Advanced Heart Failure Clinic Opens at East Ohio Outpatient Center

Monday, August 4, 2014

ST. CLAIRSVILLE, Ohio – Patients with advanced heart failure no longer need to travel outside the Ohio Valley to see specialists from a top-ranked cardiology center.

The Ohio State University Advanced Heart Failure Clinic, located at the East Ohio Outpatient Center in the St. Clairsville Reisbeck's Plaza, is the first of its kind locally and includes physicians certified in advanced heart failure and transplants. These specialists treat local patients in various heart failure stages.

Dr. Gerrie Haas, who is a professor of clinical medicine at The Ohio State University Medical Center, the section director of heart failure and transplant, as well as medical director of heart failure, will begin seeing patients July 1. Haas specializes in cardiovascular medicine, cardiomyopathies, cardiovascular diseases, heart failure, and heart transplantation.

Dr. William Abraham will also travel from Columbus to treat patients at the Advanced Heart Failure Clinic in St. Clairsville. Abraham is director of the division of cardiovascular medicine and a professor of internal medicine, physiology and cell biology at The Ohio State University Medical Center. He specializes in cardiovascular medicine, cardiac resynchronization therapy, cardiovascular diseases, heart failure, heart transplantation, and heart-assist devices.

Both physicians are from Ohio State’s Richard M. Ross Heart Hospital which was recognized in the 2013 survey by U.S. News & World Report as a leader in cardiology and heart surgery, ranking 36th out of nearly 5,000 hospitals around the country. Both specialists will help patients manage the symptoms of heart failure and work with patients' local physicians and laboratory testing facilities for follow-up care.

In June, Ohio State's Wexner Medical Center announced a strategic affiliation with Ohio Valley Health Services and Education Corporation, the parent company of OVMC and East Ohio Regional Hospital. The affiliation is designed to improve the availability, quality, and cost-effectiveness of healthcare services, research, and medical education in the Ohio Valley region. The advanced heart care clinic is the first example of close-to-home care options being established for local residents.

“Introducing the OSU Advanced Heart Failure Clinic is just one more way we are moving health care forward in the Ohio Valley,” said Bernie Albertini, chief administrative officer for East Ohio Regional Hospital. “The physicians have expertise in treating heart failure that gives patients who have found limited options elsewhere an opportunity for improved quality of life ”

Heart failure is a serious medical condition that affects 5.1 million people in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and is the leading cause of hospitalization in patients over age 65. It is a condition in which the heart cannot pump enough blood to meet the body's needs. In some cases, the heart cannot fill with enough blood. In other cases, the heart can't pump blood to the rest of the body with enough force. Some people have both problems. The condition results in lower oxygen and nourishment to the body to allow it to work properly. The leading cause of heart failure are heart diseases, such as coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes.

Previously, patients have to travel to long distances for heart failure related therapies and services. For one local woman, traveling outside the Ohio Valley to receive care at a heart failure clinic was stressful for her daily life. Sharon Malatinsky of Wheeling has been traveling to Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, several times a year since 2009 when she was diagnosed with heart failure. While visiting the heart failure clinic at OSU, Malatinsky received a comprehensive plan that included medication and heart pacers before she underwent a heart transplant in 2011.

“If I could have seen the physician here for routine appointments, as well as undergone my extensive amount of testing locally, my life would have been dramatically different,” said Malatinsky. “I had a wonderful experience at OSU and sing their praises today, but I am glad other patients will not have to spend as many hours driving to and from Columbus as I had to do. The convenience of having a center locally would've kept me home a lot more.”

The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center is one of the largest and most diverse academic medical centers in the country, and the only academic medical center in central Ohio. The only central Ohio hospital listed in “America's Best Hospitals” ranking by U.S. News & World Report, Ohio State's Wexner Medical Center includes: a top-30 College of Medicine; five hospitals; a unified physician practice; an extensive network of primary and specialty care practices; more than a dozen research centers and institutes, and 20 core laboratories.

Ohio Valley Medical Center, located in Wheeling West Virginia, and East Ohio Regional Hospital, located in Martins Ferry Ohio, are a 340-bed combined organization with over 1,600 employees providing the area’s only comprehensive orthopedic centers of excellence, behavioral and mental health services and board certified emergency services on both sides of the Ohio River.