Committed to High-Quality Care
We may be in rural Oregon, but we believe that our patients deserve the same level of quality care as that provided in much larger cities. That’s why the Prefontaine Cardiovascular Center established a quality-focused partnership with Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU). We offer advanced care for conditions affecting the heart and blood vessels, including arrhythmia, cardiomyopathy, coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, heart disease, hypertension, vascular disease, and more.
In November 2019, Bay Area Hospital was recognized by the American College of Cardiology for the hospital’s demonstrated expertise and commitment in treating patients with chest pain. Bay Area Hospital was awarded Chest Pain Center Accreditation with Primary PCI based on a rigorous on-site evaluation of the staff’s ability to evaluate, diagnose and treat patients who may be experiencing a heart attack. To use our self-assessment tool to gauge your own cardiac health click here.
For more information about the Prefontaine Cardiovascular Center, call (541) 266-4650
In his lifetime, Pre was an active advocate for cardiovascular health. What better legacy for this celebrated runner than to make his home region a heart-healthy community?
The Prefontaine Cardiovascular Center is staffed by a dedicated and diverse group of healthcare professionals whose primary goal is to improve heart health and save lives on Oregon’s South Coast. Our highly trained, experienced staff members receive ongoing training to stay up to date on the latest advances in cardiovascular care.
Peripheral Vascular Services
Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) Rehab at Bay Area Hospital is a comprehensive outpatient program of supervised exercise and education for those living with the disease. Our goal is to help you gradually improve your level of physical activity and to promote a healthy lifestyle.
The Prefontaine Cardiovascular Center offers a program for peripheral vascular disease, in which doctors open blocked blood vessels in the legs, improving blood flow which may result in reduction of leg discomfort while walking, improve healing of leg/foot ulcers, or even prevent amputation. The Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) Rehabilitation program emphasizes risk factor modifications, appropriate foot care that may be carried out under the direction of local podiatrists, and a daily walking exercise program.
Vascular procedures offered:
- Vascular angioplasty and stents. Learn more.
- Intravascular Lithotripsy (IVL)
- Atherectomy – clears out the artery from the inside. Learn more about atherectomy.
- Aspiration thrombectomy – removes a clot by suction
- IVC filter – placed in the main vein in the belly area, it blocks a clot’s pathway to the lungs
For more information, call (541) 269-4100.
Helping You Get Heart Healthy
Our cardiac rehabilitation team will work with you to help you return to your daily routine faster and take steps to prevent future heart attacks and hospitalization.
What to Expect
Cardiac Rehabilitation at Bay Area Hospital includes:
- A spacious gym
- Guidance from highly skilled staff
- One-on-one goal setting with a nurse and a dietician
- Educational classes, consultation, and exercise at center up to 3x/week
- After 8-12 weeks, graduation to a self-monitored program of diet, home exercise, or continuation onsite in a Phase 3 program
How to Enroll
You must have a physician’s referral to enroll in Cardiac Rehabilitation at Bay Area Hospital. Contact your personal physician for a referral to our program.
Typical heart conditions covered by most health plans and Medicare are:
- A recent heart attack
- Heart surgery (bypass or valve)
- Coronary artery stenting
Conditions covered vary with different health plans. We will assist you in determining if you have coverage for your diagnosis or if preauthorization is needed.
Caring for Your Heart
Our state-of-the-art Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory offers a broad spectrum of diagnostic and interventional procedures that formerly required a transfer to another institution.
During cardiac catheterization, a cardiologist inserts a thin, flexible tube into the patient’s artery. Working through this tube and employing radiologic imaging, the team can explore the patient’s heart and circulatory system. This minimally invasive procedure allows the team to diagnose and treat a variety of cardiovascular problems.
Having this facility at Bay Area Hospital means cardiac patients can receive the advanced diagnostic and interventional care they need without leaving their community.
When Your Heart Can’t Wait
Not all heart attacks are created equal. The major type of heart attack is called a STEMI (ST segment Elevation Myocardial Infarction).
A STEMI can kill you. When it strikes, speed is the key to survival. By performing advanced cardiac intervention as soon as possible, doctors can limit the heart muscle damage. That means a better chance of surviving, and a much healthier heart in the long term.
We have the facilities and the expertise to provide that care. This service is offered by our Heart Team 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
In November 2019, Bay Area Hospital was recognized by the American College of Cardiology for the hospital’s demonstrated expertise and commitment in treating patients with chest pain. Bay Area Hospital was awarded Chest Pain Center Accreditation with Primary PCI based on a rigorous onsite evaluation of the staff’s ability to evaluate, diagnose and treat patients who may be experiencing a heart attack.
