When we hear the term “heart disease,” we often think of it as a man’s disease, but the fact is that heart disease is the number one killer of women in the United States. One in four women die of heart disease, whereas one in thirty die with breast cancer.
A Serious Matter
Once a woman has a heart attack, 20 percent die within a year and 50 percent die within six years; therefore, this is not to be taken lightly. Furthermore, it is a totally preventable problem. First we have to recognize the risk factors which exponentially add to the development and progression of the disease. These factors include heredity, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, cigarette smoking and – to a lesser degree – obesity and lack of exercise. Only the genetic ones are non-modifiable; therefore, an effort to control risk factors is of capital importance through correct lifestyle adjustments like diet, exercise, control of blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes (with medications if needed). It is extremely important to discuss this with your doctor.
A heart attack is a sign of advanced arterial disease, which commonly already exists in other arterial systems, but it is never too late to start the risk control management. More importantly, be able to recognize symptoms which are somewhat different than in men. The typical crushing chest pain is not as common, but it could be present on both sides of the chest, shoulders, arms (usually left), neck and the jaw and are typically accompanied with a sensation of severe weakness, indigestion, nausea, vomiting, profuse sweating and anxiety. These symptoms rarely happen all at once, but the presence of any of them requires immediate attention as it becomes a life and death situation. If these symptoms arise, call 9-1-1 to be taken to a hospital and be treated by a cardiologist. There is a chance that the artery will be opened and treated with a clot dissolving medicine or with a balloon and stent procedure, which could be life- saving.
Symptoms of chest discomfort provoked by exercise should prompt one to seek medical attention as it could be a life threatening situation.
Holy Cross Medical Group, Gallagher Adult Practice | 1900 E. Commercial Blvd., #101, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33308 | 954-351-5838 | HolyCrossHeart.com
Patients with certain cardiac conditions who are taking anticoagulation medications face the dilemma of being taken off anticoagulants before undergoing any surgery to avoid bleeding and serious complications. From the few days before and after surgery that this type of patient is not taking anticoagulants, there becomes a serious risk of suffering a stroke.
One out of every 200 patients who have stopped taking anticoagulants in order to have surgery will have a stroke. Holy Cross Hospital’s Comprehensive Stroke Center and has the technology, experience and expertise to help prevent dramatic loss of functions due to stroke. Our Stroke Team and internationally-acclaimed Interventional Neuroradiologist (Laszlo Miskolczi, MD) are on-call 24/7 ready to diagnose and treat strokes in case such a complication arises during your care.
In this video, you will hear from one of our stroke patients regarding the treatment he received from Dr. Miskolczi. For more information about Holy Cross Hospital’s Comprehensive Stroke Center, contact Dr. Miskolczi at 954-492-5780 or visit the Holy Cross Hospital Comprehensive Stroke Center webpage:
Holy Cross Hospital in Fort Lauderdale has received the UnitedHealth Premium® specialty center designation in recognition of quality care.
UnitedHealthcare® developed the UnitedHealth Premium specialty center program to give its members information and access to hospitals meeting rigorous quality criteria. Designed to help members make informed decisions should they need cardiac services care, the designation is based on detailed information about specialized training, practice capabilities, outcomes and cost efficiency of care.
To receive this designation, the non-profit hospital met extensive quality and outcomes criteria based on nationally recognized medical standards and expert advice. The criteria incorporate measurements of breadth and depth of care, staff experience, emergency care, quality and outcomes reporting.
“We are proud to be one of the leaders in cardiac care,” said Patrick A. Taylor, M.D., President and CEO of Holy Cross Hospital. “Our focus on clinical excellence, leading edge technology and state-of-the-art procedures continues to be recognized nationally.”
About Holy Cross Hospital
A member of Catholic Health East, Holy Cross Hospital in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. is a full-service, non-profit Catholic hospital, sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy. Since opening its doors in 1955, the 559-bed hospital has offered progressive services and programs to meet the evolving healthcare needs of Broward County. Today, Holy Cross has more than 600 physicians on staff representing more than 40 specialties and more than 3,000 employees. To learn more about Holy, visit holy-cross.com, “like” Holy Cross Hospital, Fort Lauderdale on Facebook, or follow @holycrossfl on Twitter.
