Treatments & Procedures
This is how we heal your heart. HeartLink™ leads Collin County with the most innovative, proven treatments in cardiology today. We're one of the only cardiac centers in the area offering hypothermia therapy, which improves the chances of survival — without brain damage — for patients in cardiac arrest. We also perform PFO closure, a new, minimally invasive procedure to repair a common heart defect. The bottom line — if you want state-of-the-art, then you want HeartLink.
Who is a candidate for this treatment?
According to the American Heart Association, out-of-hospital cardiac arrest - in which the heart stops effectively pumping blood through the body - annually occurs in about 300,000 adults in the United States.
This period of insufficient blood flow can permanently damage the brain, which competes with other organs for much-needed oxygen. However, inducing hypothermia in unconscious patients who have been revived from sudden clinical death can actually improve chances of survival - and without brain damage.
What are the origins of hypothermia therapy?
For many years, doctors have used this treatment in the operating room to gradually decrease a patient's need for oxygenated blood during surgery. Research shows that cooling the body allows the patient to survive with less oxygen by reducing metabolic demand.
Since 2003, the American Heart Association has recommended applying the same technique with cardiac arrest patients - and The Medical Center of Plano was one of the first hospitals to adopt this state-of-the-art therapy.
How does hypothermia therapy work?
By using cold water blankets or ice packs, and/or by inserting a catheter with chilled saline solution, a patient's body temperature is lowered. The patient is monitored so they stay around 91 to 92 degrees Fahrenheit for 24 hours after resuscitation.
Study after study proves that hypothermia therapy dramatically increases survival rates - without brain damage - in cardiac arrest patients.
When should a cardiac arrest patient be cooled?
The sooner the better. That's why HeartLink partners with Plano Emergency Medical Services to cool patients in the field. Thanks to this unified approach, cardiac arrest patients receive life-saving hypothermia therapy the moment they enter an ambulance. And that treatment continues when they arrive at The Medical Center of Plano.
What is PFO?
Before birth, each of us had a small hole between the two upper chambers of our heart. This normal part of development allows oxygen-rich blood from the placenta to bypass the lungs and enter directly into the circulatory system.
For most people, the hole closes after birth. But it remains open in about 20% of people. And for some, this defect - called a patent foramen ovale (PFO) - can pose serious health risks.
Why is PFO dangerous?
Most people are unaware they have a PFO because it usually produces no symptoms and doesn't cause problems. Significant amounts of blood pass back and forth through the chambers without consequence. However, for some people, PFO can increase the risk for stroke.
Some people have a greater tendency to develop blood clots than others. This can be especially dangerous if they also have a PFO. If a clot should form in the upper-right chamber of the heart and transfer through the small hole to the left chamber, it could travel to the brain and cause a stroke.
What is the minimally invasive PFO closure procedure, and why is it beneficial?
In the past, correcting this hole required open-heart surgery. However, HeartLink offers a new, minimally invasive approach to PFO closure. Through a small cut in the groin, tiny instruments are threaded through a narrow catheter to the heart.
A small device, similar to an umbrella, is then deployed to seal the hole. The entire procedure usually takes less than an hour, and patients go home the next day.
This procedure is as effective as open-heart surgery but offers far less risk for complications and a much quicker recovery.
Who should be screened for PFO?
No one knows why the hole fails to close in some people. But because it is usually not harmful, most people do not need to be screened for PFO. However, if you have a history of blood clots, have had a stroke or mini-stroke, or are on blood-thinning medications, ask your doctor to be screened for PFO.
An echocardiogram can help detect the problem. Those with a PFO who have a history of these problems may be a candidate for the surgery. For those at risk, this minimally invasive PFO closure procedure can easily save lives.
What We Use
Cardiac Electrophysiology is a procedure in which wire electrodes are placed in the heart to measure electrical activity along the heart's conduction system and in heart muscle cells themselves. The Medical Center of Plano uses two ablation systems, the CARTO 3 System and the Freezor® Xtra CryoAblation System.
The CARTO 3 System is the next-generation 3D mapping system from Biosense Webster, providing electrophysiologists with three key capabilities:
- Advanced Catheter Location (ACL) Technology - Hybrid technology combines magnetic location technology and current-based visualization data to provide accurate tip and curve visualization.
- Fast Anatomical Mapping (FAM) - Leading-edge technology creates a map as fast as you can move the catheter allowing the rapid creation of high-resolution, CT-like maps with proven CARTO System accuracy.
