Cardiac Surgery Program Achieves 25-year

Since John R. Garrett, MD, FACS started the cardiac surgery program at Virginia Hospital Center in 1989, the program has continually evolved, setting new standards for excellence in cardiac care. Led by Dr. Garrett as Chief of Cardiac, Vascular &Thoracic Surgery, the program has received national recognition for consistently providing excellent patient outcomes. Compared to 25 years ago, the cardiac surgery experience is very different for today’s patients. Back then, patients were admitted to the hospital the day before surgery and typically stayed about a week. Heart surgery procedures required a large incision in the chest bone to access the heart. Now, patients are admitted the morning of surgery. Many procedures are done minimally invasively through small incisions, which reduces pain and shortens recovery time. Physical therapy starts the day after surgery and patients typically go home two days after that. Within six to eight weeks, many are back doing normal activities.
While much has changed in the cardiac surgery program throughout 25 years, what has stayed the same is “a shared pursuit of excellence — to be the best and provide the highest quality of care,” says John W. Rhee, MD, FACS. “This commitment pervades all aspects of the program, from the OR and CVICU, to nursing, anesthesia and all departments involved in cardiac patient care. It has been integral to the program since its inception and it is why we are able to achieve high quality outcomes and superior patient satisfaction.” In recent years, the number of cardiac surgeries at Virginia Hospital Center has increased significantly, making it the fastest growing cardiac surgery program in the area. Becker’s Hospital Review has named Virginia Hospital Center one of the “100 Hospitals and Health Systems with Great Heart Programs” for 2014-2015.
“The ability to handle complex cases such as the ones Dr. Garrett and Dr. Rhee perform every day sends a strong signal to the community that Virginia Hospital Center has the staff, physicians and expertise to take care of the sickest patients,” says Jeff DiLisi, MD, Senior Vice President & Chief Medical Officer. For the second year in a row, Virginia Hospital Center has been named one of America’s 50 Top Cardiovascular Hospitals® byTruven Health Analytics in an annual quantitative study that identifies the nation’s best providers of cardiovascular services among more than 1,000 U.S. hospitals. Virginia Hospital Center is the only hospital in the Washington, DC metro area and the state of Virginia to receive this honor.
50 Top Cardiovascular Hospitals deliver better outcomes while operating more efficiently and at a lower cost. Patients treated at the winning hospitals have:
  • Markedly better survival rates
  • Shorter hospital stays
  • Fewer complications
  • Better long-term outcomes
John Golden, MD, FACC, interventional cardiologist for Kaiser Permanente and Co-director of the Louise Sands Olmstead CardiacCatheterization Lab, says, “The 50 Top recognition validates the extraordinary performance of all of those involved in the care of our cardiac patients at Virginia Hospital Center. It is a source of pride for our patients and motivation for our staff.”
“The ongoing excellence of the cardiac surgery program demonstrates Virginia Hospital Center’s unwavering commitment to the health and wellbeing of the community,” says James B. Cole, President & Chief Executive Officer. “We look forward to seeing what Dr. Garrett and Dr. Rhee — and the next generation of cardiovascular surgical leaders — bring us over the next 25 years.”

For more Winter 2015 Newsletter Articles, click here.

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