Advanced Cardiac Imaging Expands Heart Care Services at Baptist Nassau
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In the photo Dr. Le-Bert reviews results of a TEE exam with patient, Harlin McCarthy of Fernandina Beach. The first person to have the exam at Baptist Nassau, McCarthy was pleased with experience and he and his family were happy it could be done locally.

Fernandina Beach, FL – With a cardiologist who is double board-certified in echocardiography on the Baptist Medical Center Nassau’s medical staff, and new, specialized ultrasound equipment, more complex heart conditions can now be diagnosed and treated at the hospital, says Jim Mayo, hospital president. “This means fewer patients will need to be transferred to other institutions and can receive highly specialized treatment close to their homes and families,” Mayo says. “On top of ourEmergency Center’s recent recertification as a Chest Pain Center, this is a great addition to the cardiac services available in our community.”

George Le-Bert, DO, joined Southern Heart Group’s local office in August and practices full-time in Fernandina Beach. He is board certified in both Adult Comprehensive Transthoracic and Advanced Perioperative Transesophageal Echocardiography (TEE). The transesophageal echocardiogram is an important diagnostic tool used to better visualize deeper cardiac structures.

Often called ECHOs, echocardiograms are actually sonograms designed to image the heart’s function. With standard ECHOs a probe, or transducer, is placed on the patient’s chest. The probe sends a reflective ultrasound beam through skin, muscle, bone and tissue to reach the heart, creating a live two-dimensional picture of it in action, says Dr. Le-Bert. The standard ECHO is usually very effective; however bone and tissue irregularities in some patients can reduce the images’ clarity, making diagnosis more difficult. In these cases, TEE provides a more direct view.

“With TEE, a miniature ultrasound probe is passed down the esophagus through the mouth to view the heart from the inside,” Dr. Le-Bert says. “Since the esophagus is so much closer to the heart and fewer tissues are between them, we can produce a much higher-quality moving image from this vantage point. TEE is an extremely useful tool in diagnosing a variety of complex cardiac conditions.”

The exams are performed at the hospital’s Gastroenterology Lab with support from anesthesiology, cardio-pulmonary and nursing staff. Images are viewed on high-definition monitors and can be stored as part of the patient’s electronic medical record.

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