Forms & Information

Ask An Expert

Ask an Expert: Artificial devices used in heart care

Q: What can you tell me about mechanical heart assist devices? Are these devices a practical option for treating heart failure?

Ask an Expert: C-reactive Protein (CRP) Testing

I read in the news recently about a blood test involving C-reactive protein that can predict your risk of heart disease.  How does this test differ from cholesterol screening?  Should I ask my doctor to give me this test when I go for my next physical?

Ask an expert: Exercising with an arrhythmia

Q: “I have an arrhythmia that sometimes causes palpitations when I'm physically active. Is this dangerous? Should I stop exercising?”

Ask an expert: Fat facts

Q: First, fat was bad. Then some fat was good and some was bad. Now we’ve got trans fats to worry about. It’s getting so complicated! Please explain the differences between fats and what I need to know about them.

Ask an expert: Getting fit for a 5K

Q: “Some of the healthiest people I know are runners. I’ve never been much of an exerciser, but I’ve decided that I want to be more like them. To get myself motivated, I’ve committed to running a 5K three months from now. What’s your advice for going from zero to 5K in 12 weeks?”

Ask an Expert: How does caffeine affect the heart?

Q: “How do different kinds of caffeine (coffee, tea, soft drinks, energy drinks) affect the cardiovascular system?”

Answer from Ty Gluckman, M.D., cardiologist, Providence St. Vincent Heart Clinic-Cardiology:

Ask an Expert: Is Tachycardia dangerous?

Q: "My 14-year-old daughter has been diagnosed with tachycardia. Both her pediatrician and a specialist have told us that her tachycardia is not dangerous. However, when I hear reports of young people dying of heart arrhythmias, I become frightened all over again. How can I reassure myself that this is not dangerous?"

Ask an expert: Is the latest study on “good” cholesterol a game changer?

Q: “We’ve been told for years that raising HDL – the ‘good’ cholesterol – protects against heart disease. Now a large study published in The Lancet in May seems to cast doubt on this longstanding belief. Will this change the recommendations for those of us who are trying to minimize our heart risks?”

Ask an Expert: Lowering blood pressure without pills

"I was recently diagnosed with high blood pressure. I'd like to lower it without medications, if I can. What are the best non-drug ways to reduce blood pressure? Is it possible to do this without popping pills?"

Ask an Expert: Recovering from heart failure

Q: My 52-year-old son has congestive heart failure caused by a virus that attacked his heart. He has only about 30 to 35 percent functionality of the heart muscle, and he is very concerned about the time he has with his two young children. Do many people with CHF actually get better? Is recovery possible, or should we be looking into heart transplantation? We are seeking any advice and guidance you can offer.

Ask an Expert: Robotic-assisted cardiac surgery

What procedures do you use robotic surgery for?

Ask an Expert: Study links sugary drinks and heart risks

Q: A new study published in March says that drinking one sugar-sweetened beverage per day can increase the risk of coronary artery disease by 20 percent. I’m concerned about my heart risks – should I give up soda?

Ask an Expert: Women's heart attack symptoms and what to do

Q: A friend forwarded an email to me about what to do if you're alone and you think you're having a heart attack. It says that coughing hard will squeeze the heart and keep the blood flowing until you can get help. It also says that women may experience strange symptoms, like a pain in the jaw, instead of chest pain. Is any of this true? Answer provided by Suzanne M. Hall, M.D., FACC, medical director of Providence Women and Heart Disease Program at Providence Heart and Vascular Institute, and cardiologist with Columbia Cardiology Associates.

Metal or medication? Data may drive our decisions

A tool developed by Providence allows specialists to pinpoint if stenting or medical therapy is the best course of treatment for patients with coronary artery disease.

New heart pumps offer hope to sickest patients

Next-generation cardiac support devices overcome limits of earlier models and improve survival. – By Jacob Abraham, M.D., cardiologist, Providence St. Vincent Heart Clinic-Cardiology

The best sites for the heart-healthy diet

The digital marketplace now offers an abundance of health and diet management tools, from websites to monitor your weight to smart phone apps that allow you to take a picture of your food and get an instant calorie count.

