NORFOLK, VA (July 2014) - Sentara Heart® is leading a newly-formed national alliance to improve the treatment of atrial fibrillation (Afib). Sentara Heart® is a founding member of the National Alliance of Integrated AFIB Centers (NAIAC). NAIAC, comprised of five of the nation’s top heart programs, is focused on comprehensive, multidisciplinary Afib care. NAIAC members are collaborating across facilities and specialties, combining resources, research and technologies.
“NAIAC is changing how we treat Afib,” said Jonathan Philpott, MD, NAIAC president and a cardiothoracic surgeon at Sentara Heart Hospital in Norfolk, Va. “With combined resources and shared expertise, we are helping Afib patients attain a much higher quality of life.”
Afib, a type of irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia), is a serious issue affecting nearly 5.1 million people in the U.S. The risk of developing Afib increases with age, so that figure could rise to 15.9 million sufferers by 2050.
The goal of NAIAC is to provide collaborative, comprehensive care. When patients come to a NAIAC center, they are under the care of both a heart surgeon and an electrophysiologist, a cardiologist who specializes in heart rhythm disorders. Working together, with the patient present, the surgeon and electrophysiologist design a care plan tailored to each patient’s individual needs.
NAIAC centers emphasize collaboration. Reaching across facilities, Afib specialists will share research, expertise and technology. Patients will receive evidence-based care that offers the best outcome possible.
“Sentara Heart is proud to be an integral part of this innovative organization,” said Joseph T. Butz, Senior Divisional Vice President, Cardiac and Transplant Services at Sentara Healthcare. “Collaborating with other top heart hospitals will help us provide the highest level of Afib care possible for our patients.”
“We are excited to partner with NAIAC,” said Mellanie True Hills, Founder and CEO of StopAfib.org, a patient advocacy group and a founding member of the alliance that works closely to support hospital members. “With the combined research and expertise of the NAIAC centers, we can bring innovative treatment options to Afib patients.”
Afib may feel like a fluttering or rapid heartbeat. Sometimes, it can feel like chest and throat pressure resembling a heart attack. Patients may dismiss the symptoms as insignificant. However, left untreated, Afib can lead to a multitude of heart problems, including heart and valve diseases, sleep apnea and chronic fatigue. It can also lead to congestive heart failure and stroke. In fact, Afib increases the risk of stroke five-fold.
About the National Alliance of Integrated AFib Centers (NAIAC)
The National Alliance of Integrated AFib Centers (NAIAC) is a coalition of hospitals, physicians and treatment centers that use an integrated approach to treat cardiac arrhythmia. We foster a synergy between cardiac specialties to provide a comprehensive and personalized approach to treating AFib, atypical in most settings. NAIAC cardiothoracic surgeons work hand-in-hand with electrophysiologists, cardiologists and other providers to determine and deliver the best treatment based on each patient’s individual needs. Alliance members also partner together, across facility and practice boundaries, to share data, research and resources, all in an effort to improve education and to advance the treatment of Afib.
NAIAC founding members
• Sentara Heart – Norfolk, VA
• Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute – Los Angeles, CA
• St. Helena Arrhythmia Center – Napa Valley, CA
• St. Vincent’s Medical Center – Bridgeport, CT
• Orlando Health – Orlando, FL
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