NCMA Cardiology

NCMA News: Dr. Kimberly Brayton, M.D. – Advocate for Women’s Heart Health

Throughout her life, cardiologist Dr. Kimberly Brayton has always strived to make a significant impact in the field of health. She has been with NCMA for a year and is advocating for the awareness of women’s heart health.

During Dr. Brayton’s first week at NCMA, she was a guest speaker at a Women
and Heart Disease event for WHAM (Women’s Health at Memorial), a women’s
philanthropy group. “It’s going to be an important part of my practice,” she says.
“Community events like this are especially important for women’s groups, as well as
on-going provider education, and especially emergency room front line providers and
primary care physicians.”

Originally from Petaluma, Dr. Brayton began studying health policy in law school.
“It felt like health policy would have more of an impact than treating individual patients’s, a more global impact is what I had envisioned.” But while she found that good in theory, “I really didn’t find it so satisfying on the ground.”

Dr. Brayton discovered that what she really wanted was patient contact. “It turned out that on a day to day basis what’s more interesting for me is to feel like I’m making a difference in individual’s lives. I derive more joy from face to face interaction. It feels much
more meaningful.”

While in medical school, Dr. Brayton maintained an interest in public health in general. And because heart disease is the number one killer in the U.S., for men and for women, it made sense that to impact a greater number of patients, she would focus on cardiology.
“It would be interesting to me medically, but I would also be treating a population where
there was potential for a greater impact.”

Dr. Brayton finished her fellowship in 2013, and continued with a post-doctoral fellowship
in health services research at Stanford University, which she finished in 2014. For the next
two years she was intermittently practicing medicine while doing clinical research in cardiovascular drug development. But again, something was missing. “I found the research and drug development interesting and thought it would have an impact; but, I had the same problem I always had, there was not enough patient contact. For me,
it was pretty clear I needed to get back into the clinic. Here at NCMA, this is exactly what I want to be doing.”

Dr. Brayton’s husband is also a cardiologist with NCMA, Dr. Vishal Patel. They have a one-year old son, Aash and recently had a little girl, Laana. When Dr. Brayton is not pursuing one of her many interests, she is “chasing her son around.” The family also enjoys hiking adventures to see the countryside.

The New Vein Clinic at NCMA and Dr. Vishal Patel Provide a Wide Range of Healing Options for Patients with Venous Disorders

Northern California Medical Associates is proud to provide patients with a full range of venous treatment options at their new Vein Clinic

Northern California Medical Associates (NCMA) announces a new service under the direction of cardiologist Dr. Vishal Patel for patients with venous disorders – The Vein Clinic. Utilizing the latest minimally invasive techniques and treatments for a full spectrum of venous disorders, this new specialty clinic is unique to the area and provides advanced care for patients. The Vein Clinic at NCMA is part of the expert cardiac and vascular care team utilizing leading-edge medical technology serving the North Bay.

Understanding Causes and Symptoms

veinsNearly 25 million people suffer from venous reflux in the U.S., a condition which causes varicose veins and other severe venous diseases including leg ulcers. Venous reflux disease, also referred to as venous insufficiency, is a condition that affects the circulation of blood in the lower extremities. Normally, one-way valves in the veins keep blood flowing toward the heart, counter to the force of gravity.  When the valves become weak and no longer close properly, they allow blood to flow backward, resulting in a condition called reflux.

While venous reflux itself may not be serious it can cause major discomfort and various complications. Symptoms often increase the risks of a wide variety of other chronic conditions. Many of the resulting diseases, such as thrombophlebitis can be quite serious. Without proper treatment, venous reflux can even become debilitating. With diligent treatment and monitoring however, many patients experience dramatic symptom relief.

Facts about Venus Reflux and Varicose Veins

Venous reflux tends to be more common in women than in men. According the latest statistics, it’s also more likely to occur in women between 40 and 49 and in men between 70 and 79. Inactivity, which includes sitting or standing for long periods of time, can result in high blood pressure in the leg veins and that increases a person’s risk of developing venous conditions. Other risk factors include:

  • smoking
  • cancer
  • muscle weakness
  • leg injury, or trauma
  • obesity
  • pregnancy
  • blood clots
  • family history of venous insufficiency

Venous reflux disease can produce a number of clinical problems for the patient and can significantly impact a person’s lifestyle.  In addition to being very painful, the more serious symptoms include edema, skin changes, venous ulcers – and venous reflux disease commonly produces varicose veins which are abnormally swollen and discolored superficial leg veins.

Treatment Options

walking legsThe Vein Clinic at NCMA offers several treatment options depending on severity. “Our new Santa Rosa clinic offers patients several treatment options including radiofrequency ablation (also known as Venefit or VNUS Closure), which represents a minimally invasive means of curing varicose veins and venous insufficiency,” explains Dr. Patel. “This treatment involves the use of radiofrequency energy, delivered through a catheter in a vein, to close the vein from the inside. Only a tiny incision in the leg is required for this procedure to be performed.” It is often done in the office using only local anesthesia and does not require a hospital stay. “Most patients find that the procedure is nearly painless, and the vast majority of patients are back to their usual routine by the next day,” he adds.

