The cardiac care program has made great strides over the past several years to develop a comprehensive regional cardiology program in Niagara.
Patients who have recently experienced some kind of cardiac event like a heart attack, angioplasty, are awaiting heart surgery or have angina, congestive heart failure or cardiomyopathy can access the program through a physician referral. The regional program offers a variety of cardiovascular rehabilitation and risk reduction services such as supervised exercise programs, nutrition counselling, stress management and health teaching in both group and individual forums.
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Our Heart Function Clinic serves outpatients from across Niagara diagnosed with congestive heart failure, by closely monitoring their condition and managing their symptoms. The goal is to improve stability, avoid hospital admission and improve quality of life. A Nurse Practitioner works both independently and in collaboration with our cardiologists as well as family doctors to manage patients diagnosed with heart failure within the Niagara Community. This provides timely follow-up for patients who are acutely and/or chronically ill with congestive heart failure. This is accomplished through frequent clinic visits, medication adjustments, lab monitoring, telephone counseling, Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) involvement for home monitoring/medications and through providing lifestyle/dietary management techniques.
The state-of-the-art Heart Investigation Unit (HIU) at our St. Catharines Site brings diagnostic cardiac catheterization services and interventional care to Niagara. Previously, patients had to travel outside Niagara for such services.
Diagnostic cardiac catheterization enables specialists to diagnose and assess the severity of cardiac disease and evaluate the suitability of a patient for angioplasty, surgery, and other therapy or interventions.
Our HIU team also performs percutaneous coronary interventions (PCI), another service patients previously had to travel outside of Niagara for. This non-surgical procedure uses a catheter to insert a small tube-like structure called a stent in blood vessels in the heart that have been narrowed by plaque buildup — a condition known as atherosclerosis.
Patients with a wide variety of cardiac conditions are admitted to this unit. The unit is staffed by Registered Nurses with additional training in cardiology, and resources available from the full health care team. The multidisciplinary team treats patients requiring more intensive coronary care. Cardiologists are available 24 hours per day in this specialized unit.