Comprehensive heart care under one roof

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High-tech resources: The Center for Cardiovascular Medicine at Porter Regional Hospital offers a full range of cardiac and vascular diagnostic testing and intervention in its catherization labs. | Supplied photo

Valley West health news
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When designing the new Porter Regional Hospital at U.S. 6 and Indiana 49 in Valparaiso, great care was

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Franciscan St. James aims to
screen 1,000 hearts, save 100 lives

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taken to have all cardiac services in one, easily accessible area.

The result was the Center for Cardiovascular Medicine, described as a “heart hospital within a hospital,” where patients can go through a separate entrance from the main hospital itself and access all cardiac services — from screening to surgery — in one location on the main floor, said Terri Gingerich, cardiovascular services line director for Porter Regional Hospital.

“Before, we were in an aging facility and the patient had to go to multiple floors to get various procedures done. We brought all those services together so the clinicians can cohesively work together,” Gingerich said, adding that now there are separate parking and registration areas solely for cardiac patients.

Porter Regional Hospital replaces the 73-year-old Porter Valparaiso Hospital Campus. In addition to the Center for Cardiovascular Medicine, the new hospital includes a Center for Orthopedic Medicine and the Women and Children’s Pavilion.

According to the hospital’s website, the cardiac center has 13 private cardiac rooms, four cardiac catheterization and electrophysiology rooms and two future cardiac catheterization rooms, providing comprehensive evaluation, consultation, and medical and surgical management of diseases of the heart and circulatory system for the region’s growing population.

Gingerich said all the rooms in the holding area, like the patient rooms in the hospital itself, are private, making the experience easier and better for patients and their families.

Diverse expertise

The Center for Cardiovascular Medicine is manned by 16 board-certified physicians, divided into several groups, certified nurse practitioners, nurses and technicians.

“We offer a full range of cardiac and vascular diagnostic testing and interventions in our state-of-the-art catheterization labs. Our cardiologists perform complex cardiac and peripheral interventions to restore blood flow to diseased vessels. The electrophysiologists diagnose and treat abnormal heart rhythms through procedures such as device implantation and ablations. Our services also include a multitude of procedures performed by our interventional radiologists. Our cardiovascular surgery team performs open heart surgery and valve surgeries,” Gingerich said.

Fresh equipment, familiar staff

All the imaging equipment was upgraded when the new hospital opened its doors on Aug. 25, 2012, Gingerich said. One example is biplane imaging, which Gingerich said takes a full image of the heart instead of one direction only.

“This is an advanced imaging system,” she said.

Gingerich said the new equipment has made the medical staff’s jobs easier, quicker and more accurate.

“Plus we’re nicely set up for new procedures coming down the road,” the director said.

One aspect that hasn’t changed much is the staffing itself. Gingerich said the same experienced staff moved over from the old building.

“There’s a lot of heart and soul in the staff. They put a lot of effort into educating the community on heart disease prevention,” she said.

Gingerich said one service the center offers is an inexpensive heart health screening, which she said has proven to be a lifesaver for some patients.

“In some instances, patients have gone from the screening straight into the operating room,” she said.

With the new, modern building, new equipment and experienced medical staff, Gingerich said there is no need for region residents to go to Chicago for their heart health needs.

“What we offer here is the same as what you get in the city,” she said.

More information about the Center for Cardiovascular Medicine is at (219) 983-8310 or go to porterhealth.com and click “Center for Cardiovascular Medicine.”