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Trumbull Regional Medical Center opening heart clinic

Seeks to help patients adapt to congestive cardiac failure therapies and reduce readmission

Staff photo / Allie Vugrincic Dr. Arooj Ammed, a resident at Trumbull Regional Medical Center, examines Sandie Ramun of Campbell, at Trumbull Regional Medical Center’s new Congestive Heart Failure Clinic.

WARREN — Trumbull Regional Medical Center is increasing the scope of its cardiac care with its new Congestive Heart Failure Clinic.

The clinic is designed to improve the quality of life for patients living with heart failure through lifestyle changes and drug therapy.

The clinic also seeks to reduce readmission to the hospital and improve patients’ knowledge about congestive heart failure, said Kimberly Howe, president of Western Reserve Health Education at the hospital.

“This is important to a patient, because this is a chronic disease,” Howe said.

Congestive heart failure occurs when the heart cannot pump enough blood and oxygen to support other organs in the body, often causing blood to back up and fluid to build up in the lungs. That can cause shortness of breath, reduced pulmonary ability and fatigue.

Starting next week, the clinic will be open Tuesday afternoons to see patients with congestive heart failure who recently have been discharged from the hospital and patients with chronic heart failure, said Dr. Shyam Bhakta, interventional cardiologist and medical director of the clinic.

Bhakta said studies have shown that seeing heart failure patients within one week of discharge lowers the chances of those patients being readmitted to the hospital. He said he expects the clinic to grow rapidly.

“Congestive heart failure is the leading cause of hospitalization for people over 65,” Bhakta said.

Around 550,000 new cases of congestive heart failure are diagnosed in the U.S. each year, and more than 6.2 million adults in the U.S. have heart failure, according to statistics from Trumbull Regional.

With people surviving heart failure and those with other heart diseases living longer, Bhakta said more people are developing the “end result” of congestive heart failure.

“As the elderly population continues to explode, we do expect to see a big surge in congestive heart failure,” Bhakta said.

While congestive heart failure primarily affects older people, Bhakta said it also increasingly is affecting younger people, especially those who are overweight or who have other conditions such as diabetes. He added congestive heart failure also can be common in younger women who received aggressive chemotherapy or radiation therapy.

Because the best way to manage heart failure is through healthy lifestyle choices, Trumbull Regional’s clinic will give patients access to an exercise physiologist, a dietician and a pharmacist.

“We hope to provide some services that the physicians and other providers do not have,” Bhakta said. “This clinic is not meant to replace the patient’s primary care physician or their cardiologist … this will be an added benefit and a supplement.”

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