Spring 2018

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PATRONS | Spring 2018 18 Access to the Most Advanced Care, for the Most Complex Patients e Smidt Heart Institute has one of the best- developed advanced heart failure programs in the world, as well as the largest heart transplant program in the United States. Led by Jaime Moriguchi, MD, Jon Kobashigawa, MD, Michele Hamilton, MD, the team at Cedars-Sinai works collaboratively with Torrance Memorial cardiologists to offer: • e latest medications to relieve symptoms and improve heart function, even for patients in the later stages of heart failure • Ventricular assist devices (VAD) that help a failing heart pump blood through the body. ese can be used while a patient is waiting for a transplant or as a "destination therapy," meaning the VAD is a permanent form of treatment • Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), which is a temporary in-hospital life support system that bypasses the heart and the lungs to supply oxygenated blood to the body. • Surgery for high-risk patients to correct aortic or mitral heart valve disease • Heart transplant services from a high- volume program Smidt Heart Institute cardiologists see patients at Torrance Memorial once a month, where they work closely with their Torrance Memorial colleagues to develop treatment plans for patients who need this specialized care. As Dr. Kobashigawa points out, "is relationship and collaboration works well because the Torrance Memorial physicians know which patients need this level of care and when they need it. e timing is incredibly important. If we see these sick patients too late, we can't help them." Dr. Lurie adds, "If a patient's health deteriorates an additional advanced procedure such as a heart transplant is needed, the patient can be seamlessly transitioned to Cedars-Sinai right away." Another key benefit, according to Dr. Lurie, is providing patients access to the clinical trials available at an academic medical center. "is relationship allows Torrance Memorial to leverage Smidt's research and clinical trial resources. at means we can offer our patients every possible alternative to help them live a longer, higher-quality life." A Winning Combination What makes this collaboration so successful? It's a focus on teamwork and a shared commitment to always putting the patient first. "Many of us have worked together for quite some time. We communicate well and we follow through together," says Dr. Hamilton. "Both teams believe in looking at the whole picture to find the best solution for that individual patient. at's really what's important." Open Mind; Open Heart Experience and Teamwork Turn Heart Failure into Heart Success WRITTEN BY MICHELLE ABT J essie Savolt of Torrance was only 36 when she developed acute mitral valve regurgitation, a condition that occurs when the mitral valve doesn't close properly and allows blood to leak backward into the heart. Savolt had become extremely sick very quickly, with troubling symptoms that included severe fatigue and shortness of breath. After being diagnosed, she underwent two consecutive mitral valve replacements—one mechanical and one tissue. But even after the valve replacements, Savolt continued to suffer from heart disease complications. She lived with ever-worsening heart failure for nearly 20 more years before finally, at age 55, receiving the heart transplant that saved her life—a transplant was facilitated through a unique partnership between Torrance Memorial Medical Center and Cedars-Sinai. Savolt describes her journey through the various stages of heart failure as exhausting. Happily married, a mother and a grandmother, she enjoyed her family. However her illness meant Savolt couldn't fully participate in many important family milestones. She also had to give up her job as a computer analyst at Northrop Grumman. "I missed an awful lot," she says. roughout most of her illness, Savolt was under the care of the team at the Torrance Memorial heart failure program. e group included cardiologists Benjamin Rosin, MD, Erol Kosar, MD and Mark Lurie, MD, as well as nurse practitioner and program coordinator Roxanna Balter. "at team was amazing. ey were incredibly thorough and they really cared about what happened to me; they became like family," says Savolt. And that feeling is mutual. Balter remembers her patient well. "Savolt was always upbeat and refused to let her illness get her down. She was pretty remarkable," Balter recalls. Still as time went on, it became increasingly clear that Savolt's best option was to get a heart transplant. She was added to the heart transplant list at a local medical center, but after a two-year wait, her overall health was deteriorating and her situation was becoming more complicated. Given these issues, she needed to go to a transplant center that could handle a very complex case. at's when Dr. Lurie decided to send Savolt to the Smidt Heart Institute at Cedars-Sinai—a decision that saved her life. CLINICAL SPOTLIGHT

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