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Navigating Your Cardiovascular Care

Navigating Your Cardiovascular Care



How do you know where to go for quality treatment, whether it’s a planned procedure or an emergency one? From the moment you walk through the doors, to a discussion with your surgeon, you want to be comfortable with your entire hospital experience. This information can help guide your visit and put your mind at ease.

What should you look for in a hospital?

The hospital you choose for your cardiac care should treat you compassionately, as an individual, with respect for your unique situation. These tips can help you find the best place to receive care and services:

  • Look for a hospital where your individual needs are assessed thoroughly in order to determine the most effective treatment
  • Be aware of the hospital’s environment. Is it a large teaching institution or is it community based hospital, with a high level of specialized cardiac care?
  • Look for a compassionate and welcoming atmosphere. The hospital should convey that it’s a great place with highly skilled people, who put their patients before their own interests. If you’re unsure (or uncomfortable), ask for a hospital tour and meet with your potential cardiac surgeon to ensure you want to proceed with care at the medical facility.
  • Choose an efficient, well-run hospital. What are its infection rates? What is the quality of its outcomes? Mortality rates? It important in obtaining a positive outcome, especially when cardiac surgery is involved. Reputable institutions should have this information readily available either at the hospital, on the hospital website, or at the surgeon’s office.
  • Talk with other people who’ve been to the hospital and who may have had similar experiences or procedures. You can learn a lot from other patients.

What should you look for in a cardiac surgeon?

A great cardiac surgeon respects your unique situation. These guidelines can help you select one who you’re comfortable with having perform your procedure:

  • Meet with the cardiac surgeon and the team who is going to care for you. They should be able to help you clearly understand your options, so you can leave with the information you need to make a well-informed decision about how to best proceed. You should fully understand the risks, benefits and any potential complications.
  • You should feel comfortable talking to your surgeon. The surgeon should help you make sense of your particular situation and help put you at ease with your upcoming procedure.
  • Your surgeon should provide contact information so that if you have any questions about your procedure, you can get them answered quickly.
  • Your cardiac surgeon should provide detailed outcomes and data. Information such as the quality of patient outcomes, types of surgeries performed (and number of them), mortality rates and infection rates should be available and discussed so you’re comfortable proceeding with surgery.
  • Your surgeon and the anesthesia and nursing care teams should feel like a cohesive group, who are all working together for you.

Why choose El Camino Hospital for your heart and vascular care?

The Norma Melchor Heart & Vascular Institute at El Camino Hospital is home to a team of heart and vascular specialists who are committed to providing you with the highest level of patient care. We work together to deliver a comprehensive approach — from community education and prevention, to diagnosis and treatment. Whenever possible, we use the least-invasive treatments to promote healing, limit complications and lower risk.

Our cardiovascular expertise and dedication to our patients have earned us awards, accolades and professional accreditations, but our greatest accomplishment is helping people, like you, achieve optimal health.

The Institute provides the kind of care you expect to find at a large medical center, with the added comfort and convenience of a neighborhood hospital. Learn more about heart and vascular care at El Camino Hospital. If you or a loved one is living with heart and vascular disease or has a high risk of developing it, we can help.

This article was written by Vincent Gaudiani, MD, PAMF, Cardiothoracic Surgeon; Medical Director, Norma Melchor Heart & Vascular Institute at El Camino Hospital and Pei Tsau, MD, FACC, Cardiothoracic Surgeon, PAMF; NMHVI Medical Director, Cardiothoracic Surgery


This article first appeared in the February 2017 edition of the HealthPerks newsletter and the Spring issue of the Chinese Health Initiative Wellness eNewsletter. Learn more about the Chinese Health Initiative.

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