In preventing and treating heart disease, interventional cardiology is the front line of defense. The Alliance Heart Institute’s 11 board-certified interventional cardiologists draw on decades of experience, advanced technology, and the latest techniques to correct heart conditions without surgery. With a 99-percent patient satisfaction rating, the Institute is the region’s center of choice for diagnostic and interventional procedures.
When asked about the interventional cardiology program, Central Florida Health Alliance CEO Lee Huntley said, “There’s no doubt in my mind that our team of interventional cardiologists includes the most talented and productive physicians working with any healthcare organization. They are as dedicated as they are talented, and we’re fortunate to have them.”
Dr. Srinivas Attanti with Citrus Cardiology Consultants, PA performs an interventional procedure in the cath lab at Leesburg Regional Medical Center.
In a recent interview with Lake & Sumter Style, three of those interventional cardiologists—Srinivas Attanti, MD, Hector L. Garcia, MD, and Theresa A. Mills, MD—discussed the Institute’s highly regarded program.
What is an interventional cardiologist?
Dr. Attanti: We diagnose and treat constricted arteries and weakened heart valves caused by coronary heart disease. Our team at the Alliance Heart Institute also addresses blockage in the carotid artery, the main blood vessel leading to the brain, and peripheral artery disease (PAD), which primarily occurs in the legs.
How long do these interventional procedures take?
Dr. Attanti: Outpatient procedures may take 30 minutes to several hours, depending on complexity. If patients need to be admitted overnight, they are usually discharged the next morning.
How many patients does the Alliance Heart Institute treat?
Dr. Attanti: Our numbers speak volumes about our experience. We perform 3,000 to 3,500 interventional procedures annually (14,824 heart procedures overall in 2008), one of the highest volumes in the state of Florida.
What new techniques are being used at the Institute?
Dr. Attanti: We are one of the few programs in Florida to do valvuloplasties, which uses balloons to open blocked valves in the heart. We can now treat the most difficult and complex blockages which previously required surgery, such as chronic total occlusions of the heart leg arteries, utilizing the latest available devices and techniques.
Dr. Garcia: For patients with irregular heartbeats, or arrhythmias, we now offer biventricular pacing to stimulate the heart. This allows our patients to live a more normal life. Instead of being sedentary, they are now golfing, dancing, and enjoying time with their families.
In between patients, Dr. Teresa Mills with Cardiovascular Associates of Lake County, reviews data with Nurse Cathy Jo MacRae.
What are the treatment options for coronary heart disease?
Dr. Garcia: Treatment may include lifestyle changes, medicines, and medical procedures. Angioplasty opens a blocked artery by inserting a slender tube through a blood vessel in the leg or lower arm and guiding it to the heart. We inflate a special balloon at the tip of the catheter to open the artery and insert a small mesh cylinder, called a stent, to restore blood flow without invasive surgery.
How are your outcomes?
Dr. Garcia: We have excellent medical outcomes with low rates of complications. And, at a 99-percent patient satisfaction rate, it’s no wonder we have such a large program.
Why is patient satisfaction so high?
Dr. Garcia: We spend plenty of time with each patient and take a team-oriented approach at every step in the process. We also offer a warm and caring family-friendly environment.
Speaking of patient satisfaction, how does the Alliance Heart Institute provide support to patients?
Dr. Mills: When we talk to the patients, we discuss their conditions, answer their questions, and explain what’s needed to stay healthy in the future. We do a lot of teaching both before and after treatment.
Dr. Hector L. Garcia with Florida Heart & Vascular Multi-Specialty Group, discusses patient results with Tech Reginald McClellan.
What are the benefits of a full-service cardiac program?
Dr. Mills: Central Florida Health Alliance has developed a very safe, efficient, and patient-friendly cardiology program, with all support services close at hand. We coordinate our work with the Alliance Heart Institute’s highly skilled cardiac surgery team, to provide a full continuum of care to heart patients. We are up-to-date with the latest technology, so patients receive the benefit of advanced devices and procedures.
As a new team member, why did you join Alliance Heart Institute last August?
Dr. Mills: The Institute’s interventional cardiology program is highly regarded around the country, with an excellent team of doctors. It’s a busy program that delivers excellent outcomes. I’m proud to be part of the team.