Heart conditions treated fast at wellness centre

Heart Function Clinic at Cranbrook Health Unit targets heart failure patients for rapid care.

People experiencing heart conditions have access to fast, targeted care through the Cranbrook Wellness Centre.

Located in the Health Unit, the Wellness Centre contains a Heart Function Clinic where two internists optimize the care of patients newly diagnosed with heart failure and patients who are not responding well to management by their family physician.

The clinic has been open since September 2011, and it is the domain of physicians Dr. Lori Wik and Dr. Errin Sawatsky.

“It’s a way to rapidly access the internal medicine physician for referral, but also to rapidly access radiology like echocardiograms, as well as to rapidly access the programs at the wellness centre,” said Dr. Sawatsky.

Through referral from family physicians, Drs. Sawatsky and Wik take on patients and coordinate their needs for rapid care. As well as radiology, that could include appointments with cholesterol specialists and dieticians, among other things.

“It’s a way to get people who might otherwise wait on a waiting list and potential deteriorate in the interval, to see us quicker and hopefully keep people out of the hospital,” said Dr. Sawatsky.

“Pretty much anything that belongs to the heart, we’ll see it, especially if it’s unstable in any way.”

Now Dr. Sawatsky is getting the word out about signs of heart failure: shortness of breath when exerting yourself, chest discomfort, swelling of the legs, palpitations, fainting or near fainting. Most of the time, you would see your family physician if you experience any of those symptoms, but if it comes on quickly, it’s time to go to the hospital.

“If it builds on itself, it’s probably a good thing for the GP and if it’s sudden, it’s probably a good thing for the emergency room,” said Dr. Sawatsky.

Some people are more at risk of developing heart conditions than others, she went on. Risk factors include smoking, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, previous heart trouble or strokes, and family history of strokes and heart issues.

If any of those risk factors apply to you, it’s important to maintain a healthy diet and regular exercise, and get to know your family physician.

“Everybody needs a good relationship with their family physician. Even if you feel healthy, you still need to go for an annual check-up. All of these risk factors tend to be silent,” said Dr. Sawatsky. “So it’s important to have all the screening tests done with your family doctor.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Province to begin forest fuel reduction around Cranbrook’s southern boundary

The B.C. government is set to begin work on forest fuel reduction… Continue reading

Emergency services personnel responding to 14th Ave accident

Emergency services personnel have responded to a motor vehicle accident on 14th… Continue reading

Evacuation order downgraded in Fairmont, alert remains in place

An evacuation order has been downgraded for properties along Fairmont Creek, but… Continue reading

A German word blitzes the English language

World O’ Words: Lightning quick, on offense and defense

If Trudeau won’t stand up to Trump, how will regular people: Singh

Trudeau did not directly answer a question about Trump’s actions amid protests

22 new COVID-19 test-positives, one death following days of low case counts in B.C.

Health officials urged British Columbians to ‘stand together while staying apart’

John Horgan says COVID-19 restrictions won’t be eased regionally

B.C. Liberals urge ‘tailored’ response based on infections

Feds get failing grade for lack of action plan on anniversary of MMIWG report

‘Instead of a National Action Plan, we have been left with a Lack-of-Action Plan’

B.C. ranchers, lodge operators say Indigenous land title shuts them out

Tsilhqot’in jurisdiction affects grazing, access to private property

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

As two B.C. offices see outbreaks, Dr. Henry warns tests don’t replace other measures

Physical distancing, PPE and sanitizing remain key to reduce COVID-19 spread

Greater Victoria drive-thru window smashed after man receives burger without mustard

Greater Victoria Wendy’s staff call police after man allegedly rips Plexiglas barrier off window

Murder charge upgraded in George Floyd case, 3 other cops charged

Floyd’s family and protesters have repeatedly called for criminal charges against all four officers

Most Read