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Cardiology

At Liberty Hospital, we have everything you need for expert heart care close to home. Your cardiologist will manage every step of your care. Liberty Cardiovascular Specialists provide comprehensive cardiac care, including on-site diagnostics in the Liberty Hospital-accredited echocardiography, nuclear medicine and vascular labs.

Liberty Cardiovascular Specialists

Our team includes invasive, interventional and general cardiologists. Services include:

  • Bi-ventricular implantable cardiac defibrillators.
  • Coronary angioplasty.
  • Carotid duplex Doppler.
  • Diagnostic cardiac catheterization.
  • Echocardiography.
  • Exercise and pharmacological stress echocardiography.
  • General cardiology.
  • Implantable cardiac defibrillators.
  • Nuclear cardiology testing, including prone position examinations.
  • Optical coherence tomography (near-infrared light), used to visualize the vessel walls of the coronary arteries.
  • Pacemaker implantation.
  • Peripheral angioplasty.
  • Peripheral arterial, renal and venous studies.
  • Preventive cardiology.
  • Radial artery approach to catheterization and intervention.
  • Stent placement.
  • Tilt table testing.
  • Transcranial Doppler.
  • Transesophageal echocardiography.

Meet our newest cardiologist

NEW: Electrophysiologist now available

Ravi K. Yarlagadda, MD, FACC, FHRS, specializes in heart rhythm disorders and electrophysiology – tests of the heart’s electrical system. He now is available for appointments through Liberty Cardiovascular Specialists. In partnership with Olathe Health, Dr. Yarlagadda now provides services closer to home for cardiac patients in the Northland.

A practicing physician for 25 years, Dr. Yarlagadda is a Fellow of the American College of Cardiology. He is board certified in cardiac electrophysiology, cardiovascular disease, critical care medicine and internal medicine. For more information, call Liberty Cardiovascular Specialists at 816.407.5430. A physician’s order is needed to schedule an appointment. See full press release.

Cardiac testing

Calcium score screening

A calcium score screening is a CT scan of the heart that detects calcium build-up in the coronary arteries. It is available for $60, and no insurance is needed. Call 816.792.7016 to schedule a screening.

What is a calcium scoring scan?

A calcium scoring scan is a form of the familiar computed tomography (CT) scan, which captures cross-sectional images of the heart’s arteries.

What does the screening look for?

This unique CT technology can detect calcium deposits in the coronary arteries. Calcium buildup can narrow your arteries and increase your risk of heart disease.

What are the benefits of getting screened?

  • Less expense: Participating in this screening could reduce the need for other, more expensive and invasive tests.
  • Early diagnosis: A calcium scoring scan may show that you are at a higher risk of having a heart attack or other problems before you have any obvious symptoms of heart disease.
  • Prevention: If your scan shows a small amount of calcium, you can work with a cardiologist to determine the best heart disease prevention plan for you.

What happens if calcium is found?

The calcium scoring scan will provide you with a number (or score) that relates to the amount of calcium deposits seen in your heart’s arteries. The higher the score, the more extensive the accumulation of plaque in your arteries.

Calcium score guide

  • 0: The scan is not picking up any calcium deposits at this time.
  • 1-100: Speak to your primary-care physician about heart disease prevention.
  • 100-499: Speak to a cardiologist about heart disease prevention and any additional treatment needed.
  • 500 or higher: You have significant calcium build-up and should seek care from a cardiologist as soon as possible.

If my screening was less than 100, do I still need to worry about my heart?

If you are considered high risk, then yes. Those in a high-risk group include:

  • Family history of coronary artery disease.
  • Over 40 years of age.
  • Current or former smokers.
  • History of high cholesterol, diabetes or high blood pressure.
  • Overweight.
  • Inactive lifestyle.

Who should not receive this exam?

This exam is not recommended for patients who fit the following criteria:

  • Pregnant.
  • Known coronary artery disease (have had a heart attack, angioplasty/stent or bypass surgery).
  • Metallic objects in the heart (mechanical heart valves, pacemaker wires, stents, etc.).
  • Claustrophobic.

Diagnostic testing

Liberty Hospital's diagnostic testing services are available 24/7. Diagnostic tests and procedures available include:

  • Echocardiograms: These are used to detect abnormalities of the chambers and heart valves, murmurs, wall motion of the ventricle and possibly fluid surrounding the heart.
  • Stress echoes: A stress echocardiogram is usually done to rule out coronary artery disease.
  • Dobutamine stress echo: This test is used to evaluate coronary artery disease in patients who are unable to exercise on a treadmill.
  • Transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE): This test is generally ordered for patients with prosthetic valves, if there is a question of the valves' function, or to rule out stroke. In some patients with unexplained fevers, this test would be ordered to visualize the heart valves.
  • Nuclear stress testing: This test helps determine how the heart works during physical activity. As your body works during any physical exertion, it requires more oxygen and energy. To meet this demand, the heart beats faster and harder. The stress test shows if your heart receives enough blood from its own arteries to work harder, safely.
  • EKGs: This test is used as a screening tool in diagnosing cardiac electrical abnormalities, such as a heart attack. An EKG records the electrical activity of the heart over time.
  • Holter monitors: This is a small portable device, used for continuously monitoring the electrical activity of the heart for 24 hours or more. Its extended recording period is sometimes useful for observing occasional cardiac arrhythmias that would be difficult to identify in a shorter period of time. Liberty Hospital offers 24-hour and 48-hour monitors.
Liberty Hospital's Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory is one of the area's quickest at assessing and treating individuals experiencing heart attack symptoms. Door-to-balloon time is the amount of time lapsed from when a patient enters the hospital's doors to the re-establishment of blood flow to the heart using primary coronary intervention. The American Heart Association's recommended door-to-balloon time is 90 minutes or less. For patients experiencing a life-threatening type of heart attack called an ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI), those precious minutes could literally mean the difference between life and death.

