Panama City's Leader in Heart Care
At Ascension Sacred Heart Bay, we know the most important heart to you is yours. The Ascension Sacred Heart Bay Heart Institute is the only comprehensive heart and vascular program in the Panama City area. Our team leads Bay County in number of heart surgeries, and we are the only area hospital performing open-heart surgery.
Ascension Sacred Heart Bay is also the only area hospital offering electrophysiology studies (EP), which are used in diagnosing patients who suffer from a heart rhythm disorder (arrhythmia). Our Panama City campus includes the area’s only cardiovascular intensive care unit.
With five cardiac catheterization labs, Ascension Sacred Heart Bay offers angioplasty and stent placement to open clogged blood vessels in the heart. In addition, Ascension Sacred Heart Bay offers many specialized technologies to treat rhythm disorders, including new cryoablation technology to treat atrial fibrillation.
Our cardiac staff is trained to care for the unique needs of heart patients. Patients often recover in cardiopulmonary rehabilitation – our outpatient program that allows patients to begin an exercise program under monitored medical supervision and guidance.
From routine procedures to complex cases, have confidence knowing we can deliver the heart care that's right for you.
- Cardiovascular surgery office: 850-785-9559
- Cardiac cath lab scheduling: 850-747-6802
- Diagnostic imaging/EKG/Nuclear medicine: 850-747-6987
- Cardiopulmonary rehabilitation: 850-770-3404
- Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit (CVICU): 850-747-6053
- Cardiovascular nursing unit: 850-747-6086
Open Heart & Minimally Invasive Heart Surgery
Ascension Sacred Heart Bay is the only area hospital performing open-heart surgery, and our cardiovascular surgeons lead the region in number of heart surgeries performed annually, including bypass surgeries, ventricular reconstruction, and valve repair and replacement such as transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR).
Our team is trained in a variety of specialized procedures, such as beating-heart surgery, in which surgeons use a special piece of equipment to stabilize the section of the heart being operated on, keeping that section motionless during the procedure. To help speed recovery following bypass surgery, our team uses less invasive endoscopic methods for obtaining blood vessels.
Minimally invasive robotic heart procedures, including mitral valve repair and bypass, are also offered in select cases. In select cases, some heart procedures can be performed through smaller incisions without opening the chest. Our cardiothoracic surgeons have all received specialized training in the use of daVinci robotic technology for both heart and lung procedures. Compared to traditional surgery, the benefits of robotic surgery include:
- No need for a sternotomy (an 8-10 inch incision through the breastbone)
- Reduced risk of surgical complications
- Shorter hospital stay and faster recovery
- Higher long-term survival
- Less pain and scarring
- Less blood loss and need for blood transfusions
Cardiac Cath Lab
The Heart Institute at Ascension Sacred Heart Bay includes five cardiac catheterization labs that offer 24-hour cardiac stent placements, electrophysiology, emergency angioplasty for treatment of heart attack and several procedures for plaque build-up in the peripheral arteries (legs, renal and carotid). During a catheterization procedure, a small catheter is inserted into an artery through the arm or groin. A dye is then injected, and live-action x-ray images are taken, allowing the physician to see any blockages or other problems.
Ascension Sacred Heart Bay is the only area hospital offering electrophysiology studies (EP) as part of our comprehensive heart program. EP studies are used for patients who suffer from a heart rhythm disorder (arrhythmia). Technology at the Heart Institute allows the cardiologist to develop a three-dimensional map of your heart to pinpoint the source of the arrhythmia. In some cases, a cardiac ablation can be performed where the cardiologist lightly scars the heart tissue to stop the misfiring electrical current that is the cause of the rhythm problem. In addition, cardiologists also use the catheterization lab for placement of pacemakers and implanted defibrillators.