The Flight of Your Life
An air ambulance stationed at the North Bend airport is a critical factor in saving the lives of heart attack patients. The helicopter or airplane reduces patients’ travel time to Bay Area Hospital from remote areas such as Gold Beach or Powers. Often the onboard medical personnel can perform an electrocardiogram, forward the results to the hospital, and immediately administer medications ordered by your doctor.
A Timely Assist
If your heart attack can’t be treated at Bay Area Hospital, our cardiac care team can help keep your heart beating while you’re on your way to surgery elsewhere.
What to Expect
The cardiologist can insert a device called an IABP or a miniaturized heart pump called an Impella. Both devices may reduce the workload on your heart and prove very helpful in the first hours of the heart attack.
Using cardiac catheterization, the doctor positions the IABP in the center of your aorta, below your heart. By inflating and deflating with the same rhythm as your heart, the IABP improves the function of your left ventricle, the chamber that pumps blood throughout your body.
Using cardiac catheterization, the doctor positions the percutaneous ventricular assisted device (pVAD)—the Impella—inside your heart. The pump helps with circulating the blood while it allows the heart to relax.
With the balloon pump helping your heart, a brief helicopter or airplane trip will deliver you to a heart surgeon for bypass surgery or another surgical solution.
Outpatient or Device Clinic
The Outpatient Clinic is the medical home for our cardiac patients, and much work has been done in recent years to expand the clinic, not only in space but in support staff as well. It is located on the first floor near the main Bay Area Hospital entrance for easy access.
The Outpatient Clinic:
- has more than 3,500 active patients
- served over 11,900 patients in 2022
- receives about 15 new referrals each day
- has plans in place to add cardiopulmonary stress testing and genetic testing in the near future
If your heart rhythm is abnormally slow or irregular, a pacemaker may help. The cardiac care team at Bay Area Hospital can install a pacemaker with a minimally invasive procedure.
Offering easier access for patients with devices that need monitoring, the Device Clinic is located in the Outpatient Clinic on the first floor of the hospital.
What to Expect:
Working in the sterile environment of the Cardiac Catheterization Lab, your physician threads the wires through a vein to your heart. The procedure is usually painless and lasts about two hours.
You will be awake, but you’ll be given sedatives to help you relax. Afterward, our staff will monitor you closely while you recover in our Intermediate Care Unit. Patients generally can go home the next day. You’ll be able to return to most of your usual activities within a few days to a week.
Your pacemaker will be a permanent device, helping regulate your heart for many years to come.
Cardiovascular imaging plays an important role in heart care.
- Echocardiograms help providers determine whether a patient qualifies for certain procedures. They are also used for early detection of valve disease and heart failure. With early detection, cases can be treated to prevent future hospitalization.
- More than 4,000 echocardiograms are performed each year.
- Stress testing in our nuclear cardiology lab helps identify patients with heart disease before they have a catastrophe.
- Nearly 730 stress tests were conducted in the Prefontaine Cardiovascular Center in one year.
- The vascular imaging lab allows the team to do studies to determine whether leg pain could be caused by a blockage in the leg and to look at patients’ arteries to prevent stroke.
For more information about cardiovascular imaging, call (541) 269-8090.
Our state-of-the-art cath lab is helping build a comprehensive cardiovascular program that is making a difference in the lives of our community.
Since the cath lab opened, the team has:
- Performed more than 3,000 coronary cases
- Used multiple high-level devices to treat patients, such as Impella, EKOS, balloon-pumps, peripheral artery intervention using Shock-Wave lithotripsy, and stents.
For more information or if you need to contact the cath lab, call (541) 269-4100.
Offering education and preparation for treatment, the Pre-Post team assists with many other inpatient and outpatient procedures, such as cardioversions, transesophageal echocardiograms, loop recorder placements to identify abnormal heart rhythms, and Phase 1 cardiac rehabilitation education. In a year and a half, more than 165 of these procedures were done in the Pre-Post Unit.
For more information or if you need to contact the Pre-Post Unit, call (541) 269-4150.
Cath Lab Team
For a cardiac catheterization procedure, the cardiologist typically is backed up by four team members:
- Radiologic technologist – acts as “scrub assistant” to the cardiologist.
- Registered nurse – administers sedation and monitors the patient’s intravenous line, breathing, heart rhythm, and medications.
