Valley Health System’s Women’s Services and Cardiology departments recently partnered to ensure pregnant patients diagnosed with hypertension, gestational hypertension or severe preeclampsia receive follow-up cardiac care and heart health education.
“Hypertensive disorders are one of the major causes of maternal morbidity,” Dr. Tia Welsh, chair of women’s services for Valley Medical Group, said. “There has recently been a high rate of hospital readmissions of patients diagnosed with hypertension, gestational hypertension or severe preeclampsia, and we want to make sure our patients are staying healthy after their baby is born and taking care of themselves.”
At the Valley Hospital, those diagnosed with these conditions will be brought to the Cardiac Care Unit for treatment, where they will be visited by cardiac screening nurse practitioners to discuss heart health and the cardiovascular risks associated with their diagnosis.
Patients are given heart health information and resources and they are instructed how to properly take their blood pressure. A free blood pressure machine is given to them to take home to improve compliance with at-home blood pressure monitoring, particularly for six weeks post-discharge.
Cardiac screening nurse practitioners, along with the primary obstetrics and postpartum care team, will also encourage follow-up with a cardiologist upon discharge to ensure ongoing care after delivery.
“The cardiac team is excited and honored to partner with Women’s Health Services to bring such an important aspect of health to the forefront of our patient’s minds,” Mary Collins, director of Cardiac Surgery and Cardiac Specialty Services for the Valley Hospital, said.
Upon discharge from the Valley Hospital, patients are also encouraged to schedule an appointment for a free heart screening six months after they deliver. Valley offers free, noninvasive heart screenings for men and women starting at age 20.
The heart screening includes extensive health history, a physical exam focusing on heart health, a review of lab work and more.
For more information about women’s health at Valley, please click here.