San Diego Cardiac Center’s physicians maintain complex interventional skills for the non-surgical treatment of heart disease. We offer diverse treatment options to correct narrowed, blocked arteries, including:
Balloon Angioplasty – also known as Percutaneous Transluminal Coronary Angioplasty (PTCA), this non-surgical procedure follows an angiogram that indicates a blocked artery and/or narrowing in the artery due to fatty deposits. The procedure involves insertion of a special catheter with a tiny balloon on the end into a narrow heart artery. When the catheter reaches the blocked area, the balloon is inflated to flatten the fatty deposits against the artery wall. When successful, this permits a bigger opening inside the artery and blood flow improves.
Peripheral Angioplasty – a balloon angioplasty as described above, however, the procedure is performed on a vessel outside of the heart, for example the leg vessels.
Stent Placement – this is a small metal coil or slotted tube that is placed within a heart artery following an angiogram, which indicates a blockage and / or narrowing of the artery due to fatty deposits. The stent is designed to help support the arterial wall and push aside and fatty deposits. A catheter with a balloon is used to place a stent into an artery. When the balloon is inflated inside of the stent, the stent expands. The stent supports the arterial wall and aids in holding the artery open. The stent is a permanent implant that will remain in the artery.
TAVR (Transcatheter Atrial Valve Repair) – is a option for patients with severe aortic valve stenosis that are not surgical candidates. This procedure is performed through a catheter which is used to deploy a device to replace the aortic valve. Open heart surgery is not required with this procedure.
Our subspecialists focus on the electrical mechanics of the heart. Abnormal heart rhythms may require mechanical assistance or an interventional procedure to correct the abnormal function, including:
Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD) – This electrical device continuously monitors your heartbeat and is implanted inside the body, usually under the skin in the upper chest just below the collarbone. It if senses a dangerous rapid heart rhythm, it delivers one or more pulses or shocks to the heart and restores a normal heart rhythm. An ICD may be a treatment following a cardiac arrest or a rapid heart rhythm problem that could lead to a cardiac arrest. Because it is a life-saving aid, having an ICD may give you more freedom to participate in activities you enjoy.
Implantable Pacemaker – The pacemaker is an electronic device that monitors the heart’s electrical activity and delivers electrical pulses, as the heart needs them. If it senses that the heart is beating too slowly or pauses for too long, the pacemaker stimulates the heart with precisely timed electrical pulses. The pacemaker is implanted into the body, usually under the skin in the upper chest just below the collarbone.
Catheter Ablation – This is a non-surgical technique, which eliminates parts of the heart’s abnormal electrical pathway, which is causing a rapid heart rhythm. During this treatment, an electrode catheter is inserted into the heart. The catheter is positioned so that is lies close to the abnormal electrical pathway and then radiofrequency energy passes through the catheter. The tip of the catheter heats up in order to eliminate small areas of heart tissue that contains the abnormal electrical pathway. If successful, radio-frequency ablation may cure the problem of a rapid heart rhythm.
Heart Transplant/Mechanical Circulatory Support:
Our cardiologists helped initiate the Heart Transplant program at Sharp Memorial Hospital in 1985 and the mechanical circulatory support program in 1986. Since its inception, our transplant program has experienced outcomes higher than the national average.
Our team of experts along with Sharp Healthcare transplant coordinators medically manage heart transplant patients prior to and following their transplant. Our premier heart transplant program celebrated 25 years of providing care for the San Diego community in 2010. Patients who do not meet the criteria for a heart transplant may be referred to mechanical circulatory support.
Since 1986, more than 500 patients have been supported with cardiac and/or pulmonary mechanical circulatory support systems at Sharp HealthCare. Mechanical circulatory support systems are devices that keep the heart functioning in patients with life-threatening heart disease. Mechanical assist devices can be used to help a heart become stronger, as a temporary support tool until a patient can receive a heart transplant or as a permanent treatment.
We have had a major commitment to clinical research and state of the art care publishing reports regularly in the medical literature. Our transplant patients recently celebrated our 25th anniversary of the transplant program in addition to their personal experiences. Channel 8 news featured this story – Transplant Patients Who Outlived the Odds.
Heart Failure Program:
Patients in our Heart Failure Program receive comprehensive, outpatient treatment for their heart failure by cardiologists and a nurse practitioner who specialize in heart failure management. Heart failure is a chronic condition in which symptoms are potentially recurrent and disabling. Aggressive outpatient care, including optimal medical management along with intensive patient education and monitoring, improves outcomes in this cardiac condition.
Our Heart Failure Program was started in 1998 and has resulted in a decrease of over 80% in repeat hospitalizations among the patients in our program.
The goals of the heart failure program include:
•Optimize and individualize medical therapy.
•Educate patients and families to provide better understanding and management of heart failure. Our intensive patient education includes understanding the disease process, medication, symptom monitoring, diet and activities.
•Increase patient and family participation in the management of the patient’s heart failure.
•Minimize symptoms, maximize quality of life and slow the progression of heart failure.
•Decrease emergency department visits and hospital admissions.
We have initiated a bilingual web site to help communicate information about heart failure to patents and their families – http://www.heartfailure.org.
Patients on anti-coagulation therapy receive frequent laboratory tests and visits with our registered nurse to ensure that proper blood coagulation levels are maintained. Our nurse will teach you about factors that may affect your blood coagulation and work with your cardiologist to adjust your medication when necessary.
Our special feature is that within a 30-minute visit, you’ll have a protime/INR blood test, test results, a visit with our nurse to verify your daily anti-coagulation therapy doses and your next appointment.
Pacemaker/Implantable Cardiac Defibrillator Management:
Just like other heart conditions that require close management, pacemakers and implantable cardiac defibrillators are no exception. Both devices are routinely checked to verify the sensing and pacing functions, verify program settings and the battery life.
Enhanced External Counter Pulsation (EECP):
A therapy available for patients experiencing angina, or angina symptoms, such as chest pain, chest discomfort, etc. This therapy is a non-invasive, non-prescription therapy that involves seven weeks of treatment. The therapy relieves angina symptoms by helping to develop collateral circulation and increases stamina, exercise tolerance and quality of life for 75 to 80% of patients.