Your heart is in good hands with Baptist surgeons
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Stepfanie Romine for Baptist Medical Foundation
When it comes to quality health care, you shouldn’t have to travel far from home — especially when it comes to matters of the heart. That’s why Baptist Heart aims to be far more than just a clinic for Jackson-area residents, the tri-county area and the entire state.
Conveniently located on the campus of Mississippi Baptist Medical Center, Baptist Heart offers complete heart and vascular care. The team at Baptist Heart offers a wide range of services, technology and expertise to keep your heart and your blood vessels healthy. Baptist Heart not only offers preventative care, maintenance and diagnostic tests, but their doctors can perform both outpatient and inpatient surgical procedures. And, their team provides rehabilitation to get you back on your feet and feeling like yourself again.
Mississippi Baptist Medical Center is known to be on the cutting edge when it comes to cardiovascular services. The hospital was first in the state to perform coronary artery bypass grafting (known as “CABG”). This procedure treats severe coronary heart disease and involves grafting a healthy vein or artery onto the blocked coronary artery which allows more oxygen-rich blood to get to the heart. Baptist was also the first private hospital in Mississippi to perform open-heart surgery.
Baptist is the first hospital in south and central Mississippi to perform transcatheter aortic valve replacement. Known as TAVR, it is used for the treatment of aortic stenosis, which happens when calcium deposits cause a narrowing of the large blood vessel that branches off the heart.
A surgeon inserts a valve through an artery in the patient’s groin, then uses a catheter to put the valve in position. It only takes 45 to 60 minutes in most cases — and patients are home the very next day with no restrictions on their activity.
The TAVR procedure can be used in older patients, or those who have moderate to high surgical risk due to other factors. In the near future, pending clearance by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, it may be used in some patients with low risk factors. Baptist’s valve team has the most experience in the area, with outcome results that are better than the national average.
Here are some of the other specialized procedures that Baptist Heart surgeons and their team perform in Jackson:
Minimally Invasive MAZE procedure
Atrial fibrillation is a condition that results in an irregular heartbeat (known as an arrhythmia), and this can lead to complications including increased risk of blood clots, stroke and heart failure. Its symptoms can include fatigue and shortness of breath.
To treat this, a surgeon performs a MAZE procedure. The doctor creates three or four pencil-size incisions on the left and right side of the chest. Then, using a camera known as a thoracoscope, the surgeon creates scars around left upper heart chamber, the atrium. This interrupts