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Arlington Memorial Hospital Opens Clinic Dedicated to Treating Heart Failure Patients
07/03/2008

ARLINGTON, Texas — Heart failure’s chronic nature necessitates that patients be closely monitored to so their weight, blood pressure and other factors remain in healthy ranges. Even a slight deviation from a normal range could have serious consequences for a weak heart, potentially landing a patient in the emergency room.

To provide in-depth care specifically for heart failure patients, Arlington Memorial Hospital opened Arlington’s only outpatient clinic devoted entirely to providing comprehensive heart failure care.

“Being able to provide this kind of one-on-one, in-depth attention for heart failure patients is crucial to their health. In fact, I’ve had several patients and their families tell me that they know coming to the clinic has kept them out of the hospital,” said Terri Nabozny, R.N., heart failure clinic manager. “Patients have also shared that they liked receiving additional information on the importance of a low salt diet, weighing themselves daily, and other preventive steps.”

The nurses at the Heart Failure Clinic work with referring physicians to try to improve patients’ functional status and quality of life while shortening hospital lengths of stay or reducing the need for hospitalization. Since the clinic opened, it has seen more than 125 patients in the outpatient clinic and during hospital stays.

“Early intervention is critical to keep heart failure patients as healthy as possible,” said Vinit Lal, M.D., an interventional cardiologist and medical director of the Arlington Memorial Hospital Heart Failure Clinic. “The ultimate goal at the Heart Failure Clinic is to address any changes in a patient’s condition quickly, so adjustments can be made to prevent patients from coming to the emergency room.”

More than 5 million patients in the U.S. have heart failure and more than 550,000 patients are diagnosed with heart failure for the first time each year, according to a study by the American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association. Heart failure is the most common Medicare diagnosis and more Medicare dollars are spent for the diagnosis and treatment of heart failure than for any other diagnosis, Nabozny said.

The Heart Failure Clinic provides the following:

• Comprehensive education and counseling individualized to patient needs, including topics on diet/fluid intake, medication compliance, activity levels and weight monitoring at the Heart Failure Clinic or over the telephone

• Modification of diuretics for patients with weight gain or loss

• Attentive follow-up after hospital discharge with easy access to Heart Failure Clinic nurses

• Early attention to signs and symptoms of excess fluid

• Referrals to registered dietician, social services, cardiac rehabilitation or physical therapy as needed

• Coordination with referring physicians

The Heart Failure Clinic is part of Arlington Memorial Hospital’s $23 million expansion of the Cravens Emergency Department.

“The Heart Failure Clinic is transforming how patients access health care,” said Hoyt Frenzel, M.D., medical director of the Emergency Department and one of the clinic’s champions. “By working with local physicians to provide preventative care for heart failure patients, Arlington Memorial Hospital is improving and changing how care is delivered to the community.”

Patients can be referred to the Heart Failure Clinic while they are hospitalized at Arlington Memorial Hospital, in the Emergency Department, or directly from a physician’s office. The Heart Failure Clinic is located on the first floor of the Rex C. McRae building adjacent to the hospital.

Please contact Nabozny at 817-960-6020 for more information on the clinic.

Doctors on the medical staff practice independently and are not employees or agents of the hospital.

About Arlington Memorial Hospital
Arlington Memorial Hospital is a 417-bed acute-care, full-service medical center serving Arlington and the surrounding communities since 1958. Services include comprehensive cardiac care, an electrophysiology lab, women’s services, orthopedics, GI, an advanced imaging center, extensive rehabilitation services, emergency services, health maintenance and disease prevention classes, support groups and community service programs.

About Texas Health Resources
Texas Health Resources is one of the largest faith-based, nonprofit health care delivery systems in the United States and the largest in North Texas in terms of patients served. THR’s system of 13 hospitals includes Harris Methodist Hospitals, Arlington Memorial Hospital and Presbyterian Healthcare System, and a medical research organization. THR is a corporate member or partner in six additional hospitals and surgery centers. For more information about Texas Health Resources, visit www.texashealth.org.

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