Holy Cross Hospital is a participating hospital in the UnitedHealthcare network but is not owned or otherwise affiliated in any way with UnitedHealthcare: a UnitedHealth Group company.
Have you been told that you have difficult to control rapid heart rates?
Do you experience palpitations or lightheadedness? These symptoms may be all from a heart arrhythmia. There have been considerable advancements in diagnosing and treating arrhythmia in recent years.
Arrhythmia is a condition in which the electrical system of the heart malfunctions. Because the heart is an electrical-mechanical pump, electrical disorders cause the heart to function irregularly. For example, if the heart’s electrical system has an interruption in the normal connections, then the heart beats too slowly. Luckily, implanting a pacemaker can restore the regular function of the heart. The heart’s electrical system can also have a malfunction that creates a “short-circuit” that causes very rapid heart rates. Palpitations, lightheadedness, inability to exercise and passing out can all be manifestations of a “short-circuit” in the heart. Today, it is possible to cure such conditions with safe and effective procedures. In fact, many patients are able to go home the same day.
Atrial fibrillation is the most common electrical disorder of the heart, affecting over 5.1 million people in the United States. Disorganized electrical activity causes irregular heart beats that lead to blood pooling and clotting, which can cause stroke and other serious health issues. People who suffer from atrial fibrillation may have palpitations (a sudden pounding, fluttering or racing feeling in the chest), lack of energy, dizziness, chest discomfort, and difficulty breathing during normal activities or even at rest. High blood pressure, coronary artery disease, heart conditions, obesity, sleep apnea and age are all causes of atrial fibrillation.
Treatment of Atrial Fibrillation
At Holy Cross Hospital, we specialize in diagnosing and treating atrial fibrillation. If a physician suspects that you may have this condition, or if you have the symptoms mentioned above, an electrocardiogram (ECG) or a Holter (24-hour ECG) can assist in making the diagnosis. Treatment options include medications, a cardioversion to shock the heart back into a normal rhythm and pacemakers to bring the heart back to a proper rate. For those who are very symptomatic, a catheter-based procedure may be the best option. Most importantly, if you are diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, ask your doctor how you can reduce the risk of stroke from atrial fibrillation.
Get Expert Help
If you experience the above symptoms, it may be time to speak to a cardiac electrophysiologist. A cardiac electrophysiologist specializes in the electrical disorders of the heart. At Holy Cross Hospital, we can make the diagnosis and provide comprehensive treatment to bring your heart back to its regular beat.
Learn more about atrial fibrillation and available treatments at www.HolyCrossHeart.com.
Holy Cross Hospital’s Jim Moran Heart and Vascular Center Performs its First Atrial Septal Defect Closure
Interventional/Structural cardiologist Alexander Llanos, M.D. recently performed the first Atrial Septal Defect (ASD) Closure procedure at the Jim Moran Heart and Vascular Center at Holy Cross Hospital in Fort Lauderdale.
Margate resident Joanne Alleva, 49, successfully underwent the new procedure used to repair a congenital heart defect consisting of an opening between the upper chambers of the heart (Atria) that allows blood to abnormally flow between those two chambers and can lead to congestive heart failure.
“[Before] it felt like an elephant was sitting on my chest. I was so tired,” said Alleva. “[After the procedure] I didn’t have the heaviness. I was so thrilled. Now, I feel great.”
The new technique eliminates the need for cardiac surgery and involves delivering a specialized ASD closure device. First, a catheter is inserted into a vein in the groin. The device is then guided into place through the catheter by a combination of ultrasound and fluoroscopic imaging technology. After closure is verified, the catheter is removed from the vein in the groin leaving the ASD closure device securely in place. Patients can typically return home the day following the procedure.
“This procedure usually results in a shorter hospital stay and faster recovery with similar efficacy compared to previous treatment methods which involve invasive heart surgery,” Dr. Llanos said.
The procedure was performed as part of the Jim Moran Heart and Vascular Center’s Valve and Structural Heart Disease Clinic which is led by expert cardiologists and cardiovascular surgeons that use a multi-disciplinary approach to provide several treatment options for patients with complex disease of the cardiac valves (stenosis, regurgitation), abnormal communications between cardiac chambers (Atrial septal defect, patent foramen ovale, ventricular septal defect, patent ductus arteriosus, paravalvular leaks), emerging therapies for atrial fibrillation as well as a number of other cardiac disorders.
