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St. Luke's, PCI team up for advanced cardiac care

Heart and Vascular Institute focuses on complicated heart conditions

CEDAR RAPIDS — Specialists from two of Cedar Rapids’ major health care providers are partnering to provide better cardiac care, officials said Monday.

The Heart and Vascular Institute is made up of physicians from UnityPoint Health-Cedar Rapids — St. Luke’s Hospital and UnityPoint Clinic Cardiology — and cardiovascular surgeons from Physicians’ Clinic of Iowa.

“St. Luke’s has a long history dating back to the 1970s as being the heart hospital in the community,” said Dr. Todd Langager, the medical director of UnityPoint Health-Cedar Rapids Heart and Vascular Institute.

This new organization does not require any certification or accreditation, Langager said, nor will it be housed in its own building. But the team of providers — 16 cardiologists and four cardiac surgeons — will work together to treat complicated heart conditions and keep patients in town rather than traveling to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., or even to the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics, he said.

The goal of the institute is to offer a better patient experience, better coordinated care, reduced costs, clinical trials and research and new technology to aid in cardiovascular care.

Langager said the group has worked for four to five years to get the Heart and Vascular Institute running, with physicians and surgeons receiving additional training and education.

The team has a wide range of specialties, including cardiac and vascular surgery, cardiovascular imaging, advanced heart failure treatment, heart disease prevention and coronary and vascular therapeutics.

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UnityPoint Health-Cedar Rapids has been named a top cardiovascular hospital by Truven Health six times in the last 10 years and made the Becker’s Hospital Review list of “100 Hospitals With Great Heart Programs,” according to the hospital. In 2013, it received full accreditation as a Chest Pain Center with PCI from the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care.

This advanced cardiac care already is benefiting patients, the hospital said, including Sherrie Dingle, 71, who lives in Anamosa.

After having a heart attack, Dingle said her doctors at St. Luke’s put new stents in her heart. The stents, which opened blockages in her arteries, use support from a medical device called an Impella 2.5.

This device is used for high-risk patients, St. Luke’s officials said in a news release, adding the pump received Food and Drug Administration approval only last month.

Dingle said she is recovering well and is feeling better each day.

“My heart is pumping pretty good now,” she said. “I feel like I’m very blessed.”

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