Spectrum Health Cardiomyopathy Program Named National Center of Excellence

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., March 28– The Spectrum Health Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Program has been designated a national Center of Excellence by the Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Association (HCMA). Spectrum Health joins 25 other centers nationwide with this recognition, and becomes the second center in the state of Michigan.

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is the most common genetic cardiovascular disorder, and affects at least 1 in 500 people in the United States. It is characterized by abnormal thickening of the heart muscle which can cause multiple problems including obstruction of blood flow out of the heart, congestive heart failure symptoms, or heart rhythm disorders leading to loss of consciousness or sudden cardiac death.

HCMA Centers of Excellence are recognized for providing comprehensive diagnostic, treatment, education and research programs.

“This designation is the culmination of years spent building the necessary resources and collaboration of specialties, followed by an intensive site evaluation of the program by the HCMA,” said David Fermin, MD, Spectrum Health Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Program medical director. “It provides significant external validation that our multidisciplinary approach, a direct extension of Spectrum’s core values, is bringing the best care possible to our patients.”

HCM can affect people at nearly any age and often goes undiagnosed. Many people have few, if any, symptoms. Others may experience shortness of breath, dizziness, palpitations or chest discomfort. Some patients experience problems in the heart’s electrical system resulting in life-threatening heart rhythms (arrhythmias). Patients diagnosed with HCM require an extensive evaluation, regular follow-up, education, genetic counseling and screening for family members. Some patients may require cardiac surgery to remove the obstructing heart muscle, and/or implantation of a defibrillator to prevent sudden cardiac death.

The Spectrum Health program includes the latest diagnostic techniques, cardiology specialists (trained in advanced imaging, interventional cardiology, heart failure and electrophysiology), a cardiac surgeon, physician assistant, nurse coordinator, genetic counselor and social worker. This facilitates a comprehensive approach to diagnosis, education and treatment.

All HCMA Centers of Excellence are required to provide the following services within their program or through a referral relationship:

  • Cardiologist as Director/Lead of the program
  • Adult and pediatric cardiac electrophysiology (including implanted cardiac devices)
  • Cardiac surgical services: surgical septal myectomy
  • Interventional cardiology
  • Pediatric cardiology
  • Advanced heart failure and cardiac transplantation
  • Genetic counseling
  • Medical social work
  • High quality imaging– state of the art echocardiogram and cardiac MRI
  • Commitment to HCM research
  • The ability to see families and accommodate those traveling from a distance

“Patients with HCM who receive care with HCMA recognized Centers of Excellence programs experience the most time and cost effective care when compared to those seeking care in the general cardiology community,” said Lisa Salberg, HCMA Founder and CEO.   “Patients and families benefit by receiving comprehensive care by a team of highly skilled clinicians as well as receiving the emotional support they need to balance living with a genetic heart conditions that may well impact many members of the family.”

“The Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Association is pleased to welcome Spectrum Health to our family of Center of Excellence programs,” Salberg said.

“The Spectrum Health Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Program is an embodiment of the multidisciplinary collaborative spirit that is central to the culture of Spectrum Health, and one of its greatest strengths,” said Penny Wilton, MBBS, Department Chief, Cardiovascular Services, Frederik Meijer Endowed Chair. “Establishing this model of care would not have been possible without the institutional support of the Spectrum Health Frederik Meijer Heart & Vascular Institute.”

To learn more about the Spectrum Health Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Program, contact the HCM Coordinator at 616.885.5355

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Tim Hawkins
Media Relations
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