“I know it’s a cliché to say, ‘I might not be here today if it wasn’t for…’ but it’s true,” a recent heart attack patient who received a critical stent in the Cardiac Cath Lab at Iredell Memorial Hospital’s Heart & Vascular Center, shared. “I got exceptional, immediate care when I really needed it. My family and I are grateful this excellent cardiac center is so easy to get to right here in Statesville.” Being at the right place at the right time can make all the difference.
A HEALTY HEART FOR EVERYONE
“I believe our patients’ outcomes are significantly improved because they don’t need to be transferred elsewhere when they have a cardiac event,” said Larry Morissette. “Iredell Health System can boast that in terms of heart treatment, we offer comprehensive, advanced care with many positive success stories.” Larry is the Cath Lab manager at Iredell Memorial, and his 25 years of experience in this specialty give him a unique perspective. He loves to teach and work hand-in-hand with his staff, focusing first on patient care and second on supporting his coworkers. Providing cardiovascular medical services is a complex undertaking, and Iredell Health System’s dedicated team approach is evident throughout.
THE BUSINESS OF HEART HEALTH
John Green, vice president of professional services and facility planning, has a leadership role in every department, every decision. “This is an exciting time, with projects planned in several areas of the health system, including cardiovascular services,” he said. “The investments we are making in new technology and upgraded facilities are investments in the health of our community.”
Skip Meador brings many years of administrative experience in cardiovascular medicine to his role as director of cardiovascular services at Iredell Health System. “This department offers world-class care, and I want to make sure people in our community understand the treasure they have in this department,” Skip told me. “Our team’s commitment to their patients is unsurpassed, and the vision of our administrative team and physicians result in an exceptionally high level of quality care for our patients.”
The hospital has recently undergone a $3 million expansion, with about one half of that investment in cardiovascular services. The redesigned Heart and Vascular Center integrates a busy cardiac catheterization laboratory into an expanded patient facility also providing noninvasive testing for cardiac and vascular disease. The new Center offers patients a single location for comprehensive heart and vascular care, and brings the department’s varied services together for greater coordination among physicians and staff working in the department. “The buildings and equipment are critical, but that’s the easy part, really,” said Skip. “Supporting our people and providing them what they need to do their jobs—if we do that right, the rest falls into place. I think we do that really well.”
Iredell Memorial has also invested in new diagnostic technology, including echocardiography ultrasound equipment with 3D imaging to evaluate structural heart disease and a new and advanced nuclear medicine camera. The nuclear camera, the Symbia Evo imaging system, is a cutting-edge diagnostic tool that checks heart function, measures the size of cardiac arteries, and looks for lesions and blockages. It improves efficiency and quality of patient care, and is also used in other specialties, such as for brain and abdominal imaging, keeping Iredell Health System at the forefront of patient services.
EXPERIENCE AND EXPERTISE
Research has linked the number of procedures a physician performs to better patient outcomes. Iredell’s cardio team includes nine providers, six with more than 20 years’ experience. Dr. Charles DeBerardinis, DO, FACC, known by many as Dr. Chaz, is the medical director for Iredell’s Cardiac Cath Lab and one of Iredell Health System’s interventional cardiologists. He’s been doing this work for 22 years, and in North Carolina Dr. Chaz is among the top ten interventional cardiologists in the number of coronary procedures he performs. “We have upgraded our diagnostic and treatment capabilities to the level of surrounding tertiary centers, which simply means we have what is needed to stabilize and treat patients experiencing heart failure or cardiac shock right here,” Dr. Chaz said. “The hospital has made significant investments in our department, providing new assist devices, state-of-the-art technology, and leading-edge procedures, but I do believe it’s the level of expertise of our physicians that plays a significant role in our successful outcomes.”
“I love the diversity of procedures I perform,” said Dr. Ray Georgeson, MD, FACC, a cardiologist with Piedmont HealthCare who practices at Iredell Memorial. “Last year our department performed over 800 catheterizations and around 10,000 non-invasive procedures. Things happen in a hurry, and we’re set up to recognize the problem and get people back to good health quickly.”
PATIENT FOCUSED HEALTHCARE
Dr. William Newton, MD, is a vascular surgeon. Through a collaboration with Wake Forest Baptist Health, Dr. Newton performs surgery at Iredell Memorial Hospital on a full-time basis. “We see many people in our community who are at risk for vascular disease and stroke—smokers, diabetics, those with hypertension and high cholesterol, and others—and they can be diagnosed, treated, and followed right here, without having to drive out of town, search for parking, and get lost in a huge medical center all the time,” Dr. Newton explained. “We’re able to do what’s needed for whoever comes in the door.”
Iredell Heart and Vascular Center is dedicated to treating all forms of cardiovascular disease, including coronary heart disease, peripheral vascular disease, and stroke. You, or someone you know and love, has likely benefitted from one of these treatments, which include noninvasive and invasive testing and minimally invasive interventions. If diagnosed quickly, early testing, diagnostic catheterizations and coronary artery stenting can help people in the earliest stages of heart attack avoid heart surgery. The Heart and Vascular Center also offers pacemaker and defibrillator implantations, as well as comprehensive diagnostic testing for peripheral vascular disease, minimally invasive vascular interventions, and a full range of vascular surgeries.
Iredell Memorial Hospital has been recognized for diagnosis and treatment of strokes, and received the American Heart Association’s Get with the Guidelines Quality Achievement Award for the past 10 years. It is also an accredited Chest Pain Center and Primary Stroke Care Center.
ANCILLARY HEART HEALTH SERVICES
Cardiac rehabilitation is key to long-term heart health. The Cardiac Rehabilitation Center is a comprehensive, hands-on program for patients who have been treated for heart disease. A highly trained professional team of physicians, nurses, therapists, dieticians, and counselors work in tandem with patients and their doctors to help patients improve and maintain their health and quality of life through exercise, education, counseling, and regular progress reports. The program operates out of the Outpatient Services Building on Iredell Memorial’s campus.
February is Heart Health Month—you’ll be hearing a lot about this subject in the weeks to follow. We all need to understand our own role in taking care of our hearts and doing what is needed to stay heart healthy. Learn all you can about your heart; it’s what keeps you going. Symptoms that indicate an abnormal heart condition can include shortness of breath, chest pain, or dizzy spells. Women often have less recognizable symptoms, such as jaw pain, nausea, and vomiting. Pay attention and take action if you suspect your heart may be telling you something critical. Being at the right place at the right time could save your life.
Iredell Heart and Vascular Center
557 Brookdale Drive • Statesville