Heart care is changing at
Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital
As a part of the nationally recognized Sentara Healthcare system, our skilled Heart team’s advanced capabilities and superior outcomes are better than ever. We’ve expanded our staff and facilities to better handle abnormal cardiac rhythms like AFIB, to get your heart back into sync. We’re also seeing significantly improved recovery times thanks to our progressive approach in the cath lab, and our partnership with local rescue squads is enabling us to receive critical information from the field to provide you with faster heart attack care.
Abnormal Rhythm Treatment
Sentara Heart Rhythm Center at Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of heart arrhythmia disorders, including atrial fibrillation, also called AF or Afib.
After introducing our second electrophysiologist (EP) cardiologist and opening a new EP lab in 2015, we are poised to provide the seamless, comprehensive care the Sentara Heart Rhythm Center has been known to even more members of our community.
We use the latest technologies to diagnose the many different types of heart arrhythmias, including:
- Holter or Event Monitors: a small, temporary wearable device that records your heart rhythm over a period of time, such as one day.
- Electrophysiology (EP) Study: Using a catheter inserted into a blood vessel in the groin or neck and moved up into the heart, an electrophysiologist studies your heart’s electrical system. He or she can purposely cause the abnormal heart rhythm in order to diagnose the problem.
- Implantable Loop Recorder: a small device placed underneath the skin that helps determine the cause of fainting. It can be used for up to several years.
The expert team at Sentara treats abnormal heart rhythms in their state of the art facility, performing both simple and complex ablations, cardioversions, implants and management of all cardiac devices.
Advanced Heart Attack Care
When having a heart attack, time means muscle. Our cardiac care teams are getting to blocked vessels in the cath lab 37 minutes faster than the national average; thanks in part to our partnership with local rescue squads which enables us to receive real-time data from the field before the patient arrives.
The process of treating a heart attack often begins with first responders, many of whom can take an EKG on location at the patient's home and send it in to the hospital for review. This triggers the emergency department to notify the cardiac team that a patient is on the way. This crucial first step can reduce door-to-balloon* time further as it gives the team time to assemble and be ready as soon as the patient is brought in for his procedure.
*Door-to-balloon time is defined as the amount of time it takes from the time a patient suffering a heart attack enters the emergency department to the time where we re-establish blood flow to the blocked vessel.
Radial Catheterization Lab Approach
Our cardiologists are performing heart catheterizations using the wrist. The technique is called radial artery access, and it offers patients some unique advantages.
Each year, diagnostic and interventional cardiologists in the United States perform more than 1 million cardiac catheterizations. Traditionally, doctors begin this procedure at the upper leg area, inserting a thin plastic tube (catheter) into the femoral artery to provide a direct route to the heart.
Radial artery access takes a different route to the heart. A specially trained cardiologist begins the procedure at an artery in the wrist using the radial artery. This procedure has become the preferred procedure for all patients and is especially helpful for people who are obese or those with poor leg circulation.
A radial artery access cardiac catheterization offers many benefits for our patients, including:
- A more comfortable, shorter recovery
- Reduced risk of bleeding
- Decreasing the chances of an overnight stay
Health & Wellness, Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital's cardiac rehabilitation program, supports patients who have chronic diseases of the cardiovascular system. Whether recovering from a heart attack or working hard to minimize the effects of congestive heart failure, patients find the education, exercise equipment and support they need. All in a safe environment where highly-trained staff monitors heart function and can respond immediately to patients' needs.
For patients who have experienced recent heart attack, stent or balloon angioplasty; pre-heart bypass or valve surgery, heart failure, risk factors for heart disease (diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure), chest pain, we provide in-patient education about heart condition and healthy lifestyle including diet, exercise, smoking cessation and stress management.
In addition, once a patient has left the hospital, we have three different doctor-referred programs (Phase 2, 3, and Adult Fitness) based on level of medical supervision and heart monitoring required. It is generally recommended that patients be enrolled in outpatient cardiac rehab for 6 to 12 weeks. This ensures there is enough time devoted to education and individualized exercise in order to help them recover from their heart event and learn to live a healthier life.