New Phoenix Institute for Congestive Heart Failure helps patients avoid hospital

Officials contend the Abrazo Arizona Heart Hospital’s new Institute for Congestive Heart Failure is the first of its kind. (Submitted photo)

Abrazo Arizona Heart Hospital’s new Institute for Congestive Heart Failure has a goal of keeping patients out of the hospital.

Touted among the nation’s first of its kind for comprehensive, patient-centered care, the Institute for Congestive Heart Failure encompasses everything from prevention and early detection to treatment options, according to a press release.

The new institute is one of six specialty cardiac and vascular institutes being created by Abrazo Arizona Heart Hospital. The institute uses new diagnostics, including optimized medications and revolutionary, minimally invasive procedures to help the heart work better, the release added.

For example, CardioMEMS is a home procedure allowing patients to use a portable electronic unit and a special pillow containing an antenna to take daily sensor readings, the release described.

The readings, which are wirelessly transmitted through a secure website, allow hospital staff to make any necessary modifications to medications, the release said.

“It’s a simple procedure where we implant an electronic sensor, the size of a paperclip, through a catheter in the pulmonary artery that carries blood from the heart to the lungs,” Dr. Kris Vijay, the institute’s new medical director, said in a prepared statement. “This helps us detect small changes in heart pressure.”

In addition to the procedures, the new institute has five outpatient treatment areas where caregivers can remove excess salt and water from the body.

“Fluid overload is responsible for 90-percent of hospitalizations for congestive heart failure, but in our outpatient treatment areas, patients are treated with ultrafiltration and aquapheresis, a new medical technology that removes excess salt and water from the body within a few hours,” Patrick Smith, a registered nurse and the institutes’s nurse navigator, said in a prepared statement.

Dr. Vijay and staff help patients manage their heart disease to avoid hospitalization
despite heart failure patients often requiring frequent hospital admissions and readmissions, the release added.

“There are many myths surrounding the condition,” Dr. Vijay said.  “Heart failure conjures up a thought that death is imminent but nothing could be further from the truth. On the contrary, people with heart failure can enjoy long and healthy lives, thanks in part to advancements in cardiovascular care.”

About 5.7 million Americans live with heart failure, caused by a build-up of fluids in various parts of the body, according to the American Heart Association. Based on recent a 14-year study conducted by the National Institute on Aging and the Icelandic Heart Association, that number can triple among seniors during the next four decades, however.

“The study speaks volumes about the need to take better care of ourselves, particularly as we age,” Dr. Vijay said.

Among factors contributing to heart failure are:

  • Coronary heart disease
  • Hypertension
  • Obesity
  • High cholesterol
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Chronic kidney diseases blocking coronary arteries.

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