Heart Treatment, Conditions & Procedures
Cardiovascular disease affects more than 50 millions Americans, and can present as any number of conditions, from chest pain to abnormal rhythms, stroke or sudden cardiac death. Fortunately, most of these conditions can be treated, or even prevented, through early detection, lifestyle changes and medical or surgical treatments.
As a recognized leader in cardiovascular care, Lakeland offers advanced methods to diagnose and treat heart disorders. Some heart problems can be diagnosed and treated with noninvasive therapies while others may require surgery.
Education is an important aspect of cardiac care. Please direct specific questions to your physician or healthcare provider.
Minimally invasive treatment for Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO)
The Heart Center at Lakeland Regional Medical Center, St. Joseph is one of only four hospitals in the state of Michigan to offer a minimally invasive procedure to treat a rare heart defect known as Patent Foramen Ovale or PFO. Interventional Cardiologists Thomas Pow, M.D., and Dilip Arora, M.D., have been performing the procedure since 2003.
PFO is an opening in the heart between the right and left atrium that is present in all infants and normally closes after birth. For approximately 25 percent of the population, that hole does not fuse and may present future problems by allowing blood to flow between the top chambers of the heart. Blood that flows through the hole can contain plaque that can lodge in the brain and cause a stroke. Although many patients can survive into adulthood with an undetected PFO without any significant symptoms, nearly one half of patients who have suffered an embolic stroke were discovered to suffer from PFO. Doctors Pow and Arora of Great Lakes Heart and Vascular Institute are performing a procedure to repair the hole through the use of a minimally invasive technique. The technique is called transcatheter patent foramen ovale closure. The procedure uses a revolutionary device that is designed to close holes in the heart without the need for open heart surgery. The device is a permanent implant which will repair the PFO for the rest of the patient’s life. For patients with a PFO, this also means they do not have to be on Coumadin (a blood thinner) for life. This in turn means that their procedure has fewer risks and their recovery will be much easier and faster.
The Heart Center in St. Joseph became the first in our region to offer carotid stenting. This revolutionary procedure treats Carotid Artery Disease (CAD) and helps prevent stroke.
Unlike traditional treatments for CAD, carotid stenting does not require a large incision in the neck. The procedure is done through balloon angioplasty. A small incision is made in the groin area and a stent is introduced into carotid artery on a catheter. After it is placed, the stent acts as a scaffold to open the blocked artery and hold the plaque against the artery wall, which increases blood flow to the brain. A small umbrella-shaped device called a embolic protection device is placed beyond the narrowed area and is used to catch any pieces of plaque that may come loose during the procedure.
Because the procedure is minimally invasive, patients recover much quicker. After stent placement, patients normally have an overnight hospital stay. Most patients will be able to return to normal activities in two to three days.