With the ongoing evolution of its cardiac services, Beebe Healthcare in Lewes continues a century-old tradition of excellence in community health services
Throughout America, the expectations of community hospitals tend to be more modest than those of their big-city counterparts. But that’s not the mentality at Beebe Healthcare in Lewes, which has been singularly devoted to providing state-of-the-art community health services as part of its distinguished 100-year history.
In recent years, some of Beebe’s most exciting advancements have occurred within its cardiac services. With significant upgrades in technology, equipment and personnel, Beebe has emerged as a local leader in the field. Here are just some of the reasons.
The Ornish Reversal Program
The number-one killer of people in the U.S., cardiovascular disease is traditionally thought of as something to be monitored and hopefully controlled. But what if certain heart conditions could actually be reversed? The fact is some can, and Beebe Healthcare is proud to be on the forefront of such breakthrough science as the only provider in their region to offer the Dr. Dean Ornish Program for Reversing Heart Disease.™
With more than 35 years of peer-reviewed published research, the Ornish program allows the patient to take charge of their own heart health via a specific regime that includes diet, stress-management and supportive relationships. Patients nationwide report health improvements right away, including cessation of chest pain, lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, healthy weight loss, increased energy levels and reduction of prescription medication. The Ornish Reversal Program has been so well-received, Medicare and several private insurance plans now cover it.
Cardiac Ablation Services
When it comes to repairing the heart, Beebe uses the latest in electrophysiology and interventional cardiology procedures. Cardiac ablation is the removal of unhealthy tissue within the heart, which can treat many types of heart-rhythm issues. For patients with electrical heart conditions, it is used primarily to treat atrial fibrillation, or AFib. AFib is a type of irregular heartbeat, which left untreated may dramatically increase one’s risk of blood clots, stroke or even heart failure.
In cases where medication has proved ineffective — which accounts for about half of AFib patients — Beebe is equipped to perform a radiofrequency (RF) ablation, in which a catheter is inserted into an artery and guided to the heart, where radio energy repairs the area where the irregular beats are triggered. Using the recently FDA-approved TactiCath Quartz ablation catheter, Beebe electrophysiologists can use RF ablation to treat unhealthy cardiac tissue lesions with greater precision and safety than ever before.
Another highly effective yet minimally invasive new treatment for AFib is called catheter cryoablation. Cryoablation uses extreme cold to neutralize misfiring cardiac tissue by freezing it. Dr. Firas El-Sabbagh performs the procedure in Beebe’s Electrophysiology Lab, using a 3-D mapping system that guides him with real-time geometry.
“More than 70 percent of patients treated with cryoablation were free from AFib after one year,” Dr. El-Sabbagh advised, “compared to less than 10 percent of those treated with medication.”
For critically ill heart patients, Beebe is the first and only hospital in Delaware to use Cardiohelp. A revolutionary advance in the treatment of the most critical cardiopulmonary events, Cardiohelp is a mini-heart–lung machine so light and portable, it can be brought to a patient’s bedside in seconds or meet them the moment they arrive at the facility — saving lives that might otherwise be lost.
In addition to such procedures as coronary artery bypass grafting, aortic and mitral valve repair and replacement, tricuspid valve repair and aortic dissection repair, Beebe cardiac surgeons routinely perform pericardial window procedures for pericardial effusion, pulmonary vein isolation for AFib and open surgery of the great vessels.
Interventional cardiologists perform stent implantations, angioplasties, peripheral vascular interventions and coronary atherectomies.
As with all potentially life-threatening conditions, early detection is paramount. Calcifications in the coronary arteries are a common early sign of heart disease, which is why Beebe offers coronary calcium scans using CT technology. These scans can show whether a patient is at risk for a heart attack or other heart problems before other signs and symptoms appear. If a patient’s arterial calcification is severe enough, Beebe interventionists like Dr. Rob Myers can address it with the hospital’s brand-new Diamondback 360 Coronary Orbital Atherectomy System, which employs a patented combination of differential sanding and centrifugal force to prepare arteries for stents that would otherwise be unable to support them.
“At this point in time we offer state-of-the-art care to more than 95 percent of adult cardiology patients,” offered Dr. Myers. “Going forward, we plan to expand our cardiac catheterization and electrophysiology labs even further, for an even better patient experience.”
Screening for heart disease
Another important early-detection tool comes in the form of Beebe’s brand-new Heart Health Profiler. The profiler is a free online survey that helps people better understand their individual risk of heart disease. In just five minutes, subjects receive a risk-level evaluation, as well as supplemental information on heart health. If one’s risk level is determined to be moderate or high, they may be contacted by a Beebe Healthcare professional who will help connect them with a cardiologist.
“By staying on the forefront of cardiac technology,” said Lynn Amey, RN-BC, MHA, executive director of Cardiac and Vascular Services, “Beebe can offer advanced procedures that continually improve patient care, making it one of the most progressive and technically advanced community hospitals in the region.”
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