Crozer-Keystone Introduces Evidence-based Program for Heart Valve Disorders - Crozer-Keystone Health System - PA

Published on June 07, 2016

Crozer-Keystone Introduces Evidence-based Program for Heart Valve Disorders

Crozer-Keystone Health SystemMedia Contact:
Mary Wascavage
(610) 284-8619
Mary.Wascavage@crozer.org

Ancil Jones, M.D., chief of Cardiology at Crozer-Chester Medical Center

Ancil Jones, M.D.,
chief of Cardiology at
Crozer-Chester Medical Center

As part of its continuing commitment to providing comprehensive evidence-based cardiovascular care, Crozer-Keystone Health System is proud to unveil the Structural Heart Program for Valvular Heart and Aortic Disease.

Recent research conducted by the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology proves that certain forms of heart disease – specifically, the type that can damage the aorta and heart valves – are both underdiagnosed and undertreated. The goal of Crozer-Keystone’s program is to identify, evaluate and treat patients with significant valvular or aortic disease.

At the program’s center is coordinator and Heart Team member Clare Povey, R.N., CCRN. Povey is the critical link to the program’s success. She is the “gatekeeper” of a central database that is used to manage the follow-up process for all qualifying patients.

“The Structural Heart Program for Valvular Heart and Aortic Disease is a complex name for a simple new process,” says Charles Geller, M.D., chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery for Crozer-Keystone Health System. “This quality initiative ensures that all patients with heart disease who are cared for by physicians associated with the Crozer-Keystone Health System receive the highest quality care. From diagnosis to management and treatment of heart problems, including surgery if necessary plus any associated follow-up care, all abnormal heart studies are directed to a multidisciplinary team of physicians by a program coordinator for review and analysis. This helps ensure that all physicians are following the same evidence-based best practices and provide patients with the peace of mind that they are receiving exemplary personalized care. Patients no longer need to travel a distance to receive the identical state-of-the-art care that is currently available in their own backyard.”

Explaining Valve and Aortic Disease

The aorta – the body’s largest, most critical artery – supplies oxygen-rich blood to all organs. When potentially life-threatening problems develop within the aorta, such as an aneurysm, prompt diagnosis and development of a proper treatment plan are critical.

Valve and other structural problems can be just as serious if left untreated. Some include:

  • Aortic stenosis: Narrowing of the aortic valve that restricts blood flow out of the heart.
  • Mitral valve/tricuspid valve regurgitation: Leaky heart valves that cause blood to flow backward inside the heart.
  • Atrial Septal Defect (ASD)/Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO): Holes in the heart from birth that may not be noticed until later in life and can affect the circulation of oxygen-rich blood.

Crozer-Keystone’s Structural Heart Program for Valvular Heart and Aortic Disease will follow patients with moderate-to-severe valvular heart disease. “This category includes valve abnormalities that do not meet the criteria for severe valvular disease but are considered advanced,” says Muhammad Raza, M.D., Crozer-Keystone interventional cardiologist. “Further evaluation and testing may be necessary to accurately grade the valvular abnormality. The initial evaluation of a patient with valvular heart disease is usually done with a transthoracic echocardiogram.”

Patients can be referred to the program by their primary care physician or cardiologist, or as follow-up from a visit to the Emergency Department. “Many times, a physician will detect a heart murmur upon evaluation of the patient,” says Ancil Jones, M.D., chief of Cardiology at Crozer-Chester Medical Center. “Other symptoms may be consistent with severe valvular heart disease. In all cases, once the echocardiogram is done, our Echo Alert Protocol identifies patients with advanced valve disease and triggers notification of the ordering physician to consider further evaluation.”

“The Structural Heart Program allows for early detection of significant valvular abnormalities, leading to early intervention and better outcomes,” Raza concludes.

For more information about the Crozer-Keystone Structural Heart Program for Valvular Heart and Aortic Disease, call 610-447-6854 or visit crozerkeystone.org/Heart.

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