On November 6, 2006, IRMC opened its doors filling a critical community need for cardiac care. Welsh Heart Center brought exceptional, comprehensive care right here to Vero Beach—so that patients no longer had to risk travel to distant hospitals. As a Duke Health affiliate in heart, Welsh Heart Center at Indian River Medical Center has evolved into a leader in advanced cardiac care—with more than 18,000 cardiac surgeries, heart catheterizations and stent procedures performed.
Indian River Medical Center is also home to one of the best cardiovascular teams of physicians, nurses, technologists and other support staff that you will find anywhere. Repeatedly, the Society for Thoracic Surgeons has listed IRMC a 3 out of a 3-star rate program.
Welsh Heart Center continues to advance our level of care with a state-of-the-art cardiac electrophysiology (EP) lab opened in 2016 and transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) opening in 2017.
Affiliation With Duke Health
The first of its kind in Florida, our affiliation with Duke Health, a world leader in cardiac care, gives patients the opportunity for improved medical outcomes and enhanced quality of life. The Duke affiliation provides IRMC’s staff with specialized training and consultation as well as access to Duke’s cardiovascular team and their decades of experience in research, treatment, and education. Duke consistently ranks among the top-10 heart centers in the nation according to U.S. News & World Report.
Our technologically advanced cardiac cath lab and two spacious 1,000 sq. ft. surgical suites make Welsh Heart Center at Indian River Medical Center one of the most comprehensive cardiovascular programs in the country. World-class clinical expertise is combined with extraordinary technology to provide award-winning care to patients in need. Cardiac services include:
- Coronary artery bypass graft (CABG)
- Pump and off-pump coronary revascularization
- Heart valve replacement and repair
- Minimally invasive valve surgery
- Aortic aneurysms/dissection in the thoracic and thoracic abdominal aorta with open graft replacement and percutaneous endovascular techniques
- Pacemaker (dual chamber and single chamber)
- Implantable cardioverter defibrillator
- Bi-ventricular implantable cardioverter defibrillator
- Pacemaker battery change
- Coronary artery stents
- Stress test
- CT angiography (64-slice CT)
- Diagnostic coronary cardiac catheterization
The Welsh Heart Center at Indian River Medical Center provides 24-hour cardiovascular coverage. To download a copy of our Postoperative Guide for Cardiovascular & Thoracic Surgery, click here.
Twice the size of standard operating rooms, two new surgical suites house the latest cardiovascular and endovascular surgical equipment and advanced technology. Each is 1,000 sq. ft.
Cardiac Catheterization Labs
Two cardiac catheterization labs provide a full array of diagnostic and interventional cardiology procedures including angioplasty, coronary stenting and atherectomies. A spacious eight-bed recovery area, staffed by specially trained registered nurses, is adjacent to the cardiac cath labs.
Cardiovascular Critical Care Unit
Patients go directly to the Cardiovascular Critical Care Unit following heart surgery. Each patient in the Cardiovascular CCU has one or two nurses solely dedicated to his or her care after surgery.
The Cardiovascular CCU is part of the hospital’s Critical Care Unit. IRMC is proud to be recognized as a Beacon Center for Critical Care Excellence. Only 56 of the nation’s 10,000 Critical Care Units have been honored with this prestigious award from the American Association of Critical Care Nurses. Critical Care nurses and physicians and a team of pharmacists, dietitians, respiratory therapists, social workers and others collaborate to provide the best care for each individual patient with daily ‘multidisciplinary’ rounds, a service usually found only in academic medical centers.
Cardiovascular Step Down Unit
IRMC features a unique ‘Step Down Unit’ where heart patients stay following interventional procedures or after time in the Critical Care Unit.
The Step Down Unit is equipped with high technology and an expert staff to continue close monitoring heart patients. Our nurse to patient ratio is four patients to one nurse to assure the special care of each patient. As is true throughout IRMC, all patient rooms are private suites.
Patients in the rehabilitation programs at IRMC are taught to achieve an optimal level of independence and physical capabilities, which in turn improves their quality of life.
All activities are monitored by a member of the rehabilitation team who provides progress reports to the patient’s primary physician.
Participants must be referred by their personal local physician to enroll in either the Cardiac or Pulmonary Rehabilitation program.