About The Vein Clinic and Dr. Patel

The Vein Clinic at NCMA is geared toward putting patients on the path to long-term recovery. The clinic provides comprehensive diagnostics and treatments for all types of vein disorders without lengthy hospital stays or extensive surgeries.

Dr. Vishal Patel’s background as Director of the Vein Clinic began with board certification in interventional cardiology, cardiovascular disease, endovascular medicine and specialty certification with the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography Physicians’ Vascular Interpretation.  Vein disease treatment is Dr. Patel’s professional specialty and patient outcomes are extraordinary. To request more information about venous reflux today call (707) 573.6166.

Taking a Mindful Approach to Heart Health During American Heart Month

Northern California Medical Associates Cardiovascular Services explores national trends in cardiovascular disease and shares insight into heart healthy living.

heart-718085-mThere is a lot going on in February pertaining to heart health. It’s American Heart Month and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services are co-leading an initiative on behalf of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to educate people all across the U.S. about heart disease and prevention. The American Heart Association is championing the annual awareness campaign aimed at educating women on heart health called Go Red for Women. NCMA Cardiovascular Services is also taking this opportunity to share some news about heart disease and stroke and to offer some tips on how to have a healthy heart.

Heart Disease is No Joke

According to the American Heart Association more than 5 million people in the United States suffer from heart failure, less than 50 percent of those with heart failure live a full five years following diagnosis. The deadly duo of heart disease and stroke are among the most prevalent and costly health complications dealt with by doctors today. Heart disease or stroke wreak havoc on people’s lives measured in increased medical bills, lost wages and decreased quality of living.

• 1.5 million heart attacks and strokes occur every year in the United States
• 800,000 deaths occur from heart disease each year, a total of 1 in every 3 deaths – about the same number as die from cancer, respiratory disease and accidents – combined
• 150,000 of deaths from heart disease occur in people under age 65
• $320 billion in health care costs and lost productivity were attributed to heart disease and stroke in 2011

The top five ways to hedge your bets against heart disease include; managing high blood pressure (talk to your doctor), take up a daily routine of physical activity (at least 20 minutes per day), make an effort to eat whole foods (ditch processed alternatives), avoid excess salt and quit smoking.

Know Your Blood Pressure

About 67 million people have high blood pressure according to the CDC. High blood pressure is a serious issue when it comes to heart heath. It makes the heart work excessively, increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Blood pressure is the force of blood on the walls of the body’s blood vessels as blood flows through them. This pressure naturally fluctuates during the day, but when it is consistently too high, it is considered high blood pressure or hypertension. The best way to find out what your blood pressure is and to weigh current risk factors, is to talk to a cardiologist.

Get the Blood Pumping

Exercise is essential not only for maintaining a healthy weight but for keeping the heart healthy. According to the American Heart Association’s latest exercise standards, exercise can be viewed as a preventative medical treatment and should be pursued on a daily basis – or as close to a daily basis as possible. For maximum cardiovascular health the AHA suggests 30 minutes of aerobic activity at least five days per week combined with some type of muscle-strengthening activity twice per week.

Discover the Heart Healthy Diet

Adopting a heart healthy diet can reduce the risk of heart disease or stroke by as much as 80 percent. The most often recommended steps towards improving the diet is to eat more fresh, unprocessed fruits and veggies, choose whole grains over refined grain products, and limit unhealthy fats. Reducing salt consumed in food is another important aspect of the heart-healthy diet. Salt can contribute to high blood pressure, a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

Don’t Light Up

Cigarette smoking greatly increases a person’s risk for heart disease. Risk factors rise as the cells that line the body’s blood vessels react to the poisons in tobacco smoke, almost immediately causing the heart rate and blood pressure rise. Over time blood vessels grow narrower, and chemical changes caused by tobacco smoke also increases the likelihood that blood will clot. When this happens clots (called plaque) can form and block the necessary blood flow to the heart. When arteries are blocked enough then sudden death can become an issue.

The Bottom Line

With heart disease being the leading cause of death for both of men and women, claiming more lives than all forms of cancer combined it’s important to take steps to improve heart health. Knowledge is power, and with just a little effort it is possible to protect against heart disease. In addition to exercise, maintaining a healthy diet, controlling blood pressure, maintaining a healthy weight, making lifestyle choices to improve cardiovascular health will also improve quality of life, and lower the risk for heart disease.

About NCMA Cardio Services

NCMA Cardiovascular Services offers patients a comprehensive range of cardiac services, interventional procedures and comprehensive care to meet the needs of patients with 11 offices, located in Santa Rosa, Petaluma, Sonoma, Healdsburg, Fort Bragg, Mendocino, Gualala, Ukiah, and Lakeport. For more information, visit our website.

