Choosing a Heart & Vascular Center
We respect the right of every individual to make their own healthcare choices. Riverside physicians appreciate and encourage patients to be well informed and to ask questions about available healthcare options. Because many patients want physician assistance in making these often complex decisions, if you do not currently have a physician to help guide you, please contact us and we will have one of our heart and vascular specialists assist you.
To help make the decision process easier, outlined below is information related to the four criteria national research and the New England Journal of Medicine indicate are key factors in achieving the best medical outcome possible.
Nearly 40 years ago, Riverside began offering heart and vascular services. In 1980 we pioneered the Peninsula’s first open heart surgery center and today, it remains the only local facility where open heart surgery is performed.
Riverside developed the Peninsula’s first cardiac catheterization capability and is committed to bringing world class interventional care to our community. Why? Because by reducing treatment delays and providing fast access to interventional care, the need for more invasive procedures is reduced or eliminated. The availability of local treatment means that costly travel associated with leaving home for care is eliminated.
Riverside cardiac and vascular specialists conduct over 13,000 cardiovascular diagnostic tests, perform over 3,000 catheterization procedures (averaging more than 8/day) handle more than 1,600 cardiovascular cases, and admit over 3,000 heart patients to our hospital every year. More than 8,500 open heart surgeries have been performed at our Heart and Vascular Center.
Our long and successful history of providing exceptional heart and vascular services was an important factor in Riverside being designated for the third time, one of the top 100 cardiovascular hospitals in the nation. No other heart and vascular program in Hampton Roads received this designation.
Tools and Techniques
Properly and quickly diagnosing cardiovascular disease can be as important as treating it. Riverside Heart and Vascular Center and Riverside Emergency and Trauma Center utilize a state-of-the-art advanced 128-slice CT scanner (not available at any other local medical facility) which produces three-dimensional images of a beating heart within seconds. This innovative tool provides twice the imaging power of conventional CT scanners allowing doctors to more quickly and precisely pinpoint, diagnose and treat heart conditions.
Interventional cardiologists at Riverside Heart & Vascular Center use the latest technologies and equipment for the treatment of coronary artery disease including balloon angioplasty and drug-eluting stents. These two technologies open and stabilize coronary artery blockages. The interventional cardiologists also perform a highly powerful clot-busting procedure using the Angiojet to remove clots before performing balloon or stent procedures.
Aortic aneurysms are one of the most complicated and potentially dangerous vascular conditions and our physicians are utilizing one of the newest available treatments, endovascular stents. A stent is placed over the aneurysm, reducing the risk it will suddenly rupture and bleed. Radiologists and surgeons are using a unique team approach to perform the procedure, insuring the highest level of patient safety. For many patients, this new, less invasive treatment approach reduces the need for delicate and complicated bypass surgery.
These procedures are also used very effectively in emergency situations. The STEMI Alert Program (acute heart attack) offered in conjunction with area fire and rescue departments, means that mobile EKG results administered in the field, are transmitted to an emergency physician before a patient ever arrives. Our emergency and cardiovascular physician teams are able to rapidly mobilize to provide emergency angioplasty and stent treatment for heart attacks in progress. This unique program has reduced treatment times and improved clinical outcomes.
As part of our commitment to using the most advanced surgical techniques available, Riverside Heart and Vascular Center follows the Society of Thoracic Surgeons standard for using the internal mammary artery in heart bypass surgery. Although this technique (associated with better long-term patient outcomes) is not possible for all patients, Riverside uses it in a high percentage of cardiovascular procedures.
Our physicians continually participate in advanced medical education initiatives, including participation in advanced, multi-center trials for the treatment of heart attack, atrial fibrillation and heart failure.
Riverside Heart & Vascular Center has a long history of assimilating skilled, experienced physician specialists and cutting edge technology to provide world class care right here at home. Our team of cardiologists, cardiac thoracic surgeons, vascular surgeons and interventional radiologists are second to none and it is one of the reasons Riverside physicians received “Top Docs in Hampton Roads” designation by their physician peers throughout Hampton Roads.
Our heart and vascular physicians specialize in diagnostic, interventional, and surgical heart and vascular care. They have various Board Certifications in cardiology, vascular and cardiothoracic surgery and other sub-specialties such as interventional cardiology and electrophysiology.
Riverside cardiologists participate in many clinical protocols to develop new treatments for cardiac disease. The Cardiology Research unit in conjunction with our cardiologist investigators is responsible for the safe and accurate operation of these programs. In addition, we are currently participating in several clinical trials including emergency treatment of heart attack, early diagnosis of heart disease in diabetic patients, and comparisons of different types of coronary artery stents.
Heart and vascular care is often associated with more than one medical condition. For example, individuals with diabetes have a higher than average rate of vascular conditions. Riverside physicians, across nearly every specialty, are immediately available to work with heart and vascular patients to provide comprehensive, coordinated patient care. Each physician has 24/7 online access to patient electronic medical records and diagnostic results, reducing the potential for miscommunication while saving valuable time coordinating a patient’s care plan.
The Riverside Heart & Vascular Center participates in several national cardiac data registries designed to evaluate and improve care for cardiac and vascular patients. Despite treating many of the more complex examples of heart and vascular disease and disorder, Riverside’s commitment to continuous quality improvement has resulted in outstanding clinical results in cardiac surgery, interventional cardiology and heart attack treatment. As part of our goal to help you make informed choices, please review the latest information on Riverside’s quality outcomes.