Angioplasty and Stenting
Angioplasty is a non-surgical procedure widens narrowed or blocked arteries. During angioplasty, a balloon-tipped catheter is inserted into a blocked artery. The balloon is then inflated, opening the blockage and restoring blood flow. Sometimes, the doctor will place a stent where the blockage was located to hold that portion of the blood vessel open.
Often, angioplasty is combined with stenting, or the placement of a small wire mesh tube, which helps prop the artery open and decreases its chance of narrowing again.
Interventional radiology is offered at Ascension Sacred Heart Bay on both an inpatient and outpatient basis.
Interventional radiology is a specialty in which doctors use minimally invasive procedures guided by imaging to treat a variety of conditions. Benefits of interventional radiology include smaller incisions, faster recovery time, and less risk, particularly for critically ill patients unable to tolerate surgery.
Angioplasty and atherectomy are two minimally invasive techniques that can be used to treat peripheral vascular disease. Carotid stenting is an alternative to surgery for high-risk patients in need of carotid disease treatment. DVT thrombolysis and thrombectomy quickly remove acute clots from the larger leg veins. This may relieve pain and swelling, as well as prevent valve damage from the clot.
Many patients who have coronary artery disease also have plaque build-up in other vessels of the body. In the cath lab, physicians at the Heart Institute can use this same technology for widening the clogged vessels that lead to the legs and in the renal arteries that lead to the kidneys. In the carotid arteries that lead to the brain, plaque build-up is a major risk factor for stroke. In this delicate area, a special stent is used to open up this vessel that has embolic protection – a small basket-like device that is downstream from the stent to catch any debris from the procedure so that it does not travel up the blood stream and into the brain.
Structural Heart Program
In the cardiac catheterization lab at Ascension Sacred Heart Bay, interventional cardiologists treat such structural heart conditions as aortic valve stenosis, atrial septal defect, cardiomyopathy, Marfan syndrome and myocarditis.
Structural heart disease is a problem with the tissues or valves of the heart. Procedures performed at Ascension Sacred Heart Bay include transoratic valve repair (TAVR), Watchman, cryoablation and A-fib ablation.
Cardiac Intensive Care
Ascension Sacred Heart Bay is home to the area’s only cardiovascular intensive care unit (CVICU), a department dedicated to caring for the medical and surgical needs of critically ill heart patients. Our critical care nurses are specially trained in caring for patients with acute cardiac episodes, as well as patients undergoing cardiac, thoracic or vascular surgery.
Cardiovascular Nursing Floor
The cardiovascular nursing unit of the Heart Institute provides 24/7 comprehensive nursing care to heart patients recovering from surgery, heart attack or other heart and vascular conditions. The unit offers continuous heart monitoring during patients’ recovery period. Specially trained heart nurses, along with dedicated support staff, are readily available to assist the patient and family with their physical and emotional needs.
Cardiopulmonary rehabilitation is the process by which people with heart or lung conditions are restored to and able to maintain optimal health – physically, mentally and emotionally.
Our program was designed for two different populations, each with very unique needs – cardiac (or heart) patients and pulmonary (or lung) patients. A doctor’s referral is required for treatment.
Cardiac patients include (but are not limited to) patients who have been diagnosed with or have received the following procedures within the past 12 months:
- Stable angina (documented)
- Myocardial infarction
- Coronary artery bypass grafting
- Heart valve repair/replacement
- Percutaneous coronary intervention (angioplasty/stent placement)
- Heart transplant
Pulmonary patients include (but are not limited to) patients who have a diagnosis of:
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
- Pulmonary fibrosis
- Chronic respiratory conditions
- Post-lung surgery
In order to tailor a rehabilitation program for you, help set goals, assess your needs and gauge any limitations, a medical evaluation is performed before starting therapy. The length and frequency of treatment is assessed and determined by individual needs, diagnosis and progress. Please note that some insurers define or restrict the length of a rehabilitation program.
For information or to schedule an appointment with cardiopulmonary rehabilitation, please call 850-770-3404.