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Stony Brook University Heart Institute

By Joanna Chikwe, M.D.

February means heart health awareness, but taking care of your heart requires a year-round commitment that has lifelong benefits. What will you do differently to take better care of your heart?

Dr. Joanna Chickwe

Heart disease can affect anyone, regardless of gender, age or background. That’s why all of our cardiac care experts at Stony Brook University Heart Institute remain focused on how to best prevent heart disease and heal the heart. 

When you come to Stony Brook Heart Institute, you can depend on quality and expertise for every aspect of your cardiac care — care that exceeds national outcomes. A few examples:

• Our renowned team of interventional cardiologists have long been on the forefront for treating acute myocardial infarction, or heart attack. In fact, we exceed national outcomes and have the best outcomes on Long Island when it comes to bringing lifesaving heart emergency care to heart attack victims, as reported on the Hospital Compare* website. 

• Our heart surgeons have a high degree of expertise in providing advanced approaches to coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) — a surgical procedure that uses blood vessels from other areas of your body to restore blood flow to your heart. Our Heart Institute has received a three-star rating — the highest awarded — from The Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) for overall patient care and outcomes in isolated CABG surgery. This distinguished award is in recognition of the isolated CABG procedures we performed from January to December 2017. The STS ratings are regarded as the definitive national reporting system for cardiac surgery. 

• For patients with severe aortic stenosis (narrowing), Stony Brook is a leader in advancing the transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) procedure and is one of a select number of sites in the U.S. to offer this minimally invasive procedure for patients who are considered high, intermediate or low-risk for open surgery. Stony Brook has excellent long-term data on patient outcomes with TAVR, and we are a tertiary referral center for evaluation of aortic valve disease.

• And, for patients with heart failure, a condition where the heart can’t pump enough blood to meet the needs of the body, our world-renowned experts at the Heart Failure and Cardiomyopathy Center help patients to restore their quality of life, limit their symptoms and understand their disease. We are proud that our patient outcomes for survival with heart failure are the best on Long Island and among the best nationally, according to Hospital Compare. 

While we hope that you and your family never need acute cardiac services, you can be assured knowing that Long Island’s only Chest Pain Center with Primary PCI and Resuscitation is right in your community. 

And, if you suspect a heart attack, please remember it’s best to call 911. Ambulances are equipped with defibrillators and most are equipped with 12-lead EKGs (electrocardiograms), which means they can transmit results to the hospital while en route. At Stony Brook, we assemble the treatment team and equipment you need before you arrive.

Want to do something today to learn about your heart health? Take a free heart health risk assessment at www.stonybrookmedicine.edu/hearthealth. Seeking a solution to a cardiac problem? Call us at 631-44-HEART (444-3278). We’re ready to help.

*Hospital Compare is a consumer-oriented national website that provides information on how well hospitals provide recommended care to their patients managed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Dr. Joanna Chikwe is the director of the Stony Brook University Heart Institute, chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery and the T.F. Cheng Endowed Professor of Surgery.

By Joanna Chickwe, MD

Dr. Joanna Chickwe

February means heart health awareness, but taking care of your heart requires a year-round commitment that has lifelong benefits. What will you do differently to take better care of your heart?

Heart disease can affect anyone, regardless of gender, age or background. That’s why all of our cardiac care experts at Stony Brook University Heart Institute remain focused on how to best prevent heart disease and heal the heart.

We fight cardiovascular disease from every angle, using the best that cardiovascular medicine can offer: risk factor prevention; state-of-the-art diagnostics, such as 3-D cardiovascular imaging; advanced minimally invasive interventions, including mitral valve repair using a patient’s own valve tissue versus an artificial heart valve; and advanced lifesaving technology, including ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) that gives new hope to people with a serious heart or lung failure.

In the hands of our highly trained heart specialists, these and other important new state-of-the-art therapies are changing cardiac care and lives:

• Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) for patients with inoperable aortic stenosis (failing heart valves)

• MitraClip, a less invasive treatment option for mitral regurgitation (caused by a leaky mitral valve), for patients who are not candidates for open-heart surgery

• The HeartMate 3 left ventricular assist device (LVAD) for patients with advanced heart failure

• Watchman to provide lifelong protection against stroke in appropriate patients for heart rhythm disorders

• Impella, the world’s smallest heart pump, making procedures safer for high-risk individuals

And while we hope that you and your family never need our acute cardiac services, you can be assured knowing that Long Island’s only accredited Chest Pain Center is right in your community. As one of only nine Chest Pain Centers statewide, Stony Brook Heart Institute is a leader in saving the lives of heart attack victims.

Since “time is muscle” when it comes to treating heart attacks, it is critical to treat patients as fast as possible, so less muscle is damaged. Stony Brook has achieved a “door-to-balloon” time, spanning the arrival at the hospital until the blockage is cleared, of 55 minutes — much better than the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association guidelines to open the blockage in 90 minutes or less.

And, if you suspect a heart attack, it’s best to call 911. Ambulances are equipped with defibrillators and most are equipped with 12-lead EKGs (electrocardiograms), which means they can transmit results to the hospital while en route. At Stony Brook, we assemble the treatment team and equipment you need before you arrive.

Have a question about heart disease prevention? Seeking a solution to a cardiac problem? Call us at 631-44-HEART (444-3278). We’re ready to help.

Joanna Chikwe is the director of Stony Brook University Heart Institute; chief, Cardiothoracic Surgery; and T.F. Cheng professor of cardiothoracic surgery.

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