Cardiologists strengthen hearts at TAMC

| February 2, 2017 | 0 Comments
Mary Eiger, Tripler Army Medical Center Registered Dietician, discusses nutritional needs and improvements with a Cardiac Rehabilitation patient.   The cardiac rehab program incorporates nutrition and psychology classes into the fitness program in hopes of better educating patients as well as promoting optimal health and patient success.

Mary Eiger, Tripler Army Medical Center Registered Dietician, discusses nutritional needs and improvements with a Cardiac Rehabilitation patient. The cardiac rehab program incorporates nutrition and psychology classes into the fitness program in hopes of better educating patients as well as promoting optimal health and patient success.

Tripler Army Medical Center
Cardiology Services
HONOLULU — February is American Heart Month, and Tripler Army Medical Center is taking major strides to help patients understand the symptoms of heart failure, which many brush off as signs of “getting older.”

When patients are diagnosed with heart failure, their five-year survival rate is approximately 50 percent or worse than the survival rate for those diagnosed with colon cancer.

The Cardiology Department at TAMC is looking to change that.
Over 6 million Americans have been diagnosed with heart failure.  A person with heart failure commonly complains of fatigue or shortness of breath. In some cases, those symptoms represent something more serious.

In 2016, TAMC created the Heart Failure Team, which is dedicated to treating heart failure. It is led by Dr. Kimberly Lochner, its chief, and Dr. Ryan M. Smith, chief of Cardiology Services at TAMC.

Betchie Curran, Cardiology Health Technician, discusses todayÕs treatment with a Cardiac Rehabilitation patient.  The program is different for every patient, but focuses on strengthening, nutrition and fitness.

Betchie Curran, Cardiology Health Technician, discusses today’s treatment with a Cardiac Rehabilitation patient. The program is different for every patient, but focuses on strengthening, nutrition and fitness.

The care the team provides goes beyond seeing a physician several times a year. It has expanded the Cardiac Rehabilitation program, headed by Maedawn Alagao-Dizon, cardiac rehabilitation specialist, and has enrolled over 100 new patients.

Realizing the importance of informing patients of the risks of heart failure, the cardiac rehab program also incorporated nutrition and psychology classes and created a four-week course to better educate patients and promote optimal health and patient success.

“The passion that this team (has) shows in the immediate impact on patients,” said Smith. “The TAMC Heart Failure team has enrolled over 400 patients in their clinic in just a short period of time, and we have already seen a reduction in 30-day readmissions from 35 to 11 percent. They have also increased seven day follow-up visits from 11 to 55 percent. This is mostly due to the proper education and awareness of our patients.”

When asked about the Heart Failure Team, one patient said, “I feel like I am part of a family. You can feel the passion they have for their patients, and the Heart Failure Team helped give me my life back.”

The Heart Failure Team understands the work has only just begun and is looking to build on its success in 2017 by expanding its current programs and finding better ways to educate the community.
(Editor’s note: Dr. Ryan M. Smith, TAMC’s chief of Cardiology Services, contributed to this article.)

Point of Contact
For more information on heart failure, contact your primary care manager at 433-2778.

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Category: Health

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