Make the smart choice for your heart surgery

January 27, 2019

Choosing a health care provider is a very personal thing. Many people rely on their friends’ recommendations, as well as how close the doctor is to their home, and maybe they will take a look at their experience. It’s this last part I would like to focus on, and show you why the cardiac surgery team at King’s Daughters Medical Center is the smart choice for heart surgery.

With heart surgery, there are certain outcomes we strive for. Those outcomes are measured and reported by the Society of Thoracic Surgeons. You can find their website at sts.org. The team at King’s Daughters reports our data in three areas:

• Open-heart surgery (known as coronary artery bypass graft, or CABG)

• Aortic valve replacement (AVR)

• A combined report on CABG and AVR, our two most commonly performed procedures

We are very confident in our numbers and our program. We encourage patients to review our clinical quality so they can make a good decision on where to seek heart care.

You may be surprised to see our team talk about valve replacements. For years, when people said “heart surgery” they meant the traditional bypass graft procedure. Not anymore. We are doing more and more valve replacements for adult patients of all ages.

It has become a regular part of our surgical practice, and our outcomes are very good. We offer several options for valve replacement surgery, depending on a patient’s needs.

When it comes to choosing a surgeon, you want one with whom you feel comfortable. We encourage patients to look at our background, training and experience, so they can be assured they are in the very best hands.

You also want a surgeon you can talk to. My colleagues and I strive to talk at length with every patient and their families. We try to lay out a clear picture of our treatment plan, what to expect, and what will be best during recovery. It’s one of the most important things we do. In fact, when a heart surgery patient leaves the hospital we give them our personal phone numbers in case they have a question or a problem.

As a patient, you have trusted us with your life. We want to stay in contact and help you in any way we can after surgery. My colleague Juan Bastidas, M.D., says: “Open heart surgery can be life-changing and life-saving. I knew after the first operation that I did that I was in the right place, and that this is what I wanted to do — to help people.”

Lastly, while it’s important to know and feel comfortable with your surgeon, the surgeon is part of a larger team. We rely on a very experienced group of nurses, anesthesiologists, perfusionists, and scrub technicians to provide patients the very best care. The team at King’s Daughters is very experienced, having performed these procedures hundreds — and sometimes thousands — of times. A team that works well together produces superior results, and our team does that.

As my colleague Eric Bronstein, M.D., says: “Cardiac surgery is a real team approach. It takes a multidisciplinary approach between different physicians, surgical assistants, nursing staff, and clinical support. I’ve been to multiple other programs in the northeast. I’ve been here nearly eight years now, and in practice over 22 years. This is one of the best teams I’ve come across. This team is dynamite.

“Cardiac surgery is a team sport. It involves many different, integrated services, working to give us the final end product. For the patient, it’s an excellent outcome. That’s all that matters at the end of the day.”

Dr. Fried is a cardiothoracic surgeon at King’s Daughters Medical Center in Ashland. He practices with fellow surgeons Juan Bastidas, M.D., and Eric Bronstein, M.D.

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