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Cardiovascular

  • BUFFALO, New York, November 29, 2020 – Great Lakes Cardiovascular and Wyoming County Community Health System are pleased to announce an all-new approach to cardiac care as Dr. Joseph Gomez, MD, FACC, steps into the role recently vacated by retiring physician, Dr. Joseph Lanigan. 

    Dr. Gomez, who completed his medical training at the University of Rochester School of Medicine after earning his M.D. at Georgetown University, is looking forward to providing comprehensive inpatient and outpatient care to local cardiac patients, saving them lengthy trips to Buffalo or Rochester for regular treatment. 

    “We have all the necessary, up-to-date technology to give our community’s patients the cardiovascular care they need, just minutes from home,” Dr. Gomez says. “We’ll be seeing patients in our office for checkups and testing, and working hand-in-hand with the hospital to offer evaluation and consultation to any heart patients there.” 

    Joseph L. McTernan, Chief Executive Officer of Wyoming County Community Health System, agrees: “Wyoming County Community Health System is excited to welcome Dr. Gomez to our organization. Our partnership will further strengthen cardiology care in Wyoming County and provide a new level of service for our patients.”

    That level of service will include a cooperative approach with Great Lakes Cardiovascular’s team of surgeons to ensure continuous care with minimal disruptions. For example, if a local patient needs to travel to Buffalo for surgery at Buffalo General Hospital, Dr. Gomez says, “We’ll take over follow-up care of that patient as soon as possible to allow the patient to recover close to home.”

    Dr. Vijay Iyer, Medical Director for Great Lakes Cardiovascular, sees this as a great benefit to patients. “We are happy to partner with WCCHS in providing all outpatient and inpatient cardiology services for the patients of Dr. Joseph Gomez and PA Kelsey Adams in Wyoming County. Great Lakes Cardiovascular works hand-in-hand with the physicians at the world-renowned Gates Vascular Institute in Buffalo, and we look forward to serving the Warsaw-area patient community.” 

    Dr. Gomez, who has been with Great Lakes Cardiovascular for two years, is excited to bring the practice’s renowned, world-class cardiovascular care to Wyoming County. To learn more about Dr. Gomez and the services he provides, visit https://www.greatlakescardiovascular.com/physicians/cardiology/joseph-gomez-md-facc. To learn more about Wyoming County Community Health System, visit https://www.wcchs.net. More information about Great Lakes Cardiovascular can be found at https://www.greatlakescardiovascular.com.


  • The Hidden Danger of COVID-19: Ignoring other illnesses can be deadly during the pandemic

    Heart attacks and strokes don’t care about COVID-19. They just keep on coming.

    Unfortunately, there is anecdotal evidence that an increasing number of people are delaying seeking care for symptoms during COVID-19. That can be a real problem, according to Great Lakes Cardiovascular Interventional Cardiologist Dr. Vijay Iyer.

    When we are talking about certain cardiac episodes, the difference between life and death can be a matter of minutes,” he says. “Delaying treatment can be a fatal decision.”

    There appear to be two primary reasons people would delay seeking medical care for non-COVID-19 symptoms during the pandemic. First, there is the altruistic belief that they would be taking a bed away from someone who needs it more than they do.

    “People need to leave decisions like that to the medical professionals,” Dr. Iyer says. “We assess every patient, and we admit people who have a need for urgent care, so if a doctor admits you to a hospital, it is because you need that level of care, there is no more or less than the next person.”

    Additionally, in most parts of the country outside of New York City, social distancing has led to a flattening of the curve, and hospitals have the capacity to admit patients as needed. The shortage of beds that was expected early on, and was seen in some communities, is now much better.

    Even if there was a shortage in beds, Dr. Iyer says that’s no reason to delay or skip treatment.

    “Calling and coming in to be examined still gives us the opportunity to assess your condition and take action outside of hospitalization,” he says. We treat many patients in the office, and there may be simple medications we can prescribe to help. But we don’t know that if a patient doesn’t reach out.”

    The second, more common reason, is simply fear. Erie County has the second-highest number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state. Governor Cuomo issued and reissued a Stay in Place Order. People are required to wear a mask in public. There is an understandable level of fear in the community and for many patients, that translates into a hesitation to go to a doctor’s office or hospital for fear of being exposed to the virus. While there is no guarantee, Dr. Iyer says healthcare providers across the community have done an outstanding job of implementing measures to keep patients and staff safe.

    “We are part of General Physician, PC and together we have more than 70 offices,” Dr. Iyer says. “At every office, we took immediate and comprehensive steps to ensure everyone who comes through our doors is safe.”

    Dr. Richard Charles is the Chief Medical Officer of General Physician, PC. He says those steps included increased training for staff and providers as soon as COVID-19 broke.

    “Keeping our patients safe during this time begins with keeping our staff safe and making sure they have the education and the tools to execute best practices in all offices,” he says.

    Dr. Charles says at every General Physician, PC and Great Lakes Cardiovascular office, the following safety precautions have been implemented:

    • No one is allowed to enter an office without having their temperature taken (fever is a primary symptom of COVID-19).

