Stephen Silveria, 85, of Montoursville, was one of the first patients to use UPMC’s Advanced Heart Failure Telemedicine Clinic.

Steve received a congestive heart failure diagnosis in 2016. Since retiring to Montoursville with his wife Nancy 25 years ago, Steve’s experience with UPMC has extended beyond routine care several times. He’s received abdominal aortic aneurysm surgery, two hip surgeries, two hand surgeries, and gallbladder surgery all nearby in Williamsport.

At a recent appointment, Scott Rosenbaum, PA-C, recommended a new innovative approach to help manage Steve’s advanced heart condition. “He mentioned the program was being rolled out in the region, so I’d be one of the first people to use it,” Steve said.

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‘A Tremendous Benefit’

In the cardiology office at UPMC Williamsport, Steve took the next step in his heart care.

Following a recent hospitalization for heart failure, his cardiology team enlisted the help of their colleagues in Pittsburgh. Using a digital screen with live video and audio, two nurses at UPMC Williamsport connected Steve to a telemedicine consultation. This allowed them to collect his readings and share them virtually.

Meanwhile, nearly 200 miles away in Pittsburgh, advanced heart failure and transplant specialist Michael Mathier, MD, was reviewing his case and interpreting results using real-time information.

“To be able to see the collaboration of the Williamsport and Pittsburgh teams firsthand, knowing that your care is the priority, and what’s going on with you is being shared without physically having to travel to a big city is a tremendous benefit,” Steve says.

“Plus, Dr. Mathier is a character. His personality eased any concerns I had about virtual consultation for my care. We got to talk after the appointment, and he told me that congestive heart failure is a journey and that working hard in rehab sessions can make a large impact on my day-to-day lifestyle.”

After the appointment, Steve was able to utilize cardiac rehab programs at UPMC Williamsport to continue his care.

“It helped in the sense that I gained some stamina, but congestive heart failure in the summertime is very difficult,” Steve says. “Every breath feels like swallowing a gallon of water because of the humidity and dew point.”

‘Great Peace of Mind’

For Steve, the convenience of seeing a Pittsburgh-based specialist at his regular Williamsport facility made all the difference.

“Knowing you are talking to experts who deal with your scenario frequently is a great peace of mind,” says Steve. “It isn’t downplaying the doctors I have near me, but it’s the extra measure of assurance from experts within the UPMC system with advanced training in my disease that really helps.”

Steve understands his congestive heart failure isn’t going to miraculously resolve itself. But his team’s treatment plan pleased him. He also focuses on making decisions and planning his day to make it easier for him to live a full life.

“I am well up until about lunchtime, then I start going downhill,” he says. “So, I just focus on living the fullest life when I know I am feeling healthiest.”

For someone with six children, seven grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren, Steve understands the importance of his everyday health.

“The good Lord has been great and got me through 85 years,” says Steve. “At some point, you just focus on living every day as best as you can with the people you love.”

Many patients can benefit from telemedicine clinics. Telemedicine can help people who have limited medical options in their area or patients who cannot travel to see an advanced specialist.

For more information about the Advanced Heart Failure Telemedicine Clinic, visit the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute website.

About UPMC

Headquartered in Pittsburgh, UPMC is a world-renowned health care provider and insurer. We operate 40 hospitals and 800 doctors’ offices and outpatient centers, with locations throughout Pennsylvania, Maryland, New York, West Virginia, and internationally. We employ 4,900 physicians, and we are leaders in clinical care, groundbreaking research, and treatment breakthroughs. U.S. News & World Report consistently ranks UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside as one of the nation’s best hospitals in many specialties and ranks UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh on its Honor Roll of America’s Best Children’s Hospitals. We are dedicated to providing Life Changing Medicine to our communities.