The EKG-monitored physical conditioning program for heart patients usually begins a few weeks following hospital discharge from heart surgery.
Because IRMC’s Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehabilitation department is part of the hospital, it provides a lower cost program in a safe environment where hospital resources are readily available. Many health insurance plans will reimburse patients for services. Medicare generally covers 80 percent of the cost.
Patients who experience some type of abnormal heart rhythm may be referred for an Electrophysiology study. This test records the electrical activity and electrical pathways of the heart and is used to determine the cause and best treatment for the condition. During the study, your physician will safely reproduce your particular heart rhythm disturbance so the most appropriate treatment can be determined. Treatment might include medication or a procedure/device to normalize your heart rhythm. An EP study may also be used to monitor the success of treatment using certain implantable devices.
Atrial Fibrillation (AF) is the most common cardiac arrhythmia and is a risk factor for and cause of stroke. During AF, the atria contracts so rapidly and irregularly that the heart can’t beat effectively and blood is not pumped completely out of the atria. Blood that pools in the atria may clot, and if it moves to an artery in the brain, stroke can occur. People with AF may experience heart palpitations, tightness in the chest, shortness of breath, dizziness, lightheadedness, fatigue, fainting and anxiousness. But it is possible for people with AF to have no symptoms or intermittent symptoms.
Patients at IRMC needing an EP study for AF or some other cardiac issue benefit from MediGuide Technology. This three dimensional (3-D) visualization system is the first and only technology that potentially reduces the duration of radiation exposure providing physicians with more precise navigation of catheters and other tools during complex EP procedures.
Similar to GPS technology that drivers use to determine the location of their vehicle on a map, the MediGuide Technology uses low power electromagnetic signals to locate a miniature sensor attached to the tip of the catheter. The precise location and orientation of the catheter is tracked inside the heart and its image is displayed on monitors in the EP lab for the physician to review.
Heart Failure Management Clinic
While there is not yet a cure for heart failure—when the heart has difficulty pumping enough blood to meet the body’s needs—managing the symptoms of this common problem, affecting more than 5.8 million Americans, is possible. Many people can enjoy an active lifestyle with gusto, once educated about the disease and how it can affect diet, fluid intake, sleep and routine activity.
Led by Pat Draper, ARNP, the Heart Failure Management Clinic opened in 2012. The clinic oversees patient education concerning disease process, medications and diet.
Patients receive a personalized plan of care that includes education, coping skills, help with lifestyle issues such as smoking cessation, assistance in medication compliance—such as filling pillboxes and ensuring medication refills—and dietary consultations, as needed. Since weight gain is a key indicator of fluid retention, much attention is given to keeping a record of weight and contacting the clinic if there is a weight gain of two or more pounds overnight or five pounds over a week’s time.
Physician referral is requested. Clinic hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Indian River Medical Center, Monday through Friday. Clinic hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at our Sebastian location on the last Friday of the month. The nurse practitioner is available during clinic hours. After 5 p.m., please call your cardiologist’s office for serious clinical issues that require urgent attention. For a brochure or more information, call the Heart Failure Management Clinic at (772) 563-4415.
Heart Valve Clinic
Over the past 10 years, emerging technology has revolutionized cardiac surgery. Now there is a less invasive procedure to replace your Aortic Valve. TAVR Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) allows the physicians to replace your aortic valve without opening the chest. The Welsh Heart Center at Indian River Medical Center now offers this exciting new procedure. Our team of cardiothoracic surgeons, cardiologists and specially-trained staff can diagnose and treat the most complex valve problems.
TAVR is FDA approved for those with symptomatic, critical aortic stenosis, who are considered non-operable, high or intermediate risk. Aortic stenosis is when the aortic valve narrows, restricting blood flow to the entire body. Because aortic valve stenosis weakens the heart muscle, in the advanced stages, it can lead to heart failure. Aortic valve replacement is the only treatment for this condition.
Symptoms may include:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Feeling faint
- Heart palpitations/murmur
Severe aortic stenosis is: 1) AVA<1.0 cm2 2) Mean AV gradient >40 mmHg 3) Peak AVA velocity >4m/sec
For more information call the Valve Clinic at 772-770-6857.