Introducing Our HeartWorks Team!

Our Heart Works Team! (from left to right) Suzanne, Amanda, Emily, Cindy and Jen.

Our HeartWorks Team! (from left to right) Suzanne, Amanda, Emily, Cindy and Jen.

Our HeartWorks Team works in collaboration with NCMA Cardiologists and the Center for Well-Being. HeartWorks provides a diversity of heart fitness programs and cardiovascular rehabilitation to improve patient’s strength, stamina and confidence level. The truly exceptional team at HeartWorks is dedicated to making a difference in their patient’s lives.

Our HeartWorks is specifically programmed for each individual patient, offering tailored exercise and diet plans based on ability and need. The HeartWorks cardiovascular rehabilitation programs are conducted in progressive phases that ultimately will provide a healthier, long-term and eventually self-directed life for each patient.

Northern California Medical Associates receives IAC Accreditation in Nuclear Cardiology

IACTwo Northern California Medical Associates (NCMA) locations, Santa Rosa and Ukiah, received accreditation from The Intersocietal Accreditation Committee in the practice of Nuclear Cardiology. This three-year accreditation is awarded to those facilities that provide the highest standards in patient care.

NCMA Nuclear Medicine has passed the rigorous application and needed for accreditation as well as compiling with national standards. Accreditation ensures patients that the facility has been carefully critiqued and all aspects of operations in the field of Nuclear Cardiology are up to medical standards.

With cardiovascular disease the No. 1 cause of death in the United States, early detection of life threatening heart disorders and other diseases is possible with the use of nuclear cardiology in hospitals, outpatient centers and physician’s offices. NCMA has met the requirements for nuclear cardiology testing as well as the standards demanded for other contributing factors including the skill of technologists preforming examinations, the equipment used and the background and knowledge of practicing physicians.

The Intersocietal Accreditation Committee is a widely respected organization within the medical community with support from national medical societies that include industry leaders of physicians, technologists and medical physicists. The IAC continues its twenty-year accreditation divisions by developing standards and methods for the overall evaluation of the quality of care delivered. The IAC also provides peer review processes for multiple imaging modalities within the medical community.

NCMA has led the way in exceptional patient care since 1975.  It holds the only establish cardiac rehabilitation, lipid treatment, congestive heart failure and adult fitness program north of the Golden Gate. With highly respected primary care physicians and specialists in Sonoma, Lake and Mendocino Counties NCMA is the premier provider of cardiovascular surgery state-wide and is committed to the improvement and health of its community and patients and will continue to establish and hold the highest standards for patient care.

Deborah Magee, FNP named to the California Association for Nurse Practitioners’ Board of Directors

Northern California Medical Associates (NCMA) Deborah Magee, MSN, RN, FNP of FountainGrove Cardiology was appointed to the California Association for Nurse Practitioners (CANP) Board of Directors. She will sit as president-elect for the next two years to the North Bay Chapter. The organization joins nurse practitioners across the state in a common goal to stay at the top of their profession and play a significant role in the evolution of healthcare.

With Deborah’s leadership, the CANP North Bay chapter will promote advocacy in issues that effect health care workers as well as disseminate outstanding education. Each year, the organization promotes the CANP Annual Education Conference, their largest education event of the year, which brings healthcare leaders together to network, learn and discuss as well as honor those who have made significant contributions to their community and the healthcare industry.

NCMA is proud to have Deborah Magee as part of our distinguished Cardiovascular Services team and know she will achieve great things as a leader for the CANP North Bay as well as representing nurse practitioners across California. Congratulations!

NCMA Staff Visits New Sutter Medical Center Facility

WP_001858NCMA staff recently was given a tour of the new Sutter of Santa Rosa Hospital next to the Wells Fargo Center. The facility, currently under construction, will open in 2014 and will bring with it a higher standard in healthcare to Sonoma County. The project is expected to cost the organization $284 million. The hospital will focus on the many advances, treatments and innovative technology in healthcare.

The new facility is built on a dynamic, green design that will result in a significant reduction in green house gas emissions. The hospital will also implement a water and energy conservation program. Upon completion, the new hospital is expected to be LEED Certified, the internally recognized green building certification system that uses a rigorous 100-point checklist. The building also will boast a seismically sound infrastructure, electronic health records and advanced imaging technology that will make the new Sutter Medical Center an unmatched state-of-the-art facility that will enhance 21st century healthcare in Sonoma County.

WP_001869Project managers showed NCMA staff around the grounds where the efforts and progress made by the collaborating teams has reached a level that is worthy of Sutter Medical Centers’ high standards. You can see the facility, its progress and innovate design on Sutter Medical Center of Santa Rosa’s website. Also, watch live video of the construction progress, as the hospital’s countdown to opening gets closer. See the photos on our Facebook for a complete insight into our visit and the progress of the new hospital.