Raising the bar: 4 patient-centric goals from our exceptional heart surgery team.

by Abeel A. Mangi, MD
July 14, 2021

MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute has built a legacy of exceptional research, education, and patient care. Now, we are raising the bar in cardiac surgery, challenging ourselves to better serve our colleagues and our communities.

Our cardiovascular specialists are internationally recognized for their vigor, fortitude, and expertise. We are leaders in research, clinical, and surgical innovations for even the most complex heart conditions.

Still, there are ample opportunities to evolve our positioning and expand our reach within the communities we serve, nationally, and internationally.

Along with maintaining our high standards of patient care, the cardiac surgery team has chosen and committed to four patient-centric goals this year:

  • Renewing our focus on multidisciplinary collaboration.
  • Embedding our surgeons in the communities we serve.
  • Amplifying patient and provider education.
  • Expanding clinical trial research opportunities.

We have already begun moving forward with these projects, and in my first few months at MedStar Health, I am inspired by the inherent collaboration and enthusiasm of the cardiac surgery team to continually push the needle forward for our patients.

1. Renewed focus on multidisciplinary collaboration.

The most important factor we bring to the table is not a new cardiovascular tool or device. It is our way of using all our available resources in collaborative patient care.

At MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute, every patient gets access to the full team’s expertise. Interventional cardiologists, cardiovascular imaging specialists, and cardiac surgeons review complex cases together. Our multidisciplinary approach helps us produce a personalized treatment plan for every patient.

Our heart failure, valve, and structural heart disease specialists meet regularly because collaboration yields the safest procedures and best patient outcomes. As we always say, just because a patient is referred to a cardiac surgeon does not and should not mean surgery is the best next step.

The MedStar Health #cardiacsurgery team has a legacy of excellence. Now, we’re kicking it up a notch. Explore 4 key #patientcare initiatives we’re excited to achieve under the leadership of Chief Cardiac Surgeon, @abeel_mangi: https://bit.ly/3ib7fmT.

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2. Embedded surgeons in our communities.

Healthcare knowledge belongs to the people who need it—and we aim to share our expertise far and wide. As such, we are embedding our cardiac surgeons in the communities in which we live and work through:

  1. Social media outreach.
  2. Same-day virtual clinics for referrals and consultations.
  3. Staffing MedStar Health heart surgeons at more community clinics.

Social media platforms are a natural way to connect current and prospective patients with cardiovascular education. From self-care tips to identifying risks and recovering from surgery, our goal is to answer community members’ questions and reduce patients’ concerns about seeking care.

Through our same-day virtual clinics, referring cardiologists from any healthcare center can call to talk with a dedicated, on-call cardiac surgeon. We launched these clinics to answer patient and provider questions, expedite decisions around referrals, and reduce unnecessary patient travel.

In that same spirit, our cardiac surgeons will be staffing MedStar Health clinics closer to home for more patients. We are working to open a clinic in Reston, VA, another in Frederick, MD, and at least three more throughout the region. These clinics will deliver our top-tier surgical care to patients who wish to avoid traveling to Washington, D.C.

3. Amplified patient and provider education.

As an academic medical center, MedStar Health is focused on educating not only our patients, but also our faculty and staff. The expertise of our providers is unmatched. However, we live for the challenge of “what’s next”: discovering, learning, and teaching the seemingly endless flow of cardiovascular advancements.

We take a multi-pronged approach to covering all these bases outside our clinical duties. First and foremost, we play an instrumental role in educating the public on the dangers of heart disease. It is our duty to empower community members to recognize and seek care for heart conditions at the first sign of symptoms. The earlier heart disease is identified, the better the chances for positive outcomes.

Secondly, we are kicking off a continuing medical education conference series this fall to give regional and national health care providers access to our surgeons’ expertise in four complex topics:

Our goal is to encourage early identification of complex conditions, so community providers can refer patients to specialty cardiovascular care sooner in the disease process. Additionally, each of our surgeons leads an outreach program, delivering presentations to community providers on various areas of cardiovascular interest.

We will also invite outside speakers to MedStar Health to share their knowledge with our surgeons. When we pool our collective knowledge, we improve our chances to increase community awareness and reduce the burdens of cardiovascular disease, at home and abroad.

4. Expanded research opportunities.

I have a deep love of research, having led or participated in nearly 60 trials on repair and replacement of diseased heart valves; surgery for heart failure; patient selection for left ventricular assist devices (LVADs); and cellular therapy to treat advanced heart damage.

In the first three months of my tenure at MedStar Health, we have tripled our clinical trial portfolio. Every study we join has the potential to bring a novel treatment or rehabilitation approach to life or reveal a new utility for a proven therapy. Some of our recent trials have focused on:

  • Advanced treatments to reduce kidney complications after heart surgery.
  • Gene therapy for patients who are not eligible for heart surgery.
  • New devices to potentially treat mitral stenosis and mitral regurgitation.
  • Valve implants that can be placed through minimally invasive surgery.

In the future, we will develop specific channels of research within invasive heart surgery, including robotic surgery and further refinements to our exceptional heart transplant program and arrythmia surgery protocols.

For example, we were the first heart center in the region to offer the Epi-Sense System Hybrid AF Therapy by ArtriCure, a novel ablation treatment for atrial fibrillation that requires deep collaboration between our heart surgery and electrophysiology teams.

Our multidisciplinary mindset and focus on clinical research gives patients access to advanced treatments that are not yet widely available elsewhere. Explore current cardiac clinical trials.

Our promise to patients and the community.

We believe that each person should be treated with respect and dignity. We are thoughtful and deliberate about who we choose to operate on, always taking care to make sure that the benefits of heart operation far exceed its risks.

We are equally deliberate about making sure that every alternative treatment strategy has been thoroughly explored before making the decision to operate on someone, in close consultation with our colleagues from cardiology and other disciplines.

Ultimately, our goal is to ensure that each patient gets a therapy that is tailored to their own unique circumstances, and that they are intimately involved with that decision making process. That is how we accomplish the best cardiovascular outcomes for patients.

Do you need specialized heart care?
The cardiac surgeons at MedStar Health are here to help. Call 202-877-3627 or click below.

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Category: Health Innovation, Living Well     Tags: heart healthheart surgery