In addition to catheter based techniques, the team at Holy Cross provides advanced treatment options which include minimally invasive surgery, robotic surgery as well as the standard surgical therapies.
The Jim Moran Heart and Vascular Center at Holy Cross Hospital features a new, 2,000-square-foot hybrid operating room (Combination of full cardiac catheterization laboratory and full operating room) offering a state of the art facility for performance of these cutting-edge procedures.
Recognized as a leader in cardiac care, Holy Cross also offers progressive research at the Jim Moran Heart and Vascular Research Institute.
The Jim Moran Heart and Vascular Center at Holy Cross Hospital, located at 4725 North Federal Highway in Fort Lauderdale, offers a wide array of diagnostic services including EKG, stress tests, Holter monitoring, tilt table testing, echocardiography, cardiac catheterization, peripheral angiography, peripheral vascular ultrasound and comprehensive electrophysiologic testing. For more information call (954) 229-7970 or visit www.holycrossheart.com.
Watch the video of our physicians explaining Atrial Septal Defect, ASD closure, and our patient shares her experience with you:
Holy Cross Hospital is now performing transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) procedures for patients who have been deemed too high-risk to undergo open heart surgery. The implantations are now done transfemorally (via the leg) and transapically (through the ribs). The announcement came following an approval by the Food and Drug Administration that considerably broadens the group that can now be treated with the leading-edge surgical procedure.
Previously, it was approved in the U.S. only for the treatment of inoperable patients via the transfemoral approach. “There can be many factors which bar a patient from cardiac surgery or make it a high risk such as age, inability to withstand rehabilitation and other medical conditions the patient may have,” said Interventional Cardiologist Joshua Purow, M.D., of the Jim Moran Heart and Vascular Center and Research Institute at Holy Cross Hospital. “Now more patients will have access to this life-changing procedure.”
In May 2012, Holy Cross began utilizing the new Edwards Lifesciences’ Sapien heart valve, the only FDA-approved TAVR therapy in the U.S. The valve is designed to replace a patient’s diseased native aortic valve without the need for open-chest surgery and without stopping the patient’s heart. The TAVR procedure enables the placement of a collapsible aortic heart valve into the body via a tube based delivery system that is inserted through either an incision in the leg and threaded up to the heart, or through an incision between the ribs and inserted through the narrow, bottom end of the heart called the apex. To accommodate TAVR implantations, Holy Cross constructed a new, 2,000-square-foot hybrid interventional operating room. The expansive operating room offers physicians advanced technology to perform leading-edge procedures, including endovascular stent (abdominal & thoracic), balloon valvuplasty, lead extraction, surgical cardiac ablation, bypass LAD with stent, and ASD & PFO closures.
Recognized as a leader in cardiac care, Holy Cross Hospital offers comprehensive cardiac services through the Jim Moran Heart and Vascular Center and progressive research at the Jim Moran Heart and Vascular Research Institute. The Valve and Structural Heart Disease Clinic at the Holy Cross Jim Moran Heart and Vascular Center, located at 4725 North Federal Highway in Fort Lauderdale, provides multi-disciplinary evaluation for patients with severe aortic stenosis by a team of cardiovascular surgeons, interventional cardiologists, echo cardiologist and imaging specialists. The Clinic’s comprehensive evaluation includes a functional assessment, transesophageal echocardiography, CT angiography with a 256-slice scanner and cardiac angiography. The team gathers weekly to discuss each patient’s medical status and makes a recommendation on the most appropriate treatment option: traditional open-heart or minimally invasive surgery, transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) or medical management. For more information call (954) 229-7974 or visit www.holycrossheart.com.
Deploying to a Combat Zone
The TV show MASH gave us a biased view of military doctors. On one hand, it described the stories of surgeons who did not volunteer but were drafted into a war zone. Second, it was both comedy and anti-war satire. Lastly, and as everything else, the military changes with time: the traditional Mobile Army Surgical Hospital no longer exists (phased out 6-7 years ago) and was replaced with a smaller, more efficient system of treating battlefield casualties.
