Quality heart care is a top priority at Sentara Heart Hospital, the only hospital in the region exclusively dedicated to cardiac care. That care shows: Sentara Heart Hospital consistently meets or surpasses the national averages of quality established for mortality.
For the 14th consecutive year, Sentara Heart Hospital has ranked among the nation’s best heart programs in U.S. News & World Report's Best Hospitals. In the 2014-15 report, Sentara Heart Hospital was listed 44th and is the only hospital in Virginia ranked among the top 50. The magazine sifted through data from nearly 5,000 hospitals.
If you need heart surgery, your heart is in the right place:
Sentara surgeons have performed the greatest number of minimally invasive heart surgeries in Virginia, with the top outcomes.
At Sentara Heart Hospital, the cardiothoracic surgery team has performed nearly 70 minimally invasive cardiac procedures, with zero patient mortality (deaths).
Today's technology in the operating room makes this surgery possible as well - there's greater visualization of the heart through the use of a small camera (an endoscope) that gives a possible 360-degree view of the heart. The image is magnified and projected in color on flat screens in the operating room, giving the doctor a better-than-the-human-eye look at your heart.
Minimally invasive surgery is not an experimental procedure, even if the term is less familiar than open-heart surgery. The first minimally invasive heart valve surgery was performed in 1996 by surgeons at the Cleveland Clinic and it is proving as safe as, if not safer than, open-chest surgery for some patients. As technology becomes more sophisticated, surgeons are developing more procedures that can bring these patient-friendly surgeries to even the sickest patients.
Who is on the Minimally Invasive Heart Surgery Team in the operating room?
A highly skilled multidisciplinary team of physicians and clinicians (perfusionists, physician assistants, surgical assistants, cardiac nurses and more) have been specially trained to perform minimally invasive heart surgery. While this team is the same that performs open heart surgeries that are not minimally invasive, these experts have undergone additional training for minimally invasive surgery.
The team is led by and the surgery is performed by the cardiothoracic surgeons, one of the most highly skilled specialists within the physician community. Cardiothoracic surgeons specifically, heart-lung physician specialists are the surgeons who perform all aspects of heart and lung surgery as well as heart transplants. If traditional open-chest surgery becomes necessary during the minimally invasive surgery, the cardiothoracic surgeon is already at your side and able to switch to the classic heart procedure immediately.
Cardiac anesthesiologists are also members of the heart surgery team. These physicians specialize in providing anesthesia care for patients undergoing cardiac or lung surgery. They have had years of training to become skilled in the medications and special equipment that keeps patients comfortable and monitors their health during surgery. Due to the unique nature of minimally invasive surgery, they have undergone special training specifically for minimally invasive heart surgery. This special training includes the use of transesophageal echocardiography for advancement of catheters and positioning of cannulas so that patients may be safely placed on the heart-lung machine.