Holy Cross Cardiovascular Blog

Ask the Doc (Karan Munuswamy, MD, Cardiology): Checking Blood Pressure at Home

  • Posted Feb 02, 2015
  • Karan Munuswamy, MD

Q: Why is it important to check my blood pressure at home?

Dr. Munuswamy: Blood pressure (BP) can fluctuate, and home BP readings can provide your healthcare provider with valuable information to determine whether you really have high blood pressure. And if you do have high blood pressure, home BP readings can show if your BP is adequately controlled with your current treatment. It is also quite helpful in ruling out "white coat syndrome" (when the BP in the physician office may be high but not at home).

Dr. Munuswamy is a board certified cardiologist and is a hypertension specialist who practices with the Holy Cross Medical Group in Fort Lauderdale, FL. For more informatio on Dr. Munuswamy, incuding referral information, call 954-900-6659.

What is the Most Common Cause of Death around the World?

  • Posted Nov 17, 2014
  • Claudio Smuclovisky, MD, FACC,...

Did you know that the lifetime risk of a person developing cancer is 22%? In contrast, 50% of males develop symptoms of a heart attack or other types of cardiovascular illnesses, and one third of all females develop heart disease.

How do I know if I have heart disease?
Some people undergo stress testing with their physician to check for coronary artery disease. The stress test, however, looks for later stages of disease, where there’s blockage and decreased oxygen in the muscle of the heart. Nowadays, there is technology available that can detect heart disease years before it’s detectable by stress tests: Cardiac CT.

What is Cardiac CT?
It is a highly specialized CT scan using a 256-slice CT scanner that provides very detailed 3D imaging of the heart and vessels. These images are captured rapidly in as little as two heart beats. It also involves 90% less radiation than current stress testing using radioactive isotopes that is given through the blood. It is very accurate in determining quickly whether or not a person has plaque and allows physicians to take active measures to prevent a heart attack.

Cardiac CT Video Thumbnail
Given that a person is more likely to develop a cardiovascular illness than cancer, it is important to ask your doctor about screening for cardiovascular diseases.

Dr. Smuclovisky is a diagnostic radiologist who practices in Fort Lauderdale, FL and specializes in cardiac imaging. For a physician referral or to inquire about scheduling an appointment for Holy Cross Hospital’s Harry T. Mangurian, Jr. Diagnostic Imaging Center, call 954-900-6659.

Holy Cross Hospital Honored by American Heart Association with Resuscitation Quality Achievement Award

  • Posted Nov 06, 2014
  • hchadmin

Holy Cross Hospital has received the Get With The Guidelines® - Resuscitation Bronze Quality Achievement Award for implementing specific quality improvement measures outlined by the American Heart Association for the treatment of patients who suffer cardiac arrests in the hospital.

More than 200,000 adults and children have an in-hospital cardiac arrest each year according to the American Heart Association.

Holy Cross Hospital is awarded for meeting specific measures in treating adult cardiac arrest patients. To qualify for the awards, hospitals must demonstrate compliance with these performance measures at a set level for a designated period.

Guidelines include following protocols for patient safety, medical emergency team response, effective and timely resuscitation (CPR) and post-emergency care.

“We adapt processes and implement proven models of care to ensure better patient outcomes and satisfaction” said Holy Cross Hospital President and CEO Patrick A. Taylor, M.D. “This award recognizes the commitment of the physicians and nurses at Holy Cross."

The Get With The Guidelines-Resuscitation program was developed with the goal to save lives of those who experience cardiac arrests through consistently following the most up-to-date research-based guidelines for treatment. 

The program builds on the work of the American Heart Association’s National Registry of CardioPulmonary Resuscitation originally launched in 1999 as a database of in-hospital resuscitation events from more than 500 hospitals. Data from the registry and the quality program gives participating hospitals feedback on their resuscitation practice and patient outcomes and help develop research-based guidelines for in-hospital resuscitation.

For more information on Holy Cross Hospital's cardiac services, visit HolyCrossHeart.com.

Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) Update: Two Years Later

  • Posted Aug 26, 2014
  • hchadmin

Holy Cross Hospital was the first facility in South Florida  to offer Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) for high risk patients and for those who suffer from severe symptomatic aortic stenosis. The TAVR program, along with the Valve and Structural Heart Disease Clinic launched in 2012. Two years later, Holy Cross' TAVR team has the most experience in South Florida in performing this minimally invasive procedure and has seen success rates higher than the national average. Originally, the procedure was done via a transfemoral approach (through the leg), and now there are four different approaches by which this procedure is performed, ensuring an available anatomical pathway for each patient.

Watch a video overview about this revolutionary procedure:
Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement at Holy Cross Hospital - An Overview

Learn more about this procedure and Holy Cross' TAVR team at HolyCrossHeart.com.

TAVR Team 2014
Photo (L-R):
Holy Cross Hospital TAVR Team
Alexander Llanos, MD, Interventional Structural Heart Disease Cardiologist
Alan Niederman, MD, Interventional Cardiologist
Alexander Justicz, MD, Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgeon
Joshua Purow, MD, Interventional Cardiologist
Imad Tabry, MD, Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgeon
Irving David, MD, Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgeon
Vicente Font, MD, Echo Cardiologist
Elizabeth Graf, MSN, ACCNS-AG, CCRN, Valve and Structural Heart Disease Clinic Coordinator

Nationally Recognized for Quality Care for Stroke and Heart Failure...Again!

  • Posted Apr 30, 2014
  • hchadmin

Holy Cross Hospital's commitment to high quality care was evidenced by two recent national recognitions. For the fifth consecutive year, Holy Cross has received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award. Holy Cross also received the organization’s Get With The Guidelines®-Heart Failure Silver Plus Quality Achievement Award.

“We are proud to be among the hospitals recently recognized by the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association for our commitment to excellent care,” said Holy Cross Hospital President and CEO Patrick Taylor, MD. “Get WithThe Guidelines programs include performance feedback reporting for continuous quality improvement which assists us in providing the latest evidenced-based care to our patients and driving advances nationwide.”

Comprehensive Stroke Care

Holy Cross received the Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award for implementing specific quality improvement measures outlined by the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association for the treatment of stroke patients.

The non-profit hospital earned the award by meeting specific quality and achievement measures for the rapid diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients for 24 consecutive months.  These measures include aggressive use of medications and risk-reduction therapies aimed at reducing death and disability and improving the lives of stroke patients.
Through its Comprehensive Stroke Center, Holy Cross provides round-the-clock personnel, infrastructure, expertise and programs to diagnose and treat stroke and transient ischemic attack patients who require a high degree of medical, surgical and endovascular care, specialized tests or interventional treatments. The center is certified as a Primary Stroke Center by the Joint Commission and as a Comprehensive Stroke Center by the Agency for Health Care Administration.

Leading Edge Cardiac Care

American Heart Association Get WithThe Guidelines-Heart Failure is an in-hospital program for improving care by promoting consistent adherence to the latest clinical treatment guidelines. Numerous published studies demonstrate the program's success in achieving significant patient outcome improvements and reductions in 30-day readmissions. The Silver Plus award is an advanced level of recognition for meeting achievement and quality measures within the program for 12 consecutive months.

The Holy Cross Hospital Congestive Heart Failure Clinic provides intensive personalized therapy and develops individual programs that educate patients about heart failure, optimize chronic medications and help patients manage their disease. Holy Cross Hospital, through its Heart Failure Clinic, is also a designated LVAD (Left Ventricular Assist Device) shared care facility. The Clinic helps previously end-stage heart failure patients through LVAD, cardiac and heart failure management while they are traveling or moving to South Florida, away from their implantation site. The Clinic works closely with implantation sites around the country to ensure good quality of life and peace of mind for patients as they travel.

Holy Cross Hospital is the First in Broward County to Implant Reveal LINQ™ Miniature Cardiac Monitor

  • Posted Mar 18, 2014
  • hchadmin

Holy Cross Hospital in Fort Lauderdale, Florida is the first in Broward County to implant the Medtronic Reveal LINQ™ Insertable Cardiac Monitor (ICM) System in a patient, the smallest implantable cardiac monitoring device available.

