H is for Heart & Vascular

Heart Failure Academy: Your Partner for Life

Nurse practitioners Dana Gill, left, and Sherry Ramirez explain the intricacies of heart health, as part of NorthBay’s Heart Failure Academy, to Ernest Maligaya.

No one plans to have a heart attack, but if you have one in Solano County, you’re in close proximity to a comprehensive, high-tech, full-service treatment facility.

NorthBay Medical Center is Solano County’s only designated Chest Pain Center and is equipped with highly skilled cardiac experts and medical staff ready to save your life and then coach you every step of the way in your journey back to health.

The surgical program offers the latest techniques in a state-of-the-art operating suite, including off-pump coronary artery bypass, valve repair and valve replacement surgery.

Chest pain doesn’t always lead to open heart surgery. In many cases, interventional cardiologists can investigate whether a stent or balloon can open up blocked arteries and prevent a heart attack.

The academy offers recovering patients four specific classes in diet, nutrition and exercise.

NorthBay offers a full battery of diagnostic testing to assist physicians in making timely decisions, including the 12-lead EKG, the echocardiogram, Trans Esophageal Echocardiogram (TEE) and treadmill stress testing.

The sad truth for cardiac patients across the country is that there’s a 40 percent chance they’ll be readmitted to the hospital in the weeks and months after they’ve gone home.

“That’s because it is difficult for people to not only change their eating habits, but their entire lifestyle, on their own. You need the education and ongoing support to make the necessary adjustments to stay on a path to heart health,” said Travis Head, practice manager for the NorthBay Heart & Vascular Center.

That’s why Travis and his team and NorthBay Cardiac & Pulmonary Rehabilitation have established a Heart Failure Academy to teach those recovering from cardiac events what they need to do to ensure they won’t end up back in the hospital.

Launched in the fall of 2016, the academy offers recovering patients four specific classes in diet, nutrition and exercise.

“The Heart Failure Academy provides you with the tools and hands-on guidance to make the lifestyle changes needed for living with heart disease,” said Travis simply. “When you go home from the hospital, it’s easy to return to old habits. We started the Academy to give you a place to learn successful lifestyle strategies, a chance to ask lots of questions, share tips and to connect with others, like you, who are living with heart failure. It keeps you in close proximity to your care team who are available to immediately address any questions or concerns.”

Because readmissions are a global issue, NorthBay Healthcare decided to create a multidisciplinary team to address patient issues.

“It’s important that our patients know they are not alone. Your NorthBay team is, and will be, right there with you,” said Travis. “Of course you will still see your cardiologists. The Heart Failure Academy complements that care. We show you how to monitor fluid and salt intake, exercises you can incorporate at every stage and how all of this affects your health. We also stay connected to our patients through-out the program, personally calling to check in and support your heart health journey. It’s about letting you know we’re your partners for life.”

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