No matter where someone lives in the Baton Rouge area, they can receive cardiac care close to home thanks to Ochsner’s expansive network. It is designed to make treatment easier for patients.

Ochsner provides cardiology care at its locations in Hammond, Prairieville, O’Neal Lane, The Grove, Iberville, Jefferson Place and Denham Springs. Each location offers a variety of appointment times for testing, imaging, exams and more. The O’Neal location also offers cardiac rehabilitation services five days a week.

“It’s all about meeting patients where they are,” said Dr. Douglas Mendoza, an Ochsner interventional cardiologist. “We have eight cardiologists rotating in the area, and we have a schedule to make sure appointments are available quickly for patients who need to be seen right away. It’s much easier for patients to have multiple locations to choose from, especially because traffic in Baton Rouge can be challenging. A lot of our patients are elderly, so convenience and staying off the road is especially important for them.”

Dr. Mendoza said the Ochsner team treats all cardiac and vascular conditions, including acute and chronic issues. In response to community need, Ochsner offers a specific congestive heart failure program that reduced hospital readmissions by 40% in its first year and an additional 50% since.

Ochsner is also making it easier than ever for people to take charge of their health between appointments. Patients can communicate with physicians and schedule appointments through the MyOchsner app. In addition, a digital hypertension program automatically uploads patient information, such as daily blood pressure readings, to a team of clinical pharmacists, dietitians and their physicians.

“We call patients if the numbers are out of range and make medication adjustments if needed,” Dr. Mendoza said. “With more frequent readings, we can address problems sooner, rather than waiting for the patient’s next appointment.”

If a patient is diagnosed with a severe or life-threatening condition, the large scale of Ochsner’s network means they can remain within the system for treatment. This is a big benefit to the patient for continuity of care.

“We actually have the largest program for advanced heart failure treatment in the Gulf South,” Dr. Mendoza said. “Our patients receive the latest treatment options and personalized care. We offer everything – invasive and non-invasive procedures, short- and long-term mechanical support devices and surgery if that is necessary, including heart transplants. It really is a comprehensive program.”

As a leading regional health system, Ochsner is also at the forefront of the latest medical advances and is committed to bringing these to patients safely and effectively. Dr. Mendoza noted that Ochsner is currently participating in clinical trials to treat heart failure, peripheral vascular disease, electrophysiology and more. Thanks to Ochsner’s previous research and collaborations, some of its patients are already receiving new treatment options.

In collaboration with its advanced heart failure team, Ochsner electrophysiologists were the first in the state to implant the Left Atrial Pressure Monitoring Device. This system allows patients to adjust their medications daily based on a physician-directed prescription plan, in a similar way diabetes patients manage their insulin therapy.

In addition, Ochsner was the first facility in the Gulf South to implant the Nanostim™ leadless pacemaker. Developed for patients with bradycardia – a heart rate that is too slow – the Nanostim™ device is placed directly in a patient’s heart via a catheter. There is no visible lump, scar or insulated wires required by conventional pacemakers. This device is the world’s first retrievable, non-surgical pacing technology and is part of the LEADLESS II Clinical Trial. Ochsner is currently the only provider In Louisiana and Mississippi to offer this technology and is one of a handful of sites in the United States certified to implant this device.

Most patients begin seeing an Ochsner cardiologist after a referral from their primary care physician.  However, they can contact the department directly if they have symptoms or concerns. There are over 40 Ochsner primary care physicians in the Baton Rouge region. Dr. Mendoza said he encourages everyone to be mindful of heart disease risk factors, including age, family history, high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, weight and lack of exercise.

Once you have two risk factors you are at a moderate risk for heart disease,” he said. “That’s why screening and monitoring are so important, and we can perform them at several of our locations.”

For more information on Ochsner cardiology services or to schedule an appointment, visit https://www.ochsner.org/services/heart-vascular-services.