- Connection of Choice - New Patient Interface Unit (PIU) provides a central connection point for catheters and equipment.
Freezor® Xtra Surgical Cardiac CryoAblation Device and CryoConsole are intended for minimally invasive cardiac surgery procedures. The Freezor® Xtra Surgical Cardiac CryoAblation Device freezes the target tissue and blocks electrical conduction.
In procedures where safety is vital - such as the treatment of arrhythmias near critical structures of the heart - CryoTherapy offers an alternative treatment option. CryoTherapy is associated with thermal reversibility and precision when working around the AV node.
A number of key features are associated with the use of CryoTherapy for ablating tissue responsible for arrhythmias, including:
- Uniquely stable handling (due to CryoAdhesion)
- Site testing by creating a reversible thermal effect
- Preservation of tissue integrity
- Reduced risk of thrombosis and stenosis
Nuclear cardiology tests use a tiny dose of radioactive dye (called a "tracer") to diagnose or treat heart disease. The tracer is injected into the blood stream and gives off energy in the form of gamma rays, enabling the technologist to take detailed pictures of the structure and function of your heart and nearby blood vessels.
Nuclear cardiology procedures are noninvasive and, with the exception of intravenous (IV) injections, are usually painless. In addition, the radioactive tracer exposes you to less radiation than an X-ray, which makes this exam very safe for most patients.
HeartLink performs a wide variety of advanced nuclear cardiology tests, including:
- Myocardial perfusion tests to determine whether you need heart surgery or are at high risk for heart attack.
- Resting myocardial perfusion scans, done when the patient is at rest, to pinpoint areas of the heart muscle that don't receive enough blood.
- Ventricular function studies to see how well your heart pumps.
- Peripheral vascular studies to see how well blood is flowing in areas away from your heart, including your arms, legs and neck.
- MUGA (multigated acquisition) scans to evaluate the pumping function of the ventricles (i.e., the amount of blood expelled with each heartbeat).
- PET (positron emission tomography) scans to learn about blood flow in your coronary arteries and detect coronary artery disease.
The Medical Center of Plano is accredited in nuclear cardiology by the American College of Radiology. This recognition demonstrates our continued commitment to quality patient care.
Coronary computed tomography angiography (CTA) is a heart imaging test that helps determine if fatty or calcium deposits have narrowed a patient's coronary arteries. Coronary CTA is a special type of x-ray examination. Patients undergoing a coronary CTA scan receive an iodine-containing contrast material as an intravenous (IV) injection to ensure the best possible images.
Vascular surgery manages diseases of the vascular system (arteries and veins) by medical therapy, catheter procedures and surgical reconstruction. The Medical Center of Plano utilizes a large selection of endovascular products to diagnose and treat blockages and other vascular conditions.
What We Use
- Diamondback™ 360° PAD System
- Protege® EverFlex® Self-Expanding Biliary Stent System
- OPTA® Pro PTA Dilatation Catheter
- S.M.A.R.T.® CONTROL® Iliac Stent System
- SAVVY® Long PTA Dilatation Catheters
- SLEEK® RX PTA Dilatation Catheters
- TEMPO® AQUA® Hydrophilic-Coated Diagnostic Catheter
- AQUATRACK® Hydrophilic Guidewires
- OUTBACK® LTD® Re-Entry Catheter
- FRONTRUNNER® XP CTO Catheter
A coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) is a surgery to restore blood flow to the heart muscle. This is done by using blood vessels from other parts of your body to make a new route for blood to flow around blocked coronary (heart) arteries.
This is surgery to replace a damaged heart valve. The heart's four valves, which open and tightly close, allow blood to flow from one chamber to another. The valves also allow blood to leave the heart through the large blood vessels. The valves make it so that blood can only flow forward when the heart squeezes. Usually, only one valve is replaced at a time. But, in some cases, one or more valves may need to be replaced.
Percutaneous & Endoscopic Intervention
Unlike traditional heart or vascular surgery, percutaneous intervention uses catheters and other devices to treat the condition through small punctures through the skin, allowing the doctors direct access to the vascular system without the need for large incisions.
Testing & Screening
Cardiac Testing: HeartLink offers a full range of cardiac testing, including echocardiograms, electrocardiograms, stress testing and metabolic exercise testing.
Vascular Testing: We provide diagnostic testing and screening for vascular disease, including ultrasound exams of the abdomen and neck.
Calcium Scoring: This test uses computed tomography (CT) to assess buildup of calcium in plaque on the walls of your heart's arteries. As a result, you'll learn your risk for heart attack while there's still time to prevent it.