In reality, only a small proportion of military physicians are deployed to war zones, and depending on the mission (i.e. needs of the military), the doctor may end up serving in a variety of venues, like hospitals, forward surgical teams, medical clinics, battle aid stations or even perhaps providing administrative and leadership skills like in a medical command position. The patients also, may vary among American troops, allied forces, civilians and local nationals.
My deployment to Afghanistan consisted of 3 months “boots to ground,” but effectively, it started about four to six months prior to my travels since there was much training to do before leaving home. Endless online training sessions and classes are required to assure that you at least know some basics like certain important rules and legal topics. There was also a trip to San Antonio, TX to complete a week course in combat casualty care.
Leaving home is never an easy task, but I think that it is easier having been deployed before (Iraq 2008-2009) and even being a little older than the average soldier helps reduce the stress. My trip started by flying to Ft. Benning, GA, where I joined other medical personnel being mobilized to different parts of the world. We spent a few days of additional training, medical checkups, etc. and from there we took a plane that flew us into Kuwait for a few more days. Eventually, I made it to a small base outside of Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan where I would serve as Battalion Surgeon for a military police battalion.
I did not go as a cardiologist on this trip but as a general medical officer where we took care of many different medical problems. Complicated cases could also be transferred to a nearby hospital if necessary. Regardless, the quality of the medical care rendered was excellent.
During the deployment, I shared a tent with four other medical and dental officers (there were two more physicians and two more dentists on post, as well as a few physician assistants and nurse practitioners). Now, we are talking austere conditions here. The bathroom facilities were only a short walk away. And of course, as a reminder that we were in a combat zone, a bomb shelter sat conveniently near our sleeping quarters. There was a gym, a dining facility, a recreation building, a barbershop and a small PX store. For those with fast food cravings, there was a small Burger King and Pizza Hut trailer.
When my time was up, I went through the reverse process to get back home: Kuwait then Ft. Benning then Florida.
To me, my deployment to a war zone was a humbling experience that allowed me to grow as a person and as a professional. I can say that the experience was spiritually uplifting, and despite the austere and dangerous environment, I feel proud and honored to be given an opportunity to serve my country in this chapter of our American history.
I only hope that the readers will keep in thought and prayer all of the young men and women in all branches of the Armed Forces who are presently deployed and committed to this selfless sacrifice in the defense of our freedom and to the protection of the world against terrorists.
The six board-certified cardiologists of Cardio Pulmonary Associates in Plantation have joined the Holy Cross Medical Group, a multi-specialty physician employed group of more than 150 physicians providing services throughout Broward and Palm Beach counties. The cardiologists joining Holy Cross Medical Group are Alan Buhler, M.D.; Murry Drescher, M.D.; Robert Kersh, M.D.; Sam Sareh, M.D.; Robert Samuel Singal, M.D.; and Joel Shulman, M.D. All are experts in the diagnosis, treatment and management of all cardiovascular diseases including coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, myocardial infarction, valvular disorders, arrhythmias, hypertension and vascular disease.
“We welcome this stellar team of cardiologists to Holy Cross,” said Holy Cross Hospital President and CEO Patrick A. Taylor, M.D. “They join a group of physicians that are dedicated to clinical excellence and compassionate care. Our comprehensive cardiac services include leading edge technology, state-of-the-art procedures and groundbreaking clinical trials.”
Board-certified in cardiology and internal medicine, Dr. Buhler is a member of the American Medical Association, Florida Medical Association and Broward County Medical Association and a fellow of the American College of Cardiology. He received his medical degree from State University of New York, Downstate Medical Center, and his bachelor’s degree from State University of New York, Harpur College. He completed a fellowship in cardiology, sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, and his residency and internship in internal medicine at Downstate Medical Center – Kings County Medical Center. He also served as captain in the United States Air Force Medical Corp. for two years.
Dr. Drescher is board-certified in cardiology and internal medicine and is a diplomate of the National Board of Medical Examiners. Licensed in nuclear medicine, he is a member of the American Heart Association, Florida Medical Association and Broward County Medical Association and a fellow of the American College of Cardiology. He is the recipient of multiple awards and honors and is frequently asked to speak at national meetings and conferences. Dr. Drescher received his medical degree from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and his bachelor’s degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He completed fellowships in cardiology and critical care and his residency and internship in internal medicine at University of Miami-affiliated hospitals.