Cath labs

Our two state-of-the-art cath labs are:

  • Equipped with flat-plane, high-resolution digital imaging systems.
  • Interventional cardiologists experienced at performing radial artery angioplasty.

This is a relatively new approach to cardiac cath and angioplasty. The physician uses the patient's radial artery in the wrist to insert the catheter and advance it to the heart, versus the more traditional approach using the femoral artery in the groin. Further validation of the hospital's performance came when it was named one of only 164 hospitals nationwide to receive the American College of Cardiology Foundation's NCDR ACTION Registry–GWTG Platinum Performance Achievement Award.

Other advanced procedures

Our cardiology services department not only performs catheterizations and coronary interventions in the labs, but they also implant pacemakers and automatic implantable cardiac defibrillators. These patients are then followed in the hospital's pacemaker clinic.

Liberty Cardiothoracic Surgeons

Liberty Cardiothoracic Surgeons is a practice of board-certified cardiothoracic surgeons and physician assistants. The doctors provide comprehensive cardiothoracic care, including:

  • Open heart surgery
  • Surgical treatment for coronary artery disease
  • Valve disorders
  • Aneurysm repairs
  • Vascular disease
  • Lung cancer
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Barrett's reflux
  • Robotic lung surgery
  • Abdominal, thoracic and aortic aneurysm repairs using stent grafts.
  • Adult congenital cardiac surgery.
  • Aortic, abdominal and thoracic aneurysm surgeries.
  • Atrial fibrillation surgery.
  • Complex cardiac valve repair/replacement.
  • Complex aortic arch and thoracic aorta resection using normothermic perfusion.
  • Complex re-operative cardiac reconstructive surgery.
  • Endovascular repair for peripheral artery disease.
  • Hypothermic circulatory arrest.
  • Laparoscopic hiatal hernia repairs.
  • Minimally invasive cardiac and thoracic surgeries.
  • Minimally invasive esophagectomy.
  • Minimally invasive surgical removal of airway tumors, chest malignancies, chest wall tumors, esophageal cancer, lung metastasis, mesothelioma and other thoracic tumors.
  • Minimally invasive valve surgery.
  • Mitral valve repair Off-pump coronary artery bypass surgery.
  • Radiofrequency ablation.
  • Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery.

Robotic lung surgery

Liberty Hospital offers a trained surgical team for robotic lung surgery using the da Vinci Surgical System.

Benefits of this minimally invasive surgery include:

  • Reduced chest tube duration.
  • Lower risk of complications and wound infections.
  • Less blood loss.
  • Less pain.
  • Shorter hospital stay.

Robotic patients leave the hospital sooner with less pain and return to work or chemotherapy sessions sooner as compared to open-surgery patients. The outcomes are better than standard open procedures, and there is much less trauma to the body. Robotic surgery is associated with a 70-percent lower risk of overall post-op complications.

Cardiac rehab

  • regain strength prevent your condition from worsening
  • reduce your risk of future heart problems
  • improve your overall health and quality of life

Who qualifies for cardiac rehabilitation?

3 Phases of Cardiac Rehab

Inpatient

Patients are introduced to the cardiac rehabilitation program during the hospital stay. Some patients will have supervised exercise (walking in the hallways) with the physical therapy staff to begin recovery. The patient will be introduced to the cardiac rehab program and have education provided on the risk factors for coronary artery disease, a heart healthy diet, and how to start a low level activity/exercise program. Patients receive visits prior to discharge by an inter-disciplinary team consisting of a cardiologist, cardiac rehab nurses and staff, physical and occupation therapists, respiratory therapists, nutritionists and social workers.

Acute outpatient rehab

  • Cardiac Rehab starts shortly after the patient is discharged from the hospital.
  • The goal is to start within 2 weeks of returning home.
  • The program meets three times a week for 12 weeks.
  • Participants are closely monitored with EKG monitoring units while they exercise during the sessions.
  • Participants and families in the program are provided education on how to identify risk factors for coronary artery disease, how to modify behavior, learn a heart healthy lifestyle and diet, and learn how to safely exercise at a moderate level.
  • Patients will be taught how to safely exercise with weight training, treadmills, a variety of bicycles, rowing machines and elliptical trainers.
  • The Cardiac Rehab team works with the patient to make sure that the program moves and advances at a comfortable, safe pace.
  • Each program is individualized to the participant, working together with the staff to develop the plan.
  • After staff has determined the patient has a good understanding of how he/she's body feels during moderate level of exercise, and that there have been no significant EKG changes with the patient, the patient may no longer be required to wear the EKG monitor.
  • Phase 2 is a covered plan under Medicare and most insurance plans. Staff will determine the participant's insurance coverage prior to enrollment into the program.

Outpatient maintenance

Cardiac Rehab may continue with the individualized moderate level exercise program in the Cardiac Rehab gym. The participant has the option to join this program after successfully completing an Acute Outpatient Cardiac Rehab. The maintenance program requires a physician's order to enroll into the program. Maintenance programs are not covered by insurance and is paid for by the patient.