The Reveal LINQ ICM is approximately one-third the size of a AAA battery, making it more than 80 percent smaller than other ICMs. While significantly smaller, the device is part of a powerful system that allows physicians to continuously and wirelessly monitor a patient’s heart for up to three years, with 20 percent more data memory than its larger predecessor, Reveal® XT.

Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiologist Rishi Anand, M.D., who serves as the medical director for the Electrophysiology department at Holy Cross Hospital, performed the surgery on Austin Stuart, a 67-year old man from Wilton Manors, Florida, on March 6.

“Often a patient’s heart must be monitored over time to determine what may be the cause of his or her symptoms such as dizziness, palpitations and fainting,” Anand explained.  “A recent study showed that the time to diagnosis was reduced by 79 percent for patients with implantable long-term heart monitors who experienced arrhythmias as compared to those with non-implantable monitors.”

Heart rhythm disorders, also called cardiac arrhythmias, can sometimes be managed with simple lifestyle changes.  Others, such as when a patient experiences recurrent fainting, palpitations, unexplained stroke or atrial fibrillation, can be more serious and potentially life threatening.

Implanted using a minimally invasive insertion procedure, Reveal LINQ ICM is placed just beneath the skin through a small incision of less than one centimeter in the upper left side of the chest, and is often nearly invisible to the naked eye once inserted.

LINQ Wireless Cardiac Monitor Implant Diagram
Following the procedure, patients can continue with normal daily activities such as bathing, swimming and other physician-approved exercise.  Patients can also undergo magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) if needed.

Reveal LINQ Complete SystemIn addition to its continuous and wireless monitoring capabilities, the system provides remote monitoring through the Carelink® Network, which can alert physicians if their patients have had cardiac events.

The Reveal LINQ system also includes the new MyCareLink™ Patient Monitor, a simplified remote monitoring system with global cellular technology that transmits patients’ cardiac device diagnostic data to their clinicians from nearly any location in the world.

The Medtronic Reveal LINQ ICM was cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in February. Watch a video animation of the Reveal LINQ implantation.

For referral information for Dr. Rishi Anand, call 954-900-6659. 
Learn more about the services offered at Holy Cross Hospital's Jim Moran Heart and Vascular Center by visiting HolyCrossHeart.com.

Holy Cross Hospital Reaches Milestone with 50th Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR)

  • Posted Feb 03, 2014
  • hchadmin

In 2012, the hospital was first in Broward County to successfully perform the minimally invasive procedure for patients deemed at too high risk for open heart surgery

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (January 15, 2014) – After having been the first hospital in Broward County to perform the minimally invasive transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) two years ago, Holy Cross Hospital in Fort Lauderdale has reached another milestone with its successful 50th TAVR procedure.

On January 15, the TAVR Team performed the implantation on Boca Raton resident, Elaine Linden.

The TAVR procedure is designed to replace a patient’s diseased native aortic valve without the need for open-chest surgery and without stopping the patient’s heart. “It offers an opportunity for improved quality of life to patients needing an aortic valve replacement who are at high or extreme risk for open heart surgery” said Dr. Alan Niederman. TAVR patients at Holy Cross range in age from 67 to 96 years old, with an average age of 86.
TAVR is the first procedure utilizing a multi-specialty team consisting of:

•Interventional Cardiologists: Dr. Alex Llanos (Interventional/Structural Cardiologist), Dr. Alan Niederman, and Dr. Joshua Purow
•Cardiovascular Surgeons: Dr. Irving David and Dr. Imad Tabry
•Echo Cardiologist: Dr. Vicente Font
•Cardiac Anesthesiologist: Dr. Bijan Bavarian
•Cardiovascular Radiologist: Dr. Claudio Smuclovisky
•Structural Heart Program Coordinator: Chloe Lebron, Advanced Registerd Nurse Practitioner (ARNP), and
•Specially trained Cardiac Catheterization and Open-Heart Surgical staff.

