Heart Failure Care At Holston Valley, Bristol Regional Earns Gold Awards From Heart Association

The Wellmont CVA Heart Institute's broad array of services continues to earn national recognition, reinforcing that high-quality patient care is available close to home.

Holston Valley Medical Center and Bristol Regional Medical Center recently received the American Heart Association's Get With The Guidelines gold achievement award for heart failure care. It's the latest in a long string of honors the two hospitals have collected from national organizations for their cardiovascular care.

This award celebrates the hospitals for having 85 percent or higher adherence to Get With The Guidelines treatment guidelines in key areas for at least two consecutive 12-month periods. Holston Valley and Bristol Regional are the only hospitals in the region and two of only six hospitals in Tennessee to receive a gold-level award.

"The Wellmont CVA Heart Institute takes great pride in not only meeting but exceeding national benchmarks for heart failure care," said Dr. Jerry Blackwell, the organization's president. "We have a robust program for our patients who have been diagnosed with this condition and are focused on helping them manage it successfully so they can proceed with enjoying their lives."

Patients have achieved desirable outcomes through the heart institute's HeartSUCCESS® program. It's a comprehensive program to manage heart failure, which affects more than 5 million Americans and 30 million people worldwide.

The heart institute offers HeartSUCCESS® at its offices in Johnson City, Kingsport, Bristol and Abingdon, Virginia, as well as at Laughlin Memorial Hospital in Greeneville. The heart institute manages Laughlin's heart program.

Heart failure does not mean the organ is failing or about to stop working but rather that its muscle has weakened as a result of medical conditions such as a heart attack, high blood pressure, an enlarged heart and diabetes, said Robin Harris, clinical director of HeartSUCCESS®. Harris holds a doctorate degree in nursing with a focus on the care of heart failure patients.

Patients who are undiagnosed or do not follow through on a treatment plan for heart failure are at risk. Harris said one in three people die within a year of diagnosis without effective management.

"We are here to help patients who have been diagnosed with heart failure because we want them to experience life to the fullest," Harris said. "By keeping our clinical strength at an optimal level, we are creating an environment that empowers our patients to succeed in their personal and professional pursuits."

Symptoms of heart failure include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Trouble breathing while lying down
  • Weight gain and swelling of the legs and ankles through fluid retention
  • Fatigue and weakness

Patients can have a positive outcome if they take appropriate steps to address their condition. Among them are:

  • Education about heart failure and its symptoms and management
  • Routine checkups with a HeartSUCCESS® clinic
  • Limited salt consumption
  • Daily checks of weight, alerting the clinic of significant changes
  • Exercise
  • Medication, as prescribed

"Our patients are in excellent hands when they participate in the HeartSUCCESS® clinic with our outstanding team of physicians and the rest of the team Robin leads," said Dr. Blackwell, a medical doctor. "We have a proven track record of quality and rely on evidence-based care to achieve successful outcomes. The commitment of our caregivers puts patients on the path toward a better and more stable life, one full of promise for the future."

More information about HeartSUCCESS® is available by visiting www.wellmont.org, and further details about Get With The Guidelines can be accessed at www.heart.org.

Patients can also keep track of their medical care by enrolling in MyWellmont, which enables them to have access to a significant portion of their medical record. Enrollment and additional information are available at www.MyWellmont.org.