When your patient asks about his “low T”

For older men and those with a history of cardiovascular disease, popular testosterone therapies may bring more risk than reward. – Naji Hamdan, M.D., cardiologist

Forms Instructions

Cardiac Catheterization: What you can expect

If you are scheduled for cardiac catheterization, please review our brochure to prepare for your procedure.

Edwards SAPIEN Transcatheter Aortic Heart Valve Fact Sheet

Learn more about the Edwards SAPIEN valve, a collapsible aortic heart valve that can be introduced into the body via a catheter-based delivery system.

Heart Failure Zone Tool

This tool is designed to help patients who have heart failure track their health daily using a convenient color-coded chart.

Heart to Heart Patient Education Guide

In this guide, you will find important information that will help you better understand what to expect while you are at the hospital and what to expect when you return home following open heart surgery and/or a heart attack.

Heart to Start 5k Training Plan

Use this plan to help you go from the couch to running (or briskly walking) a 5k race of your choice with less than 3 months of training time.

In Practice: Eric Kirker, M.D.

As part of an ongoing series, Providence profiles Eric Kirker, M.D., a cardiac surgeon with Providence Heart and Vascular Institute.

In Practice: Profiles of Providence physicians

Patients know them as doctors. Physicians know them as colleagues.Through our ongoing series, we see these Providence providers in another light.

Living with Congestive Heart Failure

This book contains helpful information and tips for those who are at risk of developing or who already have heart failure. We hope this book aids your comfort and healing by teaching you how to manage this condition. Your physician and cardiac team are available to assist if you need help or have questions about the appropriateness of this book for you.

Newborn heart screening

 Pulse oximetry newborn screening can identify some infants with a heart defect before they show symptoms. Once identified, babies can be seen by cardiologists and can receive specialized care and treatment.

Preventing Cardiac Risk: Cholesterol in the blood

Cholesterol is a waxy substance that can be found in all parts of your body. It aids in the production of cell membranes, some hormones, and vitamin D. The cholesterol in your blood comes from two sources: the foods you eat and your liver. However, your liver makes all of the cholesterol your body needs.

Providence inScope: Mending damaged valves

The January 2013 issue of our clinical news magazine focuses on new devices and techniques to help the sickest heart patients. Also, lung screening comes of age.

Two small changes that will make a big difference to your heart

A study in the American Heart Association journal Circulation confirms what I’ve learned from my own heart patients over many years: People with positive attitudes and a can-do approach to exercise enjoy healthier hearts and longer lives.

Proprietary Health Article

Providence cardiologists replace valve on pregnant woman

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In January, a team from the Providence Heart and Vascular Institute performed a transcatheter aortic valve replacement, TAVR, on 23-year-old Katie Dickens. She was born with an abnormal heart valve. Five months after the procedure, Jasha was born without complications. It was a first in the northwest and perhaps in the U.S.

2014 Heart Healthy Recipes

The latest recipes are conveniently available for download from this page, or by obtaining a free copy of the Northwest Guide to Heart-Healthy Living.

A better predictor of stroke risk in a-fib patients

Studies show that a newer, more refined scoring system more accurately identifies risk for thromboembolism. – By Douglas Dawley, M.D., cardiologist, Providence Heart and Vascular Institute

A cardio workout (and workup) for athletes

James Beckerman, M.D., explains how competitive players or weekend warriors can now receive cardiac screenings at Providence Sports Care Center at Providence Park.

Apnea can cause patients to lose more than sleep

Untreated, the disorder can lead to serious cardiovascular conditions including arrhythmia, pulmonary hypertension and valvular disease. – By Emilia Arden, D.O., FACC, cardiologist, Providence St. Vincent Medical Center

Are interventions for carotid disease still needed?

Landmark clinical trials have demonstrated the benefit of endarterectomy in certain patients with asymptomatic carotid disease, but these studies were done before vast improvements in medical management of atherosclerosis. – By W. Kent Williamson, M.D., vascular surgeon

Ask an Expert: Shape up this summer with expert exercise advice

Everyone gets motivated to get more active when the summer sun comes out. Before you get started, make sure you’re setting yourself up for success and preventing injury by considering these tips from our experts.

