Success of a heart failure clinic

April 27, 2021

When Dr. Farid Jalinous, FACC, FSCAI, joined the team at Goshen Heart & Vascular Center, he was excited to start a clinic to help stabilize patients with heart failure and keep them out of the hospital. In September 2020, 10 patients were enrolled in the clinic. Today the clinic can take 15.
In addition to Dr. Jalinous, who is an interventional cardiologist, five other Colleagues provide support to the patients, including a Telehealth nurse who daily monitors participants’ blood pressure, heart rate, oxygen and weight.
“The concept is to see patients frequently, adjust their medications often and keep them out of the hospital,” said Dr. Jalinous. “So far, since we’ve started the clinic, we’ve had a total of over 20 participants – one as young as 30 years old – and zero readmissions. We’ve been 100 percent successful at preventing emergency visits, urgent diuretic infusion and death among our heart failure patients. It’s labor intensive, but it’s worth it because our patients are doing so well.”
“We are really proud of this work, which is a collaboration between Goshen Heart & Vascular Center, nursing care coordination, primary care providers and the Accountable Care Organization,” said Randy Christophel, Goshen Health President and CEO. “This effort shows it takes a village of experts to provide specialized care for those with heart failure. Identifying the disease early, reducing risk factors and slowing the disease’s progression – all of these improve the health of our patients and the quality of their lives.”
To participate in the program, patients have an ejection fraction of under 40 percent. Ejection fraction measures the amount of blood pumped out of the left ventricle with each contraction. A normal ejection fraction is between 50 and 70 percent. One patient in the clinic started the program with only 20 percent and graduated the program with 55 percent. Because blood pumping means oxygen finding its way through our bodies, poor pumping makes us fatigued.
“A lot of what we do is education,” said Jessica Smith, Registered Medical Assistant, who is the clinic’s heart failure coordinator. “We teach patients to read labels, monitor their intake of fluids and salt – emphasizing the connections between what they eat, their daily measurements and how they feel.”  
Other criteria for participation in the heart failure clinic are recent or frequent hospitalizations or trips to the emergency department; a new diagnosis of chronic heart failure; and barriers related to transportation, motivation, medication management or finances. The clinic has resources and interpretation available for patients whose first language is Spanish.
To find out more, call Goshen Heart & Vascular Center at (574) 533-7476, ext. 3932.