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Heart clinic to open Monday in Woodbury

Heart patients at Woodwinds' Heart Care Rehabilitation Center will be able to see HealthEast doctors at the new Woodbury clinic starting Monday. (Riham Feshir/Woodbury Bulletin)

A new heart clinic will open Monday in Woodbury to complement what's already available at Woodwinds Health Campus.

The clinic will be located at the Woodwinds' Birch Center, the medical office building attached to the hospital, with part-time care provided by HealthEast Heart Care cardiologists.

"It'll be more of a full service, inpatient/outpatient service," said Dr. Thomas Johnson, medical director for HealthEast Heart Care.

Prior to opening the clinic, cardiologists would see patients at Woodwinds Hospital and help supervise various types of testing and electrocardiogram (EKGs) for about half of each day. With the new clinic, a team of about eight doctors will rotate to staff the clinic and see more patients.

The clinic is equipped with an EKG machine and Holter monitor, which trace the electrical impulses of the heart. They are administered through routine exams as well as before and after surgeries, and during medical emergencies involving chest pain.

The clinic also will be contiguous with the hospital's cardiology department, where a nuclear camera, ultrasounds and other testing techniques are conducted.

Nuclear exercise testing looks for blockage in the coronary arteries using a radioisotope that's injected for the heart to be scanned, Johnson explained. The radioisotope goes into parts of the heart muscle that are getting good blood flow. Patients are then exercised or given medication that mimics exercising to compare results after rescanning.

"It's a very good test for picking up significant narrowings in the coronary arteries," he added.

The Woodbury heart clinic will be a central location to many area patients seeking care and consultation on this side of the Twin Cities, which was part of the reason why it was added to the hospital campus, officials said.

"We have a lot of patients in the east metro that live in Woodbury, Afton, Lake Elmo, Stillwater," Johnson said. "I think our patients will find it very convenient to see us (at the clinic) as well as new patients coming in, even from western Wisconsin."

Johnson estimates cardiologists see an average of five to seven hospital patients on a daily basis. With the new clinic, that number is expected to grow.

"We will be seeing patients almost four hours a day as outpatients, so that would be up to 12 patients," he said.

Randy Romereim, manager of the Radiology, Heart and Lung Care on the Woodwinds campus, said next week's schedule is already booked with patients.

Patients who wish to make appointments at the clinic will have to call the Maplewood Heart Care Center where scheduling is done. The Woodbury heart clinic will be staffed Monday through Thursday afternoons and Friday mornings.

The clinic space is a timeshare between various other doctors and care centers including plastics, a vascular center and a surgeon group.

Most of the extensive heart testing will be done at Woodwinds, while general care and the majority of outpatient visits will be at the heart clinic.

The Woodbury heart clinic is the third to open under the HealthEast Care umbrella. It joins the St. Joseph's Hospital location in St. Paul and the St. John's Hospital heart clinic in Maplewood.

"We're excited to be in Woodbury seeing patients who have questions about their heart or heart disease going forward," Johnson said.

Riham Feshir
Riham Feshir is a reporter and photographer for the Woodbury Bulletin. Her coverage includes Woodbury City Hall, Washington County Board of Commissioners and business news.  Follow Riham on Twitter @RihamFeshir for the latest updates.