Assist devices a viable alternative to heart transplant

For patients with systolic heart failure, an implanted ventricular assist device can improve quality of life and prolong survival. Here's how to learn if your patient is eligible. – By Jacob Abraham, M.D., medical director, and Gary Ott, M.D., surgical director, Providence Ventricular Assist Device Program

Beating the dose benchmarks on fluoroscopy

Because time is a poor measure of dose, Providence labs have improved on state-mandated measures. – By Jeff Robins, RT (R) (CV), MBA, cardiovascular lab manager, Providence Portland Medical Center

Best practices for managing lower-extremity DVT

From serial imaging to anticoagulation and clot removal, updated guidelines are a valuable clinical resource. – Brad Cook, M.D., vascular surgeon

Calf DVT: treat or follow?

Studies have led to uncertainty about treating calf deep vein thrombosis, yet delaying anticoagulant therapy may risk a life-threatening embolism. – By W. Kent Williamson, M.D., vascular surgeon

Cardiac devices: When it's time to get the lead out

Thanks to new laser techniques, cardiac-device lead extraction carries a 98 percent success rate, with rare major adverse events. By S. Anthony Garvey, M.D., cardiologist and electrophysiologist, Providence St. Vincent Cardiac Device and Monitoring Clinic

Case study: How to assess and treat a patient's genetic risk of coronary artery disease?

Easily obtained genetic tests can determine if aggressive statin therapy is appropriate. – By Douglas Dawley, M.D., cardiologist, Providence Heart and Vascular Institute

Clinicians help drive electronic medical records system

From standardizing order sets to improving collaboration between care settings, heart and vascular specialists are preparing for the conversion to Epic's electronic medical records system. – Tyler Gluckman, M.D., medical director, clinical excellence, Providence Heart and Vascular Institute

Demystifying atherosclerosis and peripheral arterial disease

Some key concepts in identifying, diagnosing and treating the conditions. – By Aaron Schoenkerman, M.D., FACC, cardiologist, Providence St. Vincent Medical Center

Expert Q&A: Cardiac surgery care for diabetics

Answers provided by Tony Furnary, M.D., cardiothoracic surgeon at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center.

Exploring the next-generation transcatheter valve

Just months after becoming the only center in Oregon to offer the new Sapien heart valve, Providence will begin testing the next generation of this breakthrough device. By Todd A. Caulfield, M.D., medical director, Providence Valve Center

Five things to know about heart disease

The risk factors for cardiovascular disease and heart attack can be both obvious and hidden.– By James Beckerman, M.D., cardiologist

For a-fib, a welcome alternative to warfarin

At last, a favorable oral antithrombin for patients with nonvalvular atrial fibrillation. – By Douglas Dawley, M.D., cardiologist, Providence Heart and Vascular Institute

Fortifying the plant-based diet for heart health

A growing number of our patients adhere to some sort of plant-based diet. Although these diets are generally beneficial to heart health, providers should heed some nutritional red flags. – By Naji M. Hamdan, M.D., cardiologist, and Terese Scollard, MBA, RD, LD, registered dietitian

Get the dish on heart health

One of the keys to avoiding heart disease could be sitting right on your dinner plate. Throughout February, Providence experts will dish out great advice on how to protect your heart – join them at our Get the Dish on Heart Health forums. Here is a quick taste of what you’ll learn from cardiologist Alicia Ross, M.D., and dietitian Kimra Hawk, RD, LD.

Get your day off to a heart-smart start

Do you routinely bypass breakfast in the morning? Your heart might like you to reconsider.

A large-scale study from the Harvard School of Public Health found that men who regularly skipped breakfast had a 27 percent higher risk of having a heart attack or dying from coronary heart disease than those who ate breakfast.

Helping your patients manage lower-extremity PAD

The prevalence of peripheral artery disease is climbing worldwide, but early diagnosis and medical management can lower morbidity and mortality. – Alejandro Perez, M.D., FSVM, RPVI, Providence Heart and Vascular Institute

It’s not enough to walk the talk: Prescribe it!

