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SERVICES PROVIDED AT THE VENTURA HEART INSTITUTE

The fundamental principles of patient assessment are the establishment of the correct diagnosis, identifying risk factors contributing to the diagnosis, and aggressively targeting therapies to maximize the impact on the underlying disease.

DIAGNOSTIC SERVICES:

ECHOCARDIOGRAPHY A non-invasive test using ultrasound waves similar to sonar to identify structural, functional and physiologic abnormalities. Measurements include heart chamber size, function, blood flow direction, heart valve abnormalities, pressures within the heart.

The Ventura Heart Institute was the first non-teaching hospital private practice facility in the Ventura, Los Angeles and Santa Barbara Counties to acquire 3 dimensional echocardiography and color volume capabilities.  This technology provides superior spatial resolution of complex heart conditions to further aid in the correct assessment of a patient’s anatomic and physiologic diagnoses.

Dr. Loh has been involved with 2 dimensional echocardiography since 1977, directed the echocardiography laboratory at Los Robles Regional Medical Center for 15 years and has published research in the use of echocardiography in the diagnosis of coronary artery disease.  The Ventura Heart Institute began using the added capabilities of 3 dimensional echocardiography in 2003.  In November 2006, we upgraded to the latest Philips iE33 state-of-the-art platform to further enhance our capabilities in 3-dimensional echocardiographic imaging and diagnostics.

Examples of typical images obtained by 2-dimensional and the new 3-dimensional echocardiography
technology are provided below.

Routine 2-dimensional image of 4 heart chambers


3-dimensional image of 4 heart chambers


2-dimensional images of heart valve and chamber

3-dimensional image of heart valve and chamber

 

STRESS TESTS

A non-invasive approach to evaluate the adequacy of coronary blood flow to the heart muscle itself.

A progressive treadmill exercise protocol appropriate for the patient is utilized with rigorous monitoring of the electrocardiogram, the heart rhythm, blood pressure and heart rate. These tests can be done with or without echocardiographic support. Echocardiography enhances the diagnostic accuracy to over 90%. 

HOLTER MONITOR

 

A non-invasive test that provides the ability to detect, characterize and properly diagnose underlying heart rhythm problems, especially in patients with palpitations or “skipped beats”.

For one day, a portable recording device similar in size to a Walkman™ is attached to the patient. The device is always “on” so that any irregularities in heart beat are detected whether or not the patient has any symptoms. A diary is provided so that any recognized symptoms can be noted and correlated with the recording.


EVENT MONITOR

A non-invasive test that allows the patient to record a heart rhythm strip by touching the chest with a Walkman™ sized device that has built-in electrodes that can record the underlying heart rhythm by just contacting the skin during the recording. The rhythm can then be played over a toll-free phone line to an interpreter who can notify the doctor about what was recorded.  A newer device allows for 3 week monitoring of not only patient triggered recordings if symptoms are noted, but device-triggered recordings that are wirelessly transmitted if significant irregularities in the heart rhythm are detected by the device even if the patient is unaware.

This test is most useful for patients who get palpitations or other symptoms, but not everyday.

AMBULATORY BLOOD
PRESSURE MONITOR

A non-invasive test to document blood pressures when away from the stresses of visiting the doctor's office.

This is very useful to establish the diagnosis of “white-coat” high blood pressure and save the patient from unnecessary treatments for high blood pressure. However, Dr. Loh takes this diagnosis very personally.

ELECTROCARDIOGRAM

 

 

IMPEDANCE CARDIOGRAPHY

The classic non-invasive test that records the electrical activity of the heart from 12 different directions on the chest wall. Characterization of heart rhythm origin, propagation and heart chamber sizes can be determined.

A novel non-invasive 5-10 minute test that can assess not only average blood pressure and heart rate, but also the mechanics of cardiac function such as the heart's efficiency at pumping blood, the resistance to that pumping action, and the heart's conditioning.  It is extremely useful if impaired heart function is suspected or being treated.




TREATMENTS:

Although the diagnostic services listed above are available to patients who are referred by their own physicians or who are even self-referred if allowed by their insurance provider, the treatment services of the Ventura Heart Institute are available only to those who become patients of either Dr. Loh or the Research Office (directed by Dr. Loh).

DISEASE MANAGEMENT

Comprehensive approach to the nutritional, lifestyle, and pharmacologic management and preventive strategies of patients with coronary artery disease, blood fat abnormalities, high blood pressure, heart failure, irregular heart rhythms.  It is focused on intervening at the most critical points that can most effectively alter the course of a disease to optimize the quality of care and patient outcome.


Research Office: The Ventura Heart Institute has participated in approximately 100 clinical research projects (Phase II, III and IV) since the Institute opened in 1987. These programs are always at no charge to the patient.

Dr. Loh has been a clinical investigator since 1974 as a Staff Associate and Science Project Officer at the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). He chaired the hospital's Institutional Review Board (IRB) for 18 years.The IRB over-sees clinical research at Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center in Thousand Oaks, CA.

Our current research projects are targeting patients with elevated cholesterol already on optimal treatment and adding a type of gene therapy (anti-sense) to further lower the LDL-cholesterol (bad cholesterol).  We are also evaluating a new class of medication (direct renin inhibitors) to validate its use in patients with significantly impaired heart function (heart failure) already on optimal therapy. If interested in learning more and possibly participating in these free programs, please contact us at research@venturaheart.com.

 
   
   

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