The TAVR team at Holy Cross Hospital has outperformed the international outcome averages for this leading edge procedure. TAVR is performed in the hospital’s state-of-the-art hybrid interventional operating room which offers physicians the latest technology to perform a variety of cutting-edge procedures.

The Valve and Structural Heart Disease Clinic at the Holy Cross Jim Moran Heart and Vascular Center is located at 4725 North Federal Highway in Fort Lauderdale.  For more information call Chloe Lebron or Ginger Mastrapa at (954) 229-7974 or visit www.HolyCrossHeart.com.

About Holy Cross Hospital
A member of CHE Trinity Health, Holy Cross Hospital in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. is a full-service, non-profit Catholic hospital, sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy. Since opening its doors in 1955, the 559-bed hospital has offered progressive services and programs to meet the evolving healthcare needs of Broward County. Today, Holy Cross has more than 600 physicians on staff representing more than 40 specialties and more than 3,000 employees. To learn more about Holy, visit holy-cross.com, “like” Holy Cross Hospital, Fort Lauderdale on Facebook, or follow @holycrossfl on Twitter.

February / Heart Month Free Community Events Presented by Holy Cross Hospital

  • Posted Jan 30, 2014
  • hchadmin

Heart Disease remains the leading cause of death in Americans. February is American Heart Month, and to help with increasing awareness, Holy Cross Hospital is hosting free events focusing on heart topics all month. We hope you can join us!

Wednesday, February 5 | 4pm-5pm | Sister Innocent Conference Center at Holy Cross Hospital (4725 N. Federal Hwy., Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33308)
Dinner with the Doctor: Living with Congestive Heart Failure

When your heart does not pump as well as it should, your body does not get the oxygen it needs and may result in life-threatening complications. This condition, Congestive Heart Failure, is one of the leading causes of hospitalizations in those over 60 years old. Join Cardiologist Richard A. Goldman, MD, as he discusses the causes of CHF and how to successfully manage this condition. This program will be held in the Sister Innocent Conference Center on the main Holy Cross Hospital campus.

To RSVP for this free program, call 954-351-5886.
Complimentary valet parking is available. Canned good donations are accepted.

Friday, February 7 | All Day | Facebook
Go Red Day

Go Red Day raises awareness about heart disease in women. We invite you to wear red (clothes, accessories, shoes, etc.) on this day, take a photo of yourself, and then post it on our Facebook page at Facebook.com/holycrossfl with the hastag #GoRedDay or email it to us at info@holy-cross.com, and we will post it for you! Thank you for your support!

Thursday, February 13 | 6pm-7pm | Holy Cross Dorothy Mangurian Comprehensive Women's Center at Holy Cross HealthPlex (1000 NE 56th St., Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33334)
Time Out for Women: New Cholesterol Guidelines for Women

The latest cholesterol guidelines from the American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association may change how your heart condition is treated. Join Vicente Font, MD, Cardiologist, for a women-only event and learn how the new guidelines affect women's heart health, including your own. One lucky winner will go home with a "pamper me" gift basket.

This program will be held at the Dorothy Mangurian Comprehensive Women's Center - please use the Dixie Highway entrance due to construction in the area.

To RSVP for this free program call 954-351-7804.

Wednesday, February 19 | 4pm-5pm | Sister Innocent Conference Center at Holy Cross Hospital (4725 N. Federal Hwy., Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33308)
Cardiac Hour: Resistant Hypertention - A Growing Problem

Resistant Hypertension is a common and increasing medical problem and puts patients at high risk for stroke, heart attack and heart failure. Join Karan Munuswamy, MD, FACC, Clinical Hypertension Specialist, in discussing diagnosis and current treatment of resistant hypertension and the novel treatments on the horizon. This program will be held in the Sister Innocent Conference Center on the main Holy Cross Hospital campus.

To RSVP for this free program, call 954-351-5886.
Complimentary valet parking is available.

Wednesday, February 26 | 4pm-5pm | Sister Innocent Conference Center at Holy Cross Hospital (4725 N. Federal Hwy., Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33308)
The Cardiac Hour (Topic: Heart Panel on Advanced Cardiac Therapeutics at Holy Cross Hospital)

More information on the Heart Panel is coming soon! Check back on this post later!

