Heart and vascular care in Los Angeles

West Hills Regional Heart and Vascular Institute offers the latest heart care services and treatments for heart failure, heart surgery, and heart attack interruption. We offer 24/7 emergency cardiac care.

If you or someone is having symptoms of a cardiac episode, such as a heart attack, call 911 immediately.

The West Hills Regional Heart and Vascular Institute is a Joint Commission Certified Pain Center. This official designation means we are prepared 24/7 to provide specialized, emergency cardiac care. Los Angeles County also recognizes West Hills Hospital for treatment of a critical type of heart attack called ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI).

If you have a potentially life-threatening cardiovascular condition, such as coronary artery disease (CAD), which can result in a heart attack, it is critical to seek the expertise and advice of specialists.

Cardiac care we offer

West Hills Hospital offers cardiovascular exams, heart screenings and services essential to your care, healing and well-being. Our cardiovascular care program offers:

Heart attack treatment

The most effective and potentially life-saving time to treat heart attacks is during the critical early stages. That's why our cardiac care team aims to significantly shorten the time it takes to accurately diagnose and treat every patient who has chest pain or other heart attack symptoms.

West Hills Regional Heart and Vascular Institute was ranked in the top 10 percent of hospitals in the nation for heart attack response time. So what does that mean for our patients? Simply said, when it comes to chest pain, we deliver quick evidence-based treatment based on the most current research and best clinical practices. We are able to care for patients who have heart disease, reduce permanent damage to heart tissue, and save lives.

Heart attack warning signs

Seeking immediate treatment at the first sign of a heart attack can save your life and limit damage to your heart. Quick heart attack treatment — within an hour — is essential because the heart muscle starts to die if the blocked artery is not treated.

Seek immediate attendant if you experience these symptoms:

  • Chest discomfort, such as pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of the chest that is mild or strong. It may last more than a few minutes or go away and come back.
  • Upper body discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Lightheadedness, fainting or breaking out in a cold sweat.
  • Shortness of breath may occur with or before chest discomfort.

Heart attack symptoms in women

The warning signs for men and women are different. Women are less likely to experience chest pain when having a heart attack but more likely than men to experience:

  • Back or jaw pain
  • Flu-like symptoms for two weeks to a month prior to having more acute chest discomfort or severe shortness of breath
  • Nausea
  • Shortness of breath
  • Vomiting

Learn hands-only CPR

With only two easy steps, Hands-Only CPR can more than double a person's chances of survival following a sudden cardiac arrest. This easy-to-remember method is an effective option for people who are untrained in conventional CPR, which includes rescue breathing.

  1. Call 911
  2. Push hard and push fast in the center of the person's chest to the rhythm of “Stayin Alive” – 100 compressions per minute

Learn Hands-only CPR, get a practice dummy or sign up for a CPR class in your neighborhood.

Atrial fibrillation (AFib) treatment

Non-valvular atrial fibrillation (AFib) increases your risk for stroke. Traditionally, blood-thinning medications, such as warfarin, reduce stroke risk, but some patients do not like the medicine or have a medical or lifestyle reason to avoid it. West Hills Hospital offers left atrial appendage closure implant (LAAC) as an alternative.

How AFib affects your body

AFib causes your heart to beat irregularly, which may make you feel like your heart is fluttering. Irregular heartbeats disrupt the flow of blood through your heart, causing blood to pool and coagulate in your left atrial appendage (LAA), a finger-shaped sac attached to the left atrium. If coagulated blood in the LAA breaks off and passes through your blood stream, it may cause a stroke. Studies show that approximately 90 percent of clots leading to stroke form in the LAA.

How LAAC works

The LAAC implant is a non-pharmaceutical option for reducing stroke risk in patients with non-valvular AFib.

The minimally invasive, catheter-based procedure to place the LAAC Implant takes place in the Electrophysiology Laboratory. A specialist inserts a small catheter into the femoral vein in your leg and directs the catheter through the vein to the heart. Once the catheter is in the left atrium, the physician releases the implant, which spreads out like a balloon and seals the opening of the LAA. Heart tissue grows over the implant, sealing the opening of the LAA and preventing blood from pooling in the outcropping, thereby reducing stroke risk.

What to expect with LAAC

Because the procedure to place the LAAC implant is minimally invasive, you will experience less blood loss and postoperative pain, compared with an open procedure. Placing the LAAC implant typically takes one hour, and patients return home the day after the procedure.

Patients seeking an alternative to long-term blood-thinning medication regimens can call (818) 676-4321 to schedule an evaluation with a cardiac specialist.

Experienced heart arrhythmia treatment

Our heart and vascular center makes it possible to have electronic physiology performed for irregular heartbeat problems without the use of fluoroscopy. That's because our specially-trained electrophysiologists use advanced technology that allows them to precisely see the problem location on a 3D computer model of the heart. This can be extremely helpful in correcting irregular heart rhythms.

Our electrophysiology team members are knowledgeable in device placement procedures, and some devices have remote monitoring capabilities.

Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR)

TAVR is a non-surgical, minimally invasive method to replace the aortic valve in your heart. This procedure is specifically for patients with aortic stenosis. Originally developed as an alternative to surgery for high-risk patients (meaning too sick to undergo surgery), this procedure is now seeing broader use for low-risk patients, too.

What is aortic stenosis?

Aortic stenosis occurs when the aorta, the main artery pumping blood from the heart, narrows or stops opening fully. Signs and symptoms include shortness of breath, chest pain, weakness or fainting.

There are many significant benefits for patients who qualify for TAVR, including:

  • Faster recovery
  • Lower respiratory and cardiac complications
  • Minimal blood loss compared with open valve repair
  • Shorter time in the hospital