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The Mission Heart Advanced Cardiac Clinic is here to help give life back to those who never imagined feeling better -- much less recovering.  Thanks to the services offered and available through this clinic, patient Jean Matzke is doing a lot better now compared to a few weeks ago. "I was short of breath really often," Jean said. "I got to the place where I could hardly breathe from the kitchen to the living room. "A lot of these patients are elderly," Interventional cardiologist Dr. Josh Leitner said.

With Valentine’s Day dominating the February calendar, images of graceful, free-floating cherry-red Cupid hearts seem to be everywhere. Indeed, those cartoon hearts are not only the most widely recognized Valentine’s Day icon, but the heart also claims a symbolic place in our language: Have a heart, big-hearted guy, heartfelt emotion, bleeding heart, heart of gold, heart-to-heart talk, and on and on…But while we celebrate the emotional dimension of the heart, we should also remember the real-life, hardworking organ behind all that frilly imagery—the human heart. It spends its entire life at work, pumping 24/7 with no holidays and certainly no vacations.

Rodney Johnson from Simpsonville, S.C. seemed to be in great physical shape.  The 47 year old was physically active, with working out and bike riding as activities of choice.  But on 2/22/14, Rodney was in the middle of an 85 mile bike hike with some friends when he was found slumped over his bike with no pulse.  CPR was done at the scene and Rodney was flown via helicopter to Mission Hospital.  Today, Rodney is thankful to be alive and is even back to biking thanks to Dr. Stephen Ely, from Asheville Heart Associates, and the coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) Dr. Ely performed.  Learn more about Rodney’s story here


ASHEVILLE, N.C. (June 25, 2014) – Coronary Artery disease (CAD) is the leading cause of death in the United States for men and women.  Many people living with severe CAD may find themselves at some point needing coronary artery bypass surgery (CABG), and in western North Carolina, many of these people may be referred to Mission Health’s Heart Center for this procedure.  Mission Health’s Heart Center has earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval® for its CABG program by demonstrating compliance with The Joint Commission’s national standards for healthcare quality and safety in disease-specific care.

Health Tips

Don’t Wait! Call 911


It is natural to “wait and see” or call your doctor when someone is really sick. But if there is ANY chance that you or somebody near you may be having a stroke or heart attack, call 911 immediately. Every minute counts when life-giving blood isn’t reaching the brain or heart. Immediate response can prevent disability, or save a life.

Don't Drive! Call 911

Driving a heart attack patient to the emergency room doesn’t save time. It actually delays treatment, meaning the outcome could be DEADLY. Instead, simply call 911. The ambulance crew will start treatment the moment it arrives, with an emergency room and cardiac team prepared and waiting at the hospital. Plus, interventional treatment to open the blockage and reverse the heart attack can begin within minutes.

Swap Sugar for Health.

Simple sugars, such as sodas, candy, desserts and our Southern sweet tea, are bad for your heart as well as your waistline, ESPECIALLY if you have diabetes or are at risk for it. These sugars can raise a type of fat in your blood called triglycerides. Enjoy healthier snacks such as nuts, especially walnuts, which help your heart.

Celebrate Chocolate!

This Valentine’s Day, indulge yourself and your sweetheart with dark chocolate (not milk or white). Surprised? It contains FLAVANOLS, antioxidants that can lower blood pressure, improve blood flow to the brain and heart, lower cholesterol, and make blood platelets less sticky and likely to clot. Choose plain, high-quality dark chocolate, not candies with added sugary icings or fillings.

Get Double Benefits.

The same healthy lifestyle choices can raise your “good” HDL cholesterol and lower your “bad” LDL cholesterol. Regular aerobic activity such as walking, choosing healthy fats, losing weight if needed, and quitting smoking – which has an even greater impact for WOMEN than men.