- “Circulator” – sets up equipment, retrieves supplies and serves as an “extra pair of hands.” The circulator may be a registered nurse or a radiologic technologist.
- Registered nurse or radiologic technologist – monitors the procedure from the control room, keeping a close eye on the patient’s vital signs, and recording each step of the procedure.
A Life Saved
A Life Saved by Cardiac Care on the South Coast
Kurt Dammel was mowing the lawn at his Gold Beach home in June 2017, when a pain in his shoulder forced him to stop. Little did he know that the pain was the beginning of a near-death experience. Kurt told his wife, Stephanie, what was bothering him, and as a retired nurse she immediately recognized the signs: Kurt was having a heart attack.
The Dammels rushed to Curry General Hospital, and not long after they arrived things took a turn for the worse.
“I remember him just before he coded, Stephanie recalls. He sat straight up, and you see it in the cartoons where their eyeballs whirl—his eyeballs actually whirled in his head. “He fell back, and I said, ‘I’m a widow.’”
The doctor immediately began rigorous CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation), and 20 minutes later Kurt’s heart was beating again. The hospital activated a STEMI (ST-elevation myocardial infarction) line and transferred him to Bay Area Hospital. Daniel Brook, lead cardiovascular services tech, was working the day Kurt came into the cardiac catheterization laboratory. “We knew Kurt’s chances for survivability weren’t great because he was in cardiogenic shock, he had heart failure, and we suspected proximal LAD [left anterior descending coronary artery] occlusion,” Brooks says. “All three together, survivability is exceedingly low.”
In the cath lab, John Frank, MD, and Wojciech Nowack, DO, got to work simultaneously. Dr. Nowak began by placing an Impella pump, which moves blood from the left ventricle to the aorta very quickly, taking the work off the heart. Dr. Frank did the intervention to open the blocked artery. Twice during the procedure, Kurt coded and CPR was done, and each time he pulled through.
“I’m hard to kill,” Kurt says with a smile.
Impella pumps, like the one used to save Kurt’s life, are not commonly used, and they are reserved for the very worst cases. It’s also an expensive device for a hospital to purchase, so many facilities don’t have one at all. Fortunately, the stars were aligned for Kurt, and the pump was able to move the blood and oxygen to all of his organs, so he not only survived, he thrived.
After a few days, Kurt’s condition had improved to the point where the Impella pump could be removed, but all the lifesaving CPR had taken a toll on his ribs: many were cracked or broken, and Kurt was suffering from flail chest, a life-threatening condition that occurs when a segment of the rib cage breaks due to trauma and becomes detached from the rest of the chest wall. Kurt was transferred to Oregon Health & Science University to have his chest plated, but prior to the procedure a CT scan found more than just damaged ribs. The odds had been stacked against Kurt from the beginning, and now kidney cancer was in the mix. Kurt’s chest was plated, and he was on his way to recovery.
“I’ve got a pile of metal in me and 52 screws, so I’ve got a small erector set in there,” he says.
Kurt reaches into his pocket for his phone and pulls up a video of his time in the hospital after heart surgery. Tubes trail from his open mouth and nostrils, and his face is drained of color. He looks motionless, aside from the slow rise and fall of his chest.
“That was me,” he says, pausing for a moment. “I don’t remember any of that crap.”
Kurt says he remembers only three of the 24 days he spent in the hospital, but his wife remained at his side the entire time and says her husband is alive today thanks to the care he received.
“He got top-notch all the way. We were lucky the doctor at Gold Beach saved him and got him up here,” Stephanie says. “And Dr. Frank and Dr. Nowak were fantastic—absolutely fantastic.” Amazingly, just two weeks after having his chest plated, Kurt was on his feet and walking. The Dammels opted out of cardiac rehabilitation because Stephanie promised to be harder on him than any rehab center, and her tough love paid off. “I was happy to get out of the house—that’s why I was walking,” Kurt jokes. “At the end of two weeks, I was ready to take that walker and throw it over the cliff. I hated that thing, but you gotta laugh too.”
Three months later Kurt returned to Bay Area Hospital to have a kidney removed. Now a little more than a year has passed, and he’s back to his old self. Kurt is able to climb up into his truck, and he’s been back on his motorcycle. He is even back to mowing the lawn, doing yard work, and enjoying his Gold Beach home.
“Ask me if I want to move,” Kurt says with a grin. When asked the question, he replies, “Hell no, although I think of the hospital and I would move up here [to Coos Bay] for the hospital. But I can’t move the entire property with me, so I guess I’ll stay down there.”