Inspiration (Part 2)

  • Posted Dec 05, 2013
  • Ricky M. Schneider MD

Morris and Me
December 3, 2013

The famous internist Morris L. Jampol, MD, was born over 94 years ago. He is considered one of the great clinicians and medical educators of his time in New York. Despite the fact that I have practiced cardiology in South Florida for 28 years, I have serendipitously re-established a connection with this illustrious man. Here is my story:

In April 1974, I was a 22-year-old Yale freshman medical student planning to spend my first summer "clinical experience" at Yale-New Haven Hospital. However, my 45 year old mother, Renee, died suddenly of unrecognized aspiration pneumonia at New York's Mount Sinai Hospital three days after a hysterectomy for benign disease. Needing a last minute summer clerkship in New York so I could be near my father and two younger sisters, I sought the help of the Chief of Medicine at LaGuardia Hospital in Forest Hills, Queens (under the aegis of H.I.P. of Greater New York, which was my family's insurer for many years because my mother was, until her death, a Plainview, Long Island school teacher). That Chief of Medicine, Dr. Morris Jampol, became my clinical preceptor, a role that he generously and skillfully performed for me, for five (I believe) other Yale med classmates that summer, and for many other Yalies who first wore their short white coats on the wards in Queens over many other summers.

After running an internal medicine residency program at Cornell for 10 years, Dr. Jampol retired at age 80. He has since enjoyed an active and vigorous retirement, sailing, working out at the gym, writing, and listening to music, in Fresh Meadows, NY, and in Wynmoor Village, Coconut Creek, Florida. He lost his dear wife of 67 years in 2010.

In January 2011, I received a call in my Tamarac office from a retired internist who asked to be seen urgently for "possible pneumonia." He stated that his recently deceased former NYU classmate and friend, Dr. Emanuel Berson, my former patient, had advised him to call me if he ever needed a Florida doctor. (Dr. Berson, a dentist,  was the younger brother of the renowned Dr. Solomon Berson, who had developed the technique of radioimmunoassay with Rosalyn Yalow at the Bronx VA Hospital and Mount Sinai Hospital; if he had not died in 1972, he surely would have shared the Nobel Prize, which Dr. Yalow won in 1977.)

I picked up the phone, heard Dr. Jampol's name, and reminded him that I had been one of his young Yale students at LaGuardia Hospital in the summer of 1974. As always, his diagnosis was spot on: he had right lower lobe pneumonia. He responded to dual antibiotic therapy and avoided hospitalization.

Since then, I have had the pleasure of a renewed relationship with Dr. Jampol, whom I consider not just a patient, but also a colleague and a friend. I enjoyed meeting his son Mark. He sent me his beautiful essay about Beethoven's acquired deafness last year, and more recently, he sent me his personal story about Mahler's consultation with the young Dr. George Baehr.

Coincidentally, I served my internship and residency in internal medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital. As a house office - and for all of my career since then - I have utilized a technique that I learned directly from Dr. Jampol in 1974. After interviewing and examining a patient in a hospital room or in my office exam room, I sit down with the patient to write my note in the medical record. Because I spend an extra five minutes in the patient's presence while doing so, we have time for casual conversation or for him to tell or ask me something that otherwise might have been forgotten. I owe this habit to my observation of Dr. Jampol - my first clinical role model.


This blog was archived on June 14, 2016. New blogs are being posted to The Medical Insider Blog

About the Center

The Jim Moran Heart and Vascular Center at Holy Cross offers the latest in high-tech cardiac care. Holy Cross was the first in Broward County to offer Induced Hypothermia, which has shown to increase the odds of surviving cardiac arrest, and has been shown to improve neurological outcomes after such an event. We were also the first in Florida to use the Prime ECG Vest which, in select patients, may give physicians additional data beyond a traditional electrocardiogram. Our outstanding cardiovascular team, utilizing cutting-edge technology, can treat any heart and vascular situation especially in an emergency.

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