WXXI AM News

Heart disease center aims to keep patients out of hospital

Nov 15, 2019

Rochester Regional Health is trying to keep patients with heart failure out of the hospital. 

The health care provider has opened a new center to treat some types of heart failure in an outpatient setting.

Scott Feitell, who directs heart failure treatments at Rochester Regional, said there are good reasons for treating many types of heart failure outside of a hospital.

"Patients hate being in the hospital. They're trapped in beds; they're getting poked and prodded with needles. It's just an unpleasant experience for a lot of people," Feitell said.

Rich Walton visits Rochester Regional Health's new heart disease center for checkups after heart surgery earlier this year.
Credit Brett Dahlberg / WXXI News

Outpatient treatments also keep costs down for both health care providers and patients, Feitell said.

Some types of heart failure -- think heart attack -- are urgent and require hospitalization, Feitell said, but others are more chronic and can be treated with minor adjustments or medications.

Rick Walton has experienced both types.

Walton had heart surgery earlier this year, and he now comes to the new center for checkups. He said the facility is a big improvement.

In the old offices, Walton said, he couldn't get himself onto the exam table for his post-surgery appointments. The surgery left him too weak.

"The first time I came in, I needed three people to help me get on the table," Walton said.

"Now you can pretty much just sit down, like on a chair, and they can raise you up to whatever level you need."

Rochester Regional said the center is increasingly important because America's aging population has a growing number of heart disease cases.