Coronary Artery Disease Screening: Learn More
Clinics & Labs
Anticoagulation Clinic: Patients who take blood thinners can have their regular testing done at our outpatient clinic.
Cardiac Catheterization Lab: We apply cutting-edge technology in the aggressive diagnosis and treatment of heart disease.
Echocardiography Lab: HeartLink's skilled technicians perform echocardiograms using advanced equipment for the diagnosis of various heart conditions.
Electrophysiology Lab: We offer state-of-the-art procedures in the treatment of irregular heart rhythms.
Sleep Lab: This center provides advanced diagnosis and treatment of sleep apnea, which — left untreated — can cause hypertension, stroke or heart failure.
Outpatient Heart Failure Clinic
Heart failure afflicts nearly 5 million people in the United States, with 400,000 to 700,000 new cases diagnosed each year. In fact, heart failure is the only major cardiovascular disease that is increasing in incidence and prevalence.
Successful treatment of heart failure will: 1) improve symptoms and quality of life, and 2) reduce the likelihood of disease progression, thereby decreasing the need for hospitalization and the risk of death. The good news is that, with early evaluation and care, many heart failure patients are able to make changes to their lifestyle and live a healthy, active life.
Our Heart Failure Clinic at The Medical Center of Plano offers:
- Patient and family education for disease management, especially in cases where you may be facing more than one illness at the same time
- ACE (Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme) Inhibitor initiation/titration to target dose
- Beta-blocker initiation/titration to target dose
- Treatment of anemia associated with heart failure, including administration of EPO (Erythropoietin) and IV administration of iron sucrose
- Weekly outpatient assessment to determine need for additional IV diuretics or medication adjustment
- Urgent evaluations for change in clinical status to decrease emergency room visits
- Lab work to determine treatment needs
- Communication of status, including lab values
- Nutrition counseling
- 24-hour on-call support
The Heart Failure Clinic is located on the first floor of The Medical Center of Plano in the HeartLink center. For more information, call (972) 519-1357.
Heart Channel: Our televised informational programming helps patients understand their diagnosis and the procedures they need.
Seminars: HeartLink hosts frequent educational seminars and fairs open to the public.
Rehabilitation & Recovery
Pulmonary Rehabilitation: We help improve quality of life for patients struggling with pulmonary disease.
Mended Hearts Support Group: This group provides ongoing support to cardiac patients and their families during the recovery process. Topics range from which restaurants serve a heart-healthy menu to restoring relationships after heart disease. Learn More
Cardiac Rehabilitation Program
Established in 1979, HeartLink's Cardiac Rehabilitation program provides exercise therapy and education to patients recovering from a heart attack, heart surgery or interventional procedure in the cardiac catheterization lab. Ours was the first cardiac rehab program in Collin County, as well as the first to receive accreditation from the American Association of Cardiovascular & Pulmonary Rehabilitation.
We combine the elements of recovery, education, diet and lifestyle changes into one comprehensive program, helping you develop a healthier heart. Here's a closer look at the program:
- Your cardiologist or internist follows your progress.
- Registered nurses and exercise physiologists staff the department. They bring many years of cardiac rehab experience, as well as expertise in multiple exercise modalities, corporate wellness, acute care cardiology nursing and CCU (Critical Care Unit) nursing.
- All staff are certified in CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) and ACLS (Advanced Cardiopulmonary Life Support).
- Outpatient education is provided by registered nurses, exercise physiologists, dietitians and pharmacists.
- Inpatient programs are available.
Outpatient programs include:
- Monitored, Phase II fitness program: Cares for more than 300 new cardiac patients each year. Offers the widest range of class times of any cardiac rehab in the area. Choose from seven classes a day on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
- Unmonitored, Phase III fitness program: After completing the monitored program, start unmonitored exercise on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
- Maintenance and wellness program: About 120 people exercise in the cardiac rehab gym each day. On-site staff orient new gym members to the equipment, help them begin an exercise regimen and get them moving toward achieving their personal fitness goals. This program is open to spouses of cardiac patients, as well as any other Collin County resident 18 years of age or older. Many monitored patients continue this maintenance program after graduating
A study published by the American Heart Association in December 2009 proved the tremendous benefits of completing cardiac rehab. Heart attack and bypass patients who finished all 36 rehab sessions reduced their risk of dying in the next four years to 47 percent less than patients who completed just one session.
Stop by and visit us in the gym, located in Building 2, Suite 122. Hours of operation are 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. For more information, call (972) 519-1274.