    • Access is retracted to employees, patients, and their caregivers only. No outside vendors or visitors are allowed in any office.

    • All staff and providers wear personal protective equipment.

    • Many offices offer video and telephone visits for added safety.

      “We understand the apprehension our patients feel, and we have taken every step possible to mitigate any risk for those individuals visiting our offices,” he says.

      Dr. Iyer says the same is true for the hospitals he cares for patients in — each is operating at a heightened level of safety and patient protection.

      “The advice I give my patients today is the same as it was before COVID-19 and the same it will be after COVID-19,” he says. “If you feel something, say something. If you have symptoms, call your doctor or hospital. It could absolutely save your life.”

      Dr. Vijay Iyer has offices in Buffalo and Olean. To schedule an appointment at any Great Lakes Cardiovascular office, call 716.710.8266.


  • When you think of hearts in February, many people think about candy hearts and chocolate hearts. We’re here to remind you about the other heart you should be thinking about this month.

    Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. More than 635,000 Americans die each year from heart disease. The good news is, you don’t have to be one of them.


  • While February might be American Heart Month, cardiovascular health is an important cornerstone of overall health that’s worth celebrating and maintaining 365 days a year. For some everyday tips to keep hearts going strong, we spoke with Dr. Vijay Iyer, Medical Director of Cardiology at Great Lakes Cardiovascular and Chief of Cardiology at Buffalo General Medical Center and Gates Vascular Institute.

    1. Know your family health history.

    “Knowing your family history and whether anyone developed heart disease at an early age helps you understand your preexisting risk,” says Dr. Iyer. “If you’re at high risk because of family history and you have other risk factors like diabetes, high blood pressure, and so on, it’s important to get more aggressive with prevention and work with a cardiologist and come up with a plan.”

    2. Exercise for at least 15 minutes a day.

    “It’s important to do the little things to move more,” says Dr. Iyer. Even simply walking briskly for 15 minutes is a great start and is a short enough timeframe to fit into even the busiest schedules. 

    3. Quit smoking.

    “Absolutely refrain from smoking,” says Dr. Iyer. “It’s the worst thing you can do for your heart.” 

    While quitting can be challenging, it’s always worth it. Finding the right smoking cessation program and having a support network are crucial. Your doctor—and friends who have successfully kicked the habit—are great resources to find a strategy that fits your personality, habits, and budget. And if one method doesn’t work for you, try another. 

    4. Improve what’s on your plate.

    Keto? Paleo? Mediterranean? Juice? There’s no shortage of diets and food trends claiming to be the healthy way to eat. And while many of them do have valid heart benefits, going from a daily burger to a life of quinoa and kale overnight isn’t realistic or sustainable—but finding healthier replacements for certain red-flag foods whenever possible is a no-brainer.

    “There’s so much info out there about healthy eating that it’s daunting,” says Dr. Iyer. “But we know the basics: cut back on fried foods, red meats, and saturated fats. A little bit in moderation is fine, but don’t overdo it.”

    5. Start young. 

    “Heart health starts in your 20s; you can’t wait to think about it until you’re in your 50s,” says Dr. Iyer. “Cardiovascular issues generally don’t develop in two years—it takes a long time for heart disease to progress, so it takes a sustained effort to prevent it, too. You should know your family history and cholesterol profile by age 25. And if you never start bad habits in your early years, you never have to quit them later.”

    6. Don’t wait for a crisis.

    “Prevention is hard,” admits Dr. Iyer. “We don’t change if nothing has happened yet. Most of the time we say we need to have a wake-up call to change, but that’s a heart attack or stroke in this case. We want to avoid that. It’s hard to be motivated if you haven’t had an event yourself or had friend or family member experience a heart attack or stroke. The reasons behind not adopting healthy habits aren’t that people are unaware, but it’s more of an ‘it hasn’t happened to me yet’ phenomenon.”

    7. Get heart healthy together.

    There are few things that sabotage a diet faster than a well-meaning spouse or best friend showing up with a pizza or a box of donuts. Whether you’re trying to eat better, be more active, or give up cigarettes, one of the surest ways to success is to share your journey with those around you. 

    “Life is busy—it’s hard to make changes and sustain them, but it’s easier with support,” says Dr. Iyer. “Lifestyle improvements are often decisions to make as a family or as a couple, not as an individual. For example, if you’re a couple, both people need to commit to stop smoking. It’s not going to work if one person is trying and the other is not.”

     

    Dr. Vijay Iyer is an interventional cardiologist specializing in structural heart interventions. His clinical practice includes general cardiology, interventional cardiology, and complex valvular heart diseases. He directs the complex valve clinic at Buffalo General Medical Center, as well as structural heart interventions at the Gates Vascular Institute and Buffalo General Medical Center. https://www.greatlakescardiovascular.com/physicians/interventional/vijay-iyer-md-phd


  • More than 800,000 Americans die every year from cardiovascular disease, making it the number one killer in America. The good news: those numbers are in decline, thanks, in part, to people taking a more proactive approach to their heart health.


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