Certified by the National Board of Medical Examiners, the American Board of Internal Medicine and the American Board of Quality Assurance and Utilization Review Physicians, Dr. Kersh also is board-certified in cardiovascular disease. He is a member of the American Medical Association and the American Society of Echocardiography and a fellow of the American College of Cardiology. Dr. Kersh received his medical degree from New York Medical Collegeand his bachelor’s degree from the Stevens Institute of Technology. He completed a fellowship in cardiology at Medical College of Pennsylvania and his residency and internship in internal medicine at Nassau County Medical Center.
Dr. Sam Sareh is board-certified in internal medicine and basic and advanced cardiac life support. He received his medical degree and bachelor’s degree from the University of Miami and completed his residency and fellowship in cardiology at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he was involved in several research trials. He is fluent in Persian and Spanish.
A board-certified cardiologist, Dr. Shulman is a member of the American Medical Association, Broward County Medical Association, Florida Medical Association, American College of Physicians and the American College of Cardiology. He received his medical degree from the University of Michigan Medical School and his bachelor’s degree from Wayne State University. He completed his post-graduate training at Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio and at the University of Miami.
Dr. Singal is certified by the National Board of Medical Examiners and the American Board of Internal Medicine in cardiology and internal medicine. He is a member of the American College of Physicians, American College of Cardiology, Broward County Medical Association, Florida Society of Internal Medicine, American Society of Internal Medicine, American Society of Cardiology and the American Heart Association. He received his medical degree from the University of South Florida College of Medicine and his bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida. He completed a fellowship in cardiology at the University of Miami / Jackson Medical Center and his residency and internship at the medical college of Georgia.
Learn about Michael Weinblatt, MD, a cardiologist with the Holy Cross Medical Group. Dr. Weinblatt currently practices with The Heart Group, which has offices in Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton and Pompano Beach, Florida. Dr. Weinblatt shares how his interests went from basic science, to medicine, to cardiology.
For more information on Dr. Weinblatt, visit his online physician profile by clicking here: Michael Weinblatt, MD.
Learn more about the Holy Cross heart team by visiting www.holycrossheart.com.
Holy Cross Hospital President and CEO Patrick A. Taylor, M.D. announced that Aristides Zacharoudis, M.D., F.A.C.C., F.A.C.P. has joined the Holy Cross Medical Group, a multi-specialty physician employed group of more than 150 physicians providing services throughout Broward and Palm Beach counties.
Dr. Zacharoudis is board-certified in internal medicine and cardiovascular disease. Prior to joining the Holy Cross Medical Group, he was in private practice. Dr. Zacharoudis also serves as a clinical assistant professor in the cardiology division of the internal medicine department at the Nova Southeastern University College of Osteopathic Medicine.
A resident of Fort Lauderdale, Dr. Zacharoudis is a member of the American Society of Internal Medicine, a Fellow of the American College of Physicians, and a Fellow of the American College of Cardiology. He has been published in numerous medical journals, is a former Chief of Medicine at Holy Cross Hospital and has served on several medical committees for Holy Cross, North Ridge Medical Center and Imperial Point Medical Center.
Dr. Zacharoudis completed a fellowship in interventional cardiology and an internal medicine residency at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. He completed his cardiology fellowship at Long Island College Hospital, also in Brooklyn. In addition, Dr. Zacharoudis had further cardiology training at Mount Sinai Medical Center and Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City. He received his M.D. from the Autonomous University of Guadalajara in Mexico, finished his medical education at Downstate Medical Center and also holds an M.D. degree from the State University of New York in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Learn more about the Holy Cross heart team at www.HolyCrossHeart.com.
About the Center
The Jim Moran Heart and Vascular Center at Holy Cross offers the latest in high-tech cardiac care. Holy Cross was the first in Broward County to offer Induced Hypothermia, which has shown to increase the odds of surviving cardiac arrest, and has been shown to improve neurological outcomes after such an event. We were also the first in Florida to use the Prime ECG Vest which, in select patients, may give physicians additional data beyond a traditional electrocardiogram. Our outstanding cardiovascular team, utilizing cutting-edge technology, can treat any heart and vascular situation especially in an emergency.
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