Texas

The human heart: more treatable than ever before

The statistics are pretty sobering.

1 in 5 deaths in the US is due to heart disease; approximately 20.1 million adults aged 20 and over have coronary heart disease; in the US, someone has a heart attack every 40 seconds.** However, the two physicians who lead their respective teams of dedicated cardiologists and caregivers are David Ravicher, MD, Regional Medical Director of the Recovery Center hearts, and William Brinkman, MD, medical director. Thoracic Aortic Surgery Center for Thoracic Aortic Diseases – stay calm and even optimistic.

“I am much more optimistic about patient care now than I was even 10 years ago, which is why it’s worth it,” says Dr. Ravicher. As head of the new-named Heart Recovery Center, he adds: “The new name reflects … the mission of the clinic itself. It emphasizes the goal of recovery and restoration of a better quality of life. It is designed for people with severe heart conditions to get better and offers a collaborative approach to recovery.”

Collaboration is really the key

The Heart Recovery Center is a specialized care resource dedicated to improving the patient’s condition. The team includes fellow surgeons and structural heart specialists, geneticists, nutritionists, social workers, specially trained nurses, and virtually every heart specialist available. Focused on patients who may already be under the care of a cardiologist, this center provides additional care for those with advanced heart failure. The Heart Recovery Center offers laboratory services, intravenous medications, pacemaker checks, and care for patients with mechanical heart pumps (LVADs). Patients can undergo genetic testing and advanced imaging, including cardiac MRI, and meet with a nutritionist. Dr. Ravicher adds, “We are not replacing the patient’s cardiologist, we are working with them to provide the best possible care.”

Informed patients are better patients

There is no shortage of information about heart disease, heart care, and heart-related topics, both from government sources and from other health systems. Dr. Ravicher believes in patient awareness. “The more patients understand their medications and read the literature we give them, the better. We want patients to be part of this treatment paradigm.”

The Center for Thoracic Aortic Diseases is a leader in many fields

The Thoracic Aortic Center is one of the few of its kind in the state. Under the medical direction of Dr. Brinkman, a leading thoracic surgeon, the center offers clinicians and their patients valuable expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of the thoracic aorta. Thanks to advanced technology and innovative imaging techniques, the disease can now be detected in the early stages of the disease.

Collaboration is a key part II

Dr. Brinkman also emphasizes that collaboration is an integral part of positive outcomes for the center’s patients. As he says. “Here in our clinic we have vascular and cardiothoracic surgeons, as well as nurse practitioners and imaging specialists. All of these staff members meet once a week, so you get a team approach to patient care, which is always better.”

Genetics and heart disease

The questions are simple but important. Does your family have heart disease? Are you more prone to a heart attack? Do you know your risk factors? Obviously, the more patients know about their family history of heart disease, the better. However, the importance of this genetic information is why Dr. Brinkman is quick to report new additions to the clinic. “We are also collaborating with an MD/PHD medical geneticist and a medical genetics consultant. Something that no one else in the area offers.”

Achievements continue

Both Dr. Ravicher and Dr. Brinkman are grateful to their colleagues, clinical and non-clinical teams, and the hospital as a whole for making continuous progress against heart disease every day. This positive outlook is best summed up by Dr. Ravicher. “Actually, this is a quote from a recent patient. “I feel like myself again. Thank you for giving me my life back.”

* Shared ownership with doctors
**cdc.gov/heartdisease/facts.htm

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