Patients who once had to travel long distances to obtain sophisticated and comprehensive cardiac services now have access to specialized care closer to home. The Advanced Cardiac and Vascular Institute at Community Health System hospitals offers complex cardiovascular technologies and techniques previously found only in major academic medical centers.
Cardiovascular physicians who work at the Advanced Heart and Vascular Institute located at Munster Community Hospital, St. Catherine’s Hospital in East Chicago, and St. Mary’s Medical Center in Hobart provide a full range of cardiothoracic and cardiovascular services . In addition to conventional open-heart surgery, services include the latest minimally invasive techniques, off-pump bypass procedures, and innovative treatments for complex heart, valve, and vascular conditions.
“Our hospitals have a long-standing commitment to providing industry-led procedures performed with state-of-the-art equipment,” said cardiovascular surgeon Christopher Stone, MD, medical director of cardiovascular surgery at Community Healthcare System. “These technologies allow us to be avant-garde for the benefit of our patients. We know that patients have a better chance of achieving superior outcomes when they are treated in a center that sees a large number of patients, especially a center that is supported by the experts we have on staff here in the community health system hospitals.
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Cardiovascular surgeons, specially trained cardiologists, and electrophysiologists are on the front line of cardiac care at the Advanced Cardiology and Vascular Institute, identifying and treating heart disease. This highly skilled team works together to offer minimally invasive cardiac and vascular surgeries, structural cardiac procedures, cardiovascular imaging, cardiac and vascular interventions, heart failure treatment, electrophysiology, peripheral vascular approaches designed to save limbs, treatment of atrial fibrillation and arrhythmia, cardiac rehabilitation, research trials and prevention strategies.
Cardiology and heart surgery have changed dramatically since Stone said he started in the field. Today’s minimally invasive techniques provide patients with shorter hospital stays, smaller incisions, less scar tissue, less bodily trauma, less pain, reduced risk of infection, and faster return to activities daily.
Some of the more complex cardiac care offered by the Advanced Heart and Vascular Institute includes percutaneous mitral valve repair for mitral regurgitation (MitraClip®); left atrial appendage closure using WATCHMAN™ for stroke prevention in atrial fibrillation and minimally invasive treatments for aortic and mitral valve stenosis (including balloon valvuloplasty) and replacement of the transcatheter aortic valve (TAVR). Cardiac specialists at Munster Community Hospital successfully performed the first TAVR procedures in northwest Indiana on January 11, 2017.
Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement, or TAVR, is a less invasive approach that is best for patients who are weak, frail, or have co-conditions and are not ideal candidates for traditional open-chest surgery. The TAVR replaces the heart valve without removing the original damaged valve and without a sternotomy to surgically open the chest. Instead, the replacement valve is delivered through a catheter (small tube) to the site of the aortic valve. Once the new valve is dilated, it pushes back the original valve leaflets and the replacement valve tissue takes over the regulation of blood flow.
Performing the TAVR procedure requires a special “hybrid” operating room specially equipped with imaging systems that combine surgical procedures with diagnostic imaging like that of a cardiac catheterization laboratory.
“Community Healthcare System’s investment in the hybrid operating room is another example of our commitment to bringing the latest advancements in medicine to our community,” said Donald P. Fesko, President and CEO. “Combined with the expertise of our medical teams, area residents now have closer access to procedures that were previously available in Chicago or Indianapolis.”
For patients with leg vessel obstructions, the Limb Ischemia and Vascular Excellence (LIVE) program, also part of the Advanced Heart and Vascular Institute, offers a simplified approach to peripheral vascular disease (PVD). PVD is a condition in which there is not enough blood delivered to keep the leg tissue alive. Through the LIVE program, patients have access to some of the most advanced treatments available for VPD.
PVD affects one in 20 people over the age of 50. Without treatment, PVD limits the patient’s ability to walk normal distances and impairs daily activity. This serious disease process can actually progress to such an extent that a patient may require amputation. PVD does not affect just one part of the body; it affects the arteries, veins and skin and is closely linked to wound healing, diabetes as well as heart health.
Through the LIVE program at hospitals in the community health system, many specialties work together, from infectious diseases, wound centers and podiatry, to vascular surgery and peripheral vascular coordinators to ensure the best care and outcomes. for patients.
For patients with irregular heartbeats, Community Health System electrophysiology labs and clinics offer the most advanced equipment designed to diagnose and treat abnormal heart rhythms. The labs are staffed with registered nurses, X-ray technicians, cardiology and data technicians who provide expert care to patients with heart rhythm-related health issues. Electrophysiology labs and clinics are also part of the specialized cardiac care offered by the Advanced Heart and Vascular Institute.
To learn more about advanced specialty care and medical services available for complex heart conditions, visit comhs.org. Look for the “Find a doctor” tab at comhs.org to find the right doctor for your condition or call 219-836-3477 for a free doctor directory service.
Cutting line (photo by TAVR Surgical Team):
The surgical support team for the first TAVR procedure performed in northwest Indiana at the Community Hospital includes nurses and technicians from multiple disciplines, including surgery, cardiac catheterization, imaging, and anesthesia.