath lab as Dr. Hanna shares information about the ablation process to treat arrythmias.
Cardiac Rehab is a three-part education and exercise program to help patients who have had a heart attack or heart procedure. Phase 1 takes place while a patient is hospitalized involving education and counseling. Phase 2 is an outpatient monitored exercise program that starts one to three weeks after a patient leaves the hospital. The maintenance program, or Phase 3, is designed for patients who have completed Phase 2 and are ready to continue to incorporate exercise into their routine. Call 360-814-8368 for more information.
Congestive Heart Failure Clinic
The Congestive Heart Failure Clinic at Skagit Valley Hospital provides education and follow up to keep patients healthier and out of the hospital. The clinic started in March 2012. Prior to the clinic start, the readmission rate for patients with Congestive Heart Failure within 30 days was 28 percent, while the national average was 23 percent. With the support of the clinic staff, the readmission rate dropped to 16 percent in the first three months of the program and 100 percent of patients referred to the program avoided returning to the hospital. Inpatients referred to the program are visited daily while in the hospital by the Congestive Heart Failure nurse who then follows up with the patient by phone after discharge and schedules an appointment with Joel Meckstroth, ARNP in cardiology within five to seven days.
The patient then participates in five additional weekly sessions in the Congestive Heart Failure Clinic with a focus on lifestyle, diet, weight, medications and exercise to improve patient management of their illness.
Echocardiography is an essential tool in diagnosing heart and valve disease. The noninvasive test uses ultrasound to provide physicians with a look at the muscle, valves, chamber, structure and blood flow of the heart. Echocardiography is available to outpatients and inpatients at Skagit Valley Hospital.
Skagit Valley Hospital ranks in the top five percent among emergency teams in how quickly we can deliver care for someone having a heart attack. Our Skagit Valley Hospital Emergency Department, designated a Level 3 Trauma Center, are staffed 24 hours a day with physicians, nurses and paramedics certified in Advanced Cardiac Life Support and who specialize in emergency medicine. Ambulances are on stand-by at all times and Skagit Valley Hospital has a helipad, should someone need transport in a hurry.
Inpatient Heart Care
Skagit Valley Hospital cardiac patients requiring a hospital stay have access to the Critical Care Unit where Registered Nurses certified in critical care provide intensive monitoring for the most ill patients. In the Telemetry Unit, Registered Nurses certified in Telemetry use sophisticated equipment to monitor care for more stable heart patients.
Our facilities include a nuclear medicine testing center where specialized camera and computer equipment are used to develop images of the heart.
Treadmill testing helps assess patients' cardiac response to increased exercise. Technicians assist with regular, thallium, persantine, ETTs, stress echoes and Dobutamine Stress Echoes.
Vascular testing is a non-invasive method used to view images of arteries including carotid, aortic and lower leg and to measure pressure.