Each year, over 1.5 million people suffer from heart attacks and strokes and nearly 85 million people in the U.S. will experience some form of cardiovascular disease. The symptoms of a heart attack differ from person to person. If you experience any of the following, it’s imperative to call 911 immediately. With the heart, seconds count; it’s critical not to hesitate when seeking medical attention.
• Uncomfortable pressure, heaviness
• Squeezing, tightness
• Discomfort lasts more than two minutes (may come and go)
Upper Body Discomfort
• One or both arms
• Back, neck or jaw
• Stomach or abdomen
• Shortness of breath
• Cold sweat
• Nausea, vomiting
• Extreme weakness/fatigue
Located on the campus of Bayfront Health Port Charlotte, Southwest Florida Heart Center is at the top of their industry with the latest advancements in monitoring, diagnosis, treatment and follow-up care. Southwest Florida Heart Center is the only heart center in Charlotte County to feature all-private patient rooms, as well as:
• 10‐bed cardiovascular intensive care unit
• 9-bed cardiac step-down unit
• 16-bed post interventional cardiac unit
• 8-bed pre/post interventional cardiac holding unit
• 2 open-heart surgery suites
• 4 cath labs including 1 designated electrophysiology lab
This year, Southwest Florida Heart Center celebrates the five-year anniversary of opening their state-of-
the-art 50,000 sq. ft. facility. The Heart Tower opened in 2012, and nostalgically, in 1987, they were the first open-heart procedure done in the area.
We spoke with Marie Peleck, RN, MBA, and Director of Cardiovascular Business Development.
Q: What sets Southwest Florida Heart Center apart from other facilities?
A: Experience. From the staff in the cardiovascular operating room, to anesthesia, to Cardiac ICU and Cardiac Step down, Perfusion and providers, it is reassuring to know that many of those here have been here since the start of the program. Our “human” capital is our best asset.
Q: What are common symptoms of heart complications and indicators that patients tend to overlook?
A: Chest discomfort, pressure, burning, fatigue, shortness of breath—In my 20 years of cardiac and emergency room nursing, no two people present the exact same way, and in women, the signs many times are vague.
Q: What are critical developments in detecting and treating heart disorders that Southwest Florida Heart Center utilizes?
A: Recent advances in cardiology technology can be overwhelming, in both detection and treatment. High tech 3-D mapping and imaging of the electrical pathways of the heart, ultrasound inside the coronary artery to measure flow, as well as instead of using sound waves like ultrasound, we have the ability to use infrared light to differentiate substances inside the vessel to determine treatment options.
Q: If you and your team could change the way people perceive or ignore their hearts health, what would it be?
A: To be involved in your healthcare, ask questions. Evaluate your lifestyle and discuss with your physician your risks and any health changes. It’s critical for patients to know the signs of a heart attack and not to be afraid to call 911 rather than driving yourself in and risking your health or others safety.
911 can start medical attention and interventions on arrival and notify the hospital to be preparing for your arrival saving even more time and heart muscle.
Q: Proper diagnosis and treatment are what saves lives, but Southwest Florida Heart Center goes a few steps further. Please tell me more about the Mended Hearts and Cardiac Nurse Navigator programs, and how they benefit individuals diagnosed with heart conditions?
A: Mended Hearts is a national peer-to-peer network of former heart patients who volunteer their time and talents to help our heart patients by listening and sharing their experience. As clinicians, we can tell patients what to expect from a clinical standpoint, but the mended hearts volunteers are able to tell it from personal experience.
The Cardiac Nurse Navigator program is a personalized RN support system to assist and guide patients and their families from the time of diagnosis, through pre-op, during the surgery, during their stay, as well as following up after discharge. It is that go-to person who coordinates your care.
Bayfront Health’s Exclusive Heart Center
Along with the most advanced technology and experience, the Southwest Florida Heart Center’s cardiac care team provides complete heart care services from helping their patients create a heart-healthy lifestyle, to performing lifesaving procedures in emergency situations.
To find out more, please call 941-766-4655, or visit their website at bayfrontcharlotte.com
Southwest Florida Heart Center
Bayfront Health Port Charlotte
2500 Harbor Blvd | Port Charlotte, FL 33952