Next to saving lives, the most important goal of cardiology care is to improve a patient’s quality of life. Hurley Medical Center accomplishes this by providing exemplary cardiac care in the here and now with an eye to a future that holds ever-improving outcomes. Hurley’s heart and vascular program was recognized with the Corazon accreditation, proving it stands up to rigorous evaluation in areas such as coronary interventions, catheterization lab performance, surgery and cardiac rehabilitation. With the only accredited cath lab in the area, as well as Genesee County’s only congestive heart failure (CHF) navigator program, Hurley is giving hope to heart patients in Genesee County.
Removing a Layer of Worry for CHF Patients
When it comes to CHF, patients’ outlook for the future depends in part on how well they respond to and follow their treatment plan. The CHF navigator program is meant to help CHF patients navigate the health care system while they strive to achieve success in managing their heart failure. Additionally, the program gives patients peace of mind by supplying a personal touch to treatment.
The CHF nurse navigator assists patients at the bedside when they are hospitalized and with consistent follow-up beginning one to two days after discharge. First, nurse navigators make sure patients understand discharge instructions. This alleviates much of the worry some patients feel upon returning home, allowing them to concentrate on feeling better. Assistance continues for about a month, during which the CHF nurse navigator helps coordinate follow-up care, including doctor’s visits and home care agencies, and maintains contact with primary care physicians and other members of the care team, keeping everyone in the loop. The navigator checks in with patients every seven to 10 days to ask how they are feeling and give them emotional support, even providing a cellphone number for them to call with questions or concerns. Since all of this happens in the 30-day window after discharge when readmissions often occur, the program has been shown to have a promising effect on readmission rates.
WE HAVE SO MANY TOOLS THAT CAN SAVE LIVES.
– M. LUAY ALKOTOB, M.D., F.S.C.A.I., F.A.C.C. –
Extending the Reach of Lifesaving Treatments
In 2018, Hurley was one of the first in Michigan to offer the world’s smallest pacemaker, the Micra Transcatheter Pacing System, for patients with bradycardia, a condition characterized by a slow or irregular heart rhythm. The Micra device, a leadless pacemaker roughly the size of a large vitamin tablet, is placed with a catheter directly into the heart through a vein in the thigh. At the beginning of 2019, a new location of Hurley Heart Center opened in Fenton, at 102 N. Adelaide St. (810-262-7030), bringing more of the latest innovations in cardiac procedures to outlying communities.
“We treat people with heart disease so they can be more active, more involved in their life, live longer and feel better,” says M. Luay Alkotob, M.D., F.S.C.A.I., F.A.C.C., who sees patients at the Fenton location. Board certified in internal medicine, cardiovascular disease and interventional cardiology, Alkotob says that Hurley’s cath lab gives patients access to the most advanced evidence-based procedures.
“Hurley has made a lot of strides to bring real options to patients,” he says. In addition to the cath lab, Hurley provides a state-of-the-art facility for cardiac rehabilitation right at the hospital. There, patients can continue the three phases of rehab recommended to help them get better after a cardiac episode.
“And patients do get better,” Alkotob emphasizes. “The chance of dying of heart disease has decreased tremendously over the years. We have so many tools that can save lives.” Prevention is one of the most important of those tools, he says. Through Hurley’s trademark health seminars offered via the Healthy Living Series, Alkotob hopes to provide the education that can lead to communities recognizing their risk factors and being able to do something about them. He notes that Genesee County, especially, is stricken with cardiovascular issues.
“We have a lot of heart disease here,” Alkotob says. “This is something to be aware of and do everything we can to make it better.”
Improving Mid-Michigan’s Access to Pediatric Heart Care
In March, Hurley announced that C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital pediatric cardiologist Nancy Cutler, M.D., will lead three Hurley Children’s Hospital clinic locations in Flint and Grand Blanc. This gives the families of mid-Michigan access to one of the nation’s top heart programs. Cutler’s approach to caring for patients is treating each one as if he or she were her own child.
“We are committed to partnering with our colleagues throughout the state to bring high-quality heart care closer to home for children and their families,” Cutler says. This mission inspired her new focus of seeing patients in the Flint area with all types of heart problems from fetal life through young adulthood.
Diagnostic services at the clinics include EKG, Holter monitoring (an EKG device you wear home for one to two days), echocardiography and fetal echocardiography. The new clinics also offer diagnosis and management of a full range of congenital heart conditions as well as acquired conditions, such as Kawasaki disease and cardiomyopathies. Follow-up evaluation for abnormal student and athlete heart screenings will also be available at these locations.