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Heart Center at Atrium Medical Center Performs First Open-Heart Surgery

Middletown, Ohio, June 5, 2008 – On Monday, June 2, cardiac specialists at Atrium Medical Center’s new Heart Center performed the center’s first open-heart procedure, giving a 69-year-old female heart patient from Hamilton hope of improved health and a better quality of life. 

John M. Miller, MD, medical director for the open-heart surgery program, performed the procedure.  The patient’s coronary artery disease required a three bypass graft procedure (literally using veins from other areas of her body to bypass a narrowed or blocked coronary artery). In this case, the veins used came from the woman’s leg using a minimally invasive procedure. The name for her medical condition is a septal defect (hole in the heart) caused by a patent foramen ovale (a defect in the wall between the two upper chambers of her heart).

More than 80 million people in the U.S. experience one or more forms of cardiovascular disease—the leading cause of death in America, claiming more lives than cancer in both men and women.  Experts agree that timely intervention is the key to surviving an acute cardiac incident, such as a heart attack. 

“Knowing that in a heart emergency ‘time equals healthy heart muscle,’ we’re pleased that the Heart Center is now open, bringing a full range of advanced cardiac services to Butler and Warren county residents,” said Douglas W. McNeill, Atrium president and CEO.  “This landmark procedure marks a new era for local families. With the expertise of our comprehensive Heart Center now here, heart patients can remain close to home, surrounded and supported by those they love while they receive the highest level cardiac care.”

Located on the second floor of Atrium Medical Center, the Heart Center offers the region’s most sophisticated and comprehensive care for the diagnosis and treatment of heart disease and cardiac emergencies.  State-of-the-art procedures and services include:  

  • Electrocardiography
  • Echocardiography and ultrasound imaging
  • Stress testing
  • Nuclear myocardial perfusion imaging
  • Heart Failure Center (operated jointly with The Ohio State University)
  • Cardiac Rehabilitation
  • Pacemaker Clinic
  • Coronary and peripheral angiography
  • Cardiac catheterization
  • Coronary artery bypass surgery
  • Pacemaker implants and implantation of cardiac defibrillators (ICD)

These services will be expanded in the coming months to include interventional procedures, such as balloon angioplasty and heart valve repair and replacement.

Patients receiving these and other innovative treatments benefit from a new, specially designed facility that is private, comfortable and equipped with the latest technological advances for patient care and safety.  To promote a seamless flow for patients needing rapid, well-coordinated care, the Heart Center’s Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU), Cardiac Telemetry Unit (CTU) and Cardiovascular Surgical Intensive Care Unit (CVSICU) are located just steps away from the center’s digitally-integrated surgical suites and Cardiac Catheterization Lab. 

“Providing cardiac services and technologies that are centrally located and fully integrated ensures a higher standard of care, which can lead to better outcomes for our patients,” explained Dr. Miller.

Surgical patients in the 10-bed CVSICU benefit from spacious private rooms with overnight accommodations for a family member.  And cardiac patients never have to change rooms or units at Atrium.  Patients remain in the same bed, room and unit from check-in to check-out, ensuring greater comfort, a decreased risk of complications and a more personalized approach to care.

Dr. Miller emphasized that although the Heart Center’s physical surroundings are brand new, every member of the cardiovascular team is highly credentialed and experienced with the latest treatments and technologies.  “We’ve spent many months preparing not just to launch an open-heart program, but the premier cardiac program in the region,” he said.  “We’ve brought together a highly qualified, highly seasoned team that is well prepared to help our patients manage and overcome their heart illnesses.”

Cardiac care at Atrium Medical Center often begins in one of two dedicated critical care cardiac rooms in the hospital’s Emergency Trauma Center.  Since every second counts in a heart emergency, walk-in patients experiencing chest pains and those brought to the hospital by emergency medical services undergo a rapid and thorough assessment using advanced cardiac monitoring technology.

By providing ongoing education, assessment, prevention strategies and coordination of care, Atrium’s full range of heart services help prevent life-threatening complications and add years of improved health to the lives of people with heart disease.