There's a treatment out there that your patients might not know about. It reduces their risk of heart disease, diabetes, cognitive impairment, osteoporosis, chronic pain, depression and many cancers by 20 to 50 percent. – By James Beckerman, M.D., cardiologist

Lipid management: Which test is best for which patient?

Management of dyslipidemia, particularly with statins, has significantly reduced major cardiovascular events. Yet half of heart attacks occur in patients with “normal” cholesterol. – By Douglas Dawley, M.D., cardiologist, Providence Heart and Vascular Institute

Listen to your heart

When your heart tells you that something’s wrong, listen. By Steven Reinhart, M.D., cardiologist, medical director of quality for Providence Heart and Vascular Institute, and medical director of the Coronary Care Unit at Providence Portland Medical Center 

Mars, venus and cardiovascular disease

Both genders are at risk for cardiovascular disease, but for women, the condition can be even deadlier. – By James Beckerman, M.D., cardiologist

Mediterranean diet: Eating our way to cardiovascular health

A new study finds that Mediterranean-style diets reduce the risk of stroke, heart attack and cardiovascular death even more than a standard low-fat diet. – Naji Hamdan, M.D., cardiologist, Providence Heart and Vascular Institute

Mitral valve trial offers promise for high-risk patients

The COAPT trial will test the MitraClip mitral valve repair system, a minimally invasive approach to treat mitral regurgitation in patients at too high a risk for valve surgery. – Ethan C. Korngold, M.D., cardiologist

Myth-busting: aortic stenosis risks and treatment

Treatments are advancing rapidly, offering greater chances of survival. So why aren’t more patients being referred for specialized care? – By Todd A. Caulfield, M.D., medical director, Providence Valve Center

New device offers new options for mitral regurgitation

Providence cardiologists performed Oregon’s first mitral clip valve repair, treating a patient too fragile for heart surgery.

New practice guidelines for managing PAD

Updated recommendations cover ankle-brachial index evaluation, antiplatelet therapy, smoking cessation, and treatment for abdominal aortic aneurysm and critical limb ischemia. – By W. Kent Williamson, M.D., vascular surgeon

Preventing Cardiac Risk: Lifestyle changes

Lifestyle changes that will help you reduce your chance of heart attack or stroke.

Providence inScope: Breaking melanoma's grip

The September issue of Providence inScope, our clinical news magazine, examines a combination therapy that may hold promise for people with advanced melanoma.

Providence inScope: Treating brain aneurysms

The November issue of Providence inScope, our clinical news magazine, examines a new stent to repair complex brain aneurysms; plus, treating HPV-related oral cancers.

Providence Stop-Smoking Resources

If you smoke, one of the most important steps you can take to improve your health is to quit smoking. Providence Health & Services supports you in this effort. The resources below can help you stop smoking for good.

Reducing Cardiac Risk: Before starting an exercise program

It is always important to consult with your physician before starting an exercise program. This is particularly true if any of the following apply to your current medical condition:

Reducing Cardiac Risk: Calculating calories and fat grams

To determine the number of calories and fat grams you need to consume each day in order to lose or gain weight, consult your physician or a registered dietitian. To maintain your current weight, follow the formula below.

Reducing Cardiac Risk: Components of food

If you are trying to make heart-healthy changes to your lifestyle and diet, it is helpful to know some basics about nutrition – starting with the components of food.

Reducing Cardiac Risk: Designing an exercise program

Regular, aerobic physical activity increases a person’s capacity for exercise and plays a role in prevention of cardiovascular diseases. Aerobic exercise may also help to lower blood pressure.

Reducing Cardiac Risk: Determining your Body Mass Index

Determining how much you should weigh is not a simple matter of looking at an insurance height-weight chart, but includes considering the amount of bone, muscle, and fat in your body's composition. The amount of fat is the critical measurement.

Reducing Cardiac Risk: Risks of physical inactivity

What health risks are associated with physical inactivity? Lack of physical activity has clearly been shown to be a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. 

Reducing Cardiac Risk: Smoking and cardiovascular disease

Facts about smoking and cardiovascular disease:

Sex after heart attack – when is it safe?

Patients may be reluctant to raise the subject, a candid conversation can ease their worries. – By James Beckerman, M.D., cardiologist

STEMI risk increasing in younger women

A recent presentation at EuroPCR shed light on what appears to be a growing problem of STEMI in women, and particularly younger women. – Interventional cardiologist Christopher Cannon, M.D., FACC, FSCAI

The skinny on saturated fat

When it comes to diet and heart disease, conventional wisdom isn’t always wise. – By James Beckerman, M.D., cardiologist

The stress of stress tests

Advanced stress cardiac imaging now allows us to detect heart disease with greater accuracy than ever before. But these sophisticated and expensive tests also bring a challenge: When are they necessary and when will simple exercise testing suffice? – Douglas Dawley, M.D., cardiologist

Tips for heart-healthy eating

Following are common questions about the relationship of nutrition to heart health, answered by Valerie Edwards, MS, RD, LD, outpatient nutrition therapist, Providence Nutrition Services.

Top-selling statins finally going generic

Patents for Lipitor and Plavix expire at the end of 2011, opening the door to cost-effective alternatives. – By Douglas Dawley, M.D., cardiologist, Providence Heart and Vascular Institute

Vascular disease's triple threat

When it comes to screening for cardiovascular disease, physicians shouldn't ignore the vascular part. – By W. Kent Williamson, M.D., vascular surgeon

What you should know about the new lipid guidelines

Repeat lipid testing is out; greater emphasis on atherosclerotic cardiovascular risk is in. We examine the new guidelines as well as the controversial risk calculator. – David Schroeder, M.D., cardiologist

When it comes to heart tests, order wisely

Echocardiograms are valuable diagnostic tools, but inappropriate use drives up costs without benefitting patients. Here are five guidelines for ordering echo tests. – Jody Welborn, M.D., medical director, echocardiography, Providence Portland Medical Center

Where doctors come to heal themselves

The significance of the Kleenex boxes placed on every tabletop isn’t apparent at first. But 15 minutes into this lunchtime gathering of doctors, nurses and a host of other health care workers, the reason becomes clear.

Will a dissolving stent solve the problem of restenosis?

The ABSORB III trial is testing a bioresorbable scaffold that may become the next generation of vascular stents. – Ethan C. Korngold, M.D., medical director, cardiovascular research

Young, athletic and at risk for sudden death?

While the incidence of sudden cardiac death is low, allowing an at-risk youth to participate in sports could be critical. – By James Beckerman, M.D., cardiologist

Recommended Resource

American Diabetes Association

Our mission is to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes.

We lead the fight against the deadly consequences of diabetes and fight for those affected by diabetes.

We fund research to prevent, cure and manage diabetes.

We deliver services to hundreds of communities.

We provide objective and credible information.

We give voice to those denied their rights because of diabetes.

Heart Failure Society of America

The Heart Failure Society of America represents the first organized effort by heart failure experts from the Americas to provide a forum for all those interested in heart function, heart failure, and congestive heart failure (CHF) research and patient care.

Mended Hearts

Mended Hearts, a national nonprofit organization affiliated with the American Heart Association, has been offering the gift of hope to heart disease patients, their families and caregivers for more than 50 years. 

Recipe: Delicious Heart Healthy Recipes

Choose from our wide selection of delicious heart healthy recipes recommended by Dr. James Beckerman, Providence Cardiologist, and author of "The Flex Diet: Design-Your-Own Weight Loss Plan".

Smart CHOICES for Health

Smart CHOICES for Health is a unique book that takes a powerful, non-dieting approach to weight management. Through reflections and hands-on activities, you’ll develop new skills for eating healthier, being more active and dealing with the emotional issues that surround weight and food.

The Flex Diet

Design your own weight-loss plan with the help of The Flex Diet book, written by Providence Heart and Vascular Institute cardiologist James Beckerman, M.D. 

Your Guide to Lowering Your Blood Pressure with DASH

What you choose to eat affects your chances of developing high blood pressure, or hypertension (the medical term). Recent studies show that blood pressure can be lowered by following the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) eating plan—and by eating less salt, also called sodium.