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Wrapping up Heart Month 2021: Three events to educate and inspire

Wrapping up Heart Month 2021: Three events to educate and inspire

Media Contact: Karina Rusk

Love your heart, we do!

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 655,000 Americans die from heart disease each year, that’s one in every four deaths and one person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease.

In order to provide the most up to date information on heart health and procedures, every February, Salinas Valley Health celebrates Heart Month with a free Ask the Experts event focusing on heart health. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions on large gatherings, Salinas Valley Health shifted gears and provided the community with not just one, but three Ask the Experts heart health virtual events!

If you missed these free events, don’t worry, you can still watch them. Learn more below.

Atrial Fibrillation and the Watchman implant

Cardiac electrophysiologist Dr. Harlan Grogin, MD, kicked off the series of presentations focusing on with Ablation. This is a procedure used to treat an irregular heart rhythm that starts in the heart’s upper chambers. Dr. Grogin also discussed the Watchman, an FDA approved cardiac implant proven to significantly reduce stroke risk from Atrial Fibrillation not caused by a heart valve problem.

“The Watchman procedure does not require open heart surgery,” says Harlan Grogin, MD. “We insert a narrow tube in to a blood vessel in the upper leg and guide it to the heart where blood clots form. Patients usually go home the next day.”

Salinas Valley Health Medical Center is the first medical center in the Tri-County area to offer the Watchman procedure.

To watch Dr. Harlan Grogin’s presentation, click here.

Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement

The second virtual presentation focused on Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement- also known as TAVR. Interventional cardiologist Dr. Patrik Zetterlund, MD, and cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Andreas Sakopoulos, MD, explained how they perform this procedure and discussed who is a candidate. This procedure is for people with moderate to severe aortic stenosis.

“This is a minimally invasive way to replace your aortic valve,” says Dr. Patrik Zetterlund, MD. “Think of the difference between having your chest cracked open and spending a week in the hospital versus going home the next day.”

“Not everybody is a candidate (for TAVR). There really has to be appropriate criteria,” explains Dr. Andreas Sakopoulos, MD. “However, I would say the vast majority of patients today can have a transcatheter valve replacement. We do need to do additional testing to make sure they can have it for anatomical reasons.”

To watch the TAVR presentation, click here.

If you would like more information about the Watchman and TAVR procedures, please contact Salinas Valley Health’s Watchman and TAVR program coordinator Anne Timberlake, RN. She can be reached at

Eating healthy for a healthy heart

Last but not least, Salinas Valley Health cardiologist Dr. Christopher Oh, MD, joined Salinas Valley Health Executive Chef and Director of Nutrition Services Jason Giles in a healthy cooking demonstration. In this virtual presentation, Dr. Oh and Chef Jason cooked a delicious and healthy vegetable curry with cauliflower and lentils dish while providing healthy cooking tips and advice on good nutrition for the entire family.

“Taking care of your heart also involves eating healthy,” says Christopher OH, MD. “Our modern diet in America consists of 70% processed foods.” In order to get away from processed foods, Dr. Oh and Chef Jason say to add more plant based foods to our diets and to plan your heals and menus ahead of time.

“Often, if we plan ahead and make a list and we follow a menu it generally will make it much easier to stay on task and keep that healthy perspective in mind when we’re cooking,” explains Chef Jason.

To watch the video click here.

Additional resources

For more information about our heart health Ask the Experts virtual events and to listen to podcasts about heart health and other cardiac procedures by Salinas Valley Health cardiologists, please visit our website

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