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News & Notes: Bringing the Doctors to the Patients

Cardiac CT Now Available at Franklin Square

Sriram Padmanabhan, MDRecently MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center expanded its services to include cardiac computed tomographic angiography (CCTA). This procedure allows physicians to see highly detailed imaging of a patient's arteries, to determine whether they have been narrowed by plaque buildup. Cardiology Chief Sriram Padmanabhan, MD, conducted Franklin’s first cardiac CT angiogram in the hospital’s Emergency Department.

“The images were good," he says, "the transmission was flawless, and the report was available within a very short time. All involved did their part superbly.” The new service is a system-wide cooperative venture. Once test images from Franklin Square are in the MedStar PACS system, physicians based at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, which does a high volume of cardiac studies, read the results and generate a report within a few hours. The ED physician is then able to make a decision on next steps for the patient's care. CCTA can be an excellent option for patients who have chest pain but low-to-intermediate risk factors for heart disease.

Dr. Padmanabhan says, “The test is quick and simple, with relatively low radiation exposure, and is comparatively low-cost. This imaging modality gives us a lot of information relatively easily. For appropriate patients with the appropriate indications, this test helps us determine whether their pain is coming from the coronary arteries.” MedStar’s push to provide imaging services is resulting in better options for patients, he continues. “Cardiac CT is often only available at very large medical facilities, so having the ability as well as the trained physicians and staff to perform this test at Franklin Square is extremely useful,” he says. “This is a wonderful new service to be able to provide.”

Dedicated Vascular Access Clinic Opens at MedStar Washington Hospital Center

In April, the Vascular Access Clinic opened in a newly renovated space in the MedStar Washington Hospital Center's Physicians Office Building, South Tower. The service has also made an administrative move and is now under the clinical oversight of the Department of Vascular Surgery within MHVI. The clinic is devoted entirely to patients requiring the expert initiation and maintenance of dialysis access, a busy service for the hospital with more than 2,000 dialysis access procedures performed annually.

The clinic’s medical staff has expanded to keep pace with demand for services. A multidisciplinary team is led by three highly experienced surgeons: Alejandro Aquino, MD, Jesse Garcia, MD, and Faris Hakki, MD. The team is available 24/7 to respond to all patient needs.

“The shift of the clinic into the Department of Vascular Surgery makes sense for both patients and referring physicians,” explains Edward Woo, MD, director, MedStar Vascular Program. “We’ve eliminated overlapping services and consolidated care through this clinical realignment.” “The new clinic space has been designed with patients’ comfort in mind and also to accommodate the high volume of procedures we perform,” adds Brooke Patton, PhD, assistant vice president for vascular surgery. “We’ve also improved coordination of services and continue to work hand-in-hand with nephrologists and all referring physicians to deliver optimal care.”

Electrophysiology Clinic Opens in Manassas

MHVI’s Section of Cardiac Electrophysiology (EP) opened a new clinic in Manassas, Va., where EP physicians provide outpatient office care for patients who live close by. This brings the total to 15 EP sites, distributed across our geographic footprint, where patients can be evaluated (see below).

“It embodies our ethos of ‘Above all, patients first,’” says Zayd Eldadah, MD, PhD, director, Section of Cardiac Electrophysiology at MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute. “The doctors go where the patients live, rather than have patients from distant suburbs drive into Washington, D.C.” He says that satellite offices are a win-win for patients, the local hospitals, and MHVI.

“Patients often prefer not to travel to D.C. for simple interventions or follow-up visits. Local hospitals support many procedures and welcome the expertise of MHVI electrophysiologists, allowing the specialized MHVI EP procedural suites, for example at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, to focus on complex therapies, such as atrial fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia ablation.” With the continued increase in referred procedural volume, Dr. Eldadah says the EP lab at the Hospital Center has already initiated the process of designing and building additional procedure capacity