January 4, 2018

Lucina Hernandez was expecting her second child when she began experiencing severe pain in her chest. She had developed acute heart failure related to lupus, a chronic autoimmune disease, and needed an emergency C-section.

“We take care of some of the sickest heart failure patients and Lucina’s condition was particularly serious. As a doctor and mother myself, I knew I needed to do everything in my power to help her,” said Dr. Nataliya Pyslar, cardiologist and Director of Cardiology Consultation Services at the Cook County Health’s John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital.  “Caring for patients is so much more than running a test and writing a prescription. You have to hold their hand, share their emotions and empower them. Watching a patient recover and resume their life is the most rewarding experience.”

 “You feel good when you have a doctor to advocate for you. You know you’re going to be OK,” said Mrs. Hernandez.  “Dr. Pyslar is so nice. She checked on me all the time. This is the first time I’ve had a doctor like her.” Today, Mrs. Hernandez’s heart condition is well controlled and she and her family are thriving.

U.S. News and World Report recognized Stroger Hospital with its highest rating for heart failure care in their annual Best Hospital rankings. The 450-bed facility is the flagship hospital of the Cook County Health.

“With extensive clinical expertise and access to the most modern medical technology, the Stroger Hospital team has demonstrated their exceptional ability to care for those suffering from advanced forms of heart failure,” said Dr. Jay Shannon, CEO, CCH. “Our mission is to provide the highest quality of care to our patients and, while we excel in treating late stage disease, we continue to strive to prevent such serious illnesses whenever possible through primary care interventions.”

U.S. News evaluates hospital performance in heart failure using patient survival data and a variety of other factors related to care. To receive a national specialty ranking, a hospital must excel in caring for the sickest, most medically complex patients.

“This recognition is a testament not only to the skilled work and dedication of the staff in the Division of Cardiology, but also an acknowledgment of the contributions of each and every person involved in the care of patients with congestive heart failure. Our patients’ outcomes rely on us all, from personnel in the diagnostic laboratories and nurses in coronary care and short stay units, to care coordinators and physicians, all working around the clock to care for our patients,” said Dr. Rami Doukky, Chair of Cardiology, CCH.

U.S. News assessed data on almost 5,000 medical centers nationwide to help patients find the best place to receive treatment. Only 18 percent of hospitals nationwide were named High Performing in heart failure. Stroger Hospital offers a variety procedure that are crucial in the care of heart failure patients including advanced diagnostic cardiac testing, valve surgery, coronary artery bypass surgery, pacemakers, and implantable cardioverter-defibrillators.