VAIL — Hearts are getting more love and care in Eagle and Summit counties since longstanding cardiologists Dr. Jerry Greenberg and Dr. Nelson Prager made the move from Denver to join the full-time staff at Vail Valley Medical Center. With their arrival, VVMC’s Cardiology Institute is expanding its facilities and services in ways that will save lives.
Greenberg specializes in interventional cardiology and identifying heart conditions and the proper treatment, while Prager’s areas of expertise are electrophysiology, heart rhythm disturbances and coronary artery disease.
“We are fortunate to have these highly qualified, top cardiologists right here in Vail,” said Vail Valley Medical Center President and CEO Doris Kirchner. “They are a fine-tuned team and are both familiar with the active mountain lifestyle of our community.”
A WEALTH OF EXPERIENCE
Greenberg and Prager worked as partners for 20 years at Aurora Denver Cardiology Associates and other Front Range facilities. They have both made profound contributions to medical journals throughout their careers and have been recognized as top doctors in Colorado.
The cardiologists are also already intimately familiar with the area, as each has practiced in Vail part-time for several years — Prager with a pacemaker clinic and Greenberg with a general cardiology clinic.
“I have been addicted to skiing and the outdoors for my entire existence,” said Greenberg, who started at VVMC earlier this summer. “I have probably logged more miles going back and forth (from Denver to Vail) than anyone on the planet.”
As far as hearts go, the cardiac population doesn’t get much healthier than here in the valley, which was one incentive for the new docs to make the move. Still, even healthy individuals can be subject to cardiac arrest, heart attacks and other cardiac emergencies.
NEW CATH LAB
With Greenberg and Prager around, those emergencies will be in good hands, particularly because the Cardiology Institute is undergoing some major improvements, most notably, the creation of a state-of-the-art cardiac catheterization lab. Here, the doctors will be able to visualize the arteries and chambers of the heart, treat abnormalities and diagnose and treat arrhythmias using advanced equipment.
“Basically, when someone comes in with a blocked artery and is having a heart attack, a cardiac alert program will be in place to rapidly mobilize personnel so the patient can be assessed and taken for an emergency coronary angiogram ,” Greenberg said. “The cath lab is a place where we get to blocked arteries immediately, all through the use of catheters. Once we document where that blocked artery is, we immediately proceed to open that artery with various interventional tools that we have at our disposal. We have that artery open within minutes of the patient’s arrival in the emergency room. This results in much better patient outcomes, as we limit the amount of damage that is done to the heart during a heart attack. It’s pretty incredible for a community of this size to have this capability. You take someone who is acutely suffering from a heart attack and you turn it around.”
LIFE-SAVING CARE CLOSE TO HOME
Set to open in early 2015, the objective of the cath lab is to provide life-saving care, right here in Vail.
“We’ll be able to help some of the folks that were previously flown out on a helicopter for treatment in Denver,” Greenberg said. “There will be some patients that require open heart surgery, and they’ll still have to go to Denver; but the majority will be taken care of here.”
With the addition of Prager, the Cardiology Institute’s new lineup of services also includes pacemaker and defibrillator implants along with advanced modalities to treat various heart arrhythmias with ablation techniques.
The Institute also provides cardiology services for coronary disease, hypertension, arrhythmia, valvular heart disease, congestive heart failure and lipid disorders.
In addition to the new cath lab, the Cardiology Institute offers an anticoagulation clinic, cardiac diagnostics and a cardiac rehabilitation center. The Institute has locations in Edwards and Eagle, as well as brand new clinics on the third floor of the US Bank building in Vail and at 323 W. Main Street in Frisco.
For more information, visit www.vvmc.com/cardiology or call 970-476-1110.