A Change of Heart

Yvonne Lindsey, 51, used to dread visits to her doctor at a local clinic. The Fairfield resident knew she was in for a scolding, along with directives she had no intention of following. But now she looks forward to visits every six months with her NorthBay Healthcare cardiologist, Milind Dhond, M.D., and a team of clinicians dedicated to her success.

ABOVE: Yvonne Lindsey gives a big thumbs up to the Heart Health Academy, and her care team, which includes Milind Dhond, M.D., and Terra Hadsall, medical assistant.

What caused her change of heart? A heart attack—no pun intended—brought on by pneumonia in January 2017. Yvonne had struggled with poor health for years. She was diabetic, suffered from high blood pressure and eventually developed congestive heart failure (CHF). She could look at water and gain weight, she said with a smile. “Seriously, I could put on 22 pounds of water weight in three days.”

Her heart was functioning at 30 percent, so a defibrillator was implanted in 2015. Still, it wasn’t enough for her to change her ways. She was in and out of the emergency room, confused and scared. “I didn’t know what to do.”

“They’ve given me all the tools I need. Now I know what to do in order to feel better.”

Yvonne Lindsey

That was then. Now, she not only has all the tools she needs, but an entire team who will not let her slip through the cracks, she said.

Yvonne participates in NorthBay’s Heart Failure Clinic, operated by Nurse Practitioner Dana Gill and Medical Assistant Terra Hadsall, with the support of NorthBay cardiologists and other staff. “I think they worry about me more than I do,” she said.

The clinic, which runs from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, sees enrolled patients for more frequent follow-up appointments for closer monitoring.

A popular new program is the four-week Heart Health Academy education series aimed at improving quality of life and symptom management. “I don’t know how I could have done it without them,” said Yvonne. “Right after my heart attack, a NorthBay Health at Home nurse and the Heart Failure Clinic team explained everything, from medications and consequences to recipes and shortcuts,” said Yvonne.

Now she limits her liquid intake, as well as salt. She’s not only watching her diet, she’s watching her vitals— all of them. And she’s entering them into a tablet every day, so her heart health team can monitor her progress.

“They’ve given me all the tools I need,” said Yvonne proudly. “Now I know what to do in order to feel better, and I’m motivated. It’s not just a doctor telling me what to do. It’s my team helping me accomplish MY goals.”

Here’s the Scoop

NorthBay Healthcare opened Solano County’s first center for heart surgery and specialized vascular treatments at NorthBay Medical Center, 1200 B. Gale Wilson Boulevard, in April 2009. In 2011, it became the first designated Heart Attack Hospital and today is Solano County’s first and only accredited Chest Pain Center with PCI (Percutaneous Coronary Intervention.) The Heart & Vascular Center ambulatory clinic opened in January 2014. Last year, NorthBay Medical Center recorded 286 patients who received care after a heart attack.

What is a PCI?

Percutaneous Coronary Intervention is a nonsurgical procedure used to treat a narrowing of the coronary artery of the heart. First the vessel is opened with a balloon catheter (angioplasty) and then a stent is placed to keep it open.

Rehab Facts

NorthBay Cardiac & Pulmonary Rehabilitation, offered at NorthBay Medical Center in Fairfield and in the VacaValley Wellness Center in Vacaville, assists with physical, emotional and lifestyle changes for recovering patients. A team of nurses works with patients to create a unique treatment plan, based on each patient’s needs. Patients are closely monitored in a specialty fitness center that offers exercise equipment to help them regain strength and stamina following heart surgery, heart attack, PCI procedure, congestive heart failure, chronic bronchitis, asthma or diabetes. Call (707) 646-5072.

Conditions We Treat

Heart attack: The blood flow to the heart suddenly becomes blocked and the heart muscle can’t get oxygen. The most serious of heart attacks are called STEMIs, which stands for ST Elevation Myocardial Infarction.

Heart Failure: The heart is unable to pump enough blood to maintain the body’s needs.

Heart Valve Disease: Occurs when one or more heart valves are damaged and not working normally.

Heart Rhythm Disturbances: Abnormal variation from normal electrical activity of the heart. The condition can require a pacemaker or ICD (Implanted Cardioverter & Defibrillator).

Vascular: Wide range of problems from varicose veins to peripheral arterial disease and aneurisms.

What’s a Cath Lab?

NorthBay Medical Center is home to two catheterization labs, one that is specifically dedicated to cardiac cases. The cardiac catheterization lab is usually the first stop for a patient suffering a heart attack. If the cath lab is able to insert a balloon or stent in a patient using a catheter, and can restore the proper flow of blood to and from the heart, it may be able to offset the need for heart surgery.

Heart Failure Clinic

NorthBay provides our newly diagnosed heart failure patients with the extra support they need on their path to recovery through our Heart Failure Clinic. Run by a nurse practitioner and medical assistant and supported by NorthBay cardiologists, it provides follow-up appointments for closer monitoring; ongoing education as well as support and clinical management to empower patients to make the needed lifestyle changes. Highly skilled clinicians combine innovative, interactive remote-monitoring technology with good, old-fashioned human touch. Call (707) 646-4400.

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