posted on: 6/19/2017 10:18:07 AM
Health & Fitness Guest Columnist
Ron Pohl, MD, Cardiothoracic Surgeon
Ohio Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgeons, Inc
Division Chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery and Medical Director of Cardiac Surgery for Lima Memorial Health System
This month we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the open-heart surgery program in Lima. The program was initially started as a joint venture between Lima Memorial Health System and St. Rita’s Medical Center, under the leadership of Dr. Siavosh Bozorgi. The open-heart program was made possible by community leaders who fought long and hard to establish the program. Finally, after a five-year battle with the State of Ohio, Lima received the required Certificate of Need to establish the open-heart program.
The first open-heart surgery was performed on April 21, 1997 at Lima Memorial Health System. It was a monumental day in the City of Lima. Open-heart capabilities opened the door for the establishment of comprehensive heart services in our community, most notably interventional cardiology. Over the years, Lima’s medical community has experienced tremendous growth and has become a regional referral center for the surrounding rural hospitals. The cardiac program was also associated with an increase in the recruitment of additional medical and surgical specialists to the community, creating a halo effect. As more and more medical needs were being met within the community, fewer patients were required to leave to receive care at a tertiary center.
The program has continued to evolve, advancing the care of cardiac patients in Lima. Patients have benefited from improved access to care with our ability to perform increasingly more complex procedures. Currently, we perform about 360 open-heart surgeries per year, which includes coronary artery bypass, valve repairs and replacements and aortic surgery. A secondary gain related to the program has been the growth in the treatment of vascular and thoracic disease within the community. The endovascular treatment of abdominal aortic aneurysms and peripheral vascular disease is a direct result of the cardiac surgery team.
Most recently, we introduced hybrid operating rooms to further advance the care of patients with heart and vascular disease. This technology will position us to provide increasingly more complex and less invasive procedures in the future. It also allows a more formal heart team approach to treating heart disease with greater collaboration between cardiologists and cardiac surgeons to further individualize treatment of our increasingly older and sicker patients.
Presently, the treatment of heart disease is improving with better medications to lower cholesterol and control diabetes and hypertension. There is a much stronger focus on healthy diet and exercise to prevent heart disease. Obesity has become an epidemic in America. Still much work needs to be done with smoking cessation. The treatment of heart disease has seen a shift from surgery to angioplasty and stents over the past 20 years. In the next 20 years, we are likely to see better medications and devices in the treatment of heart disease.
It has been a very great honor to be a provider of cardiac care to this community over the past 20 years.
Originally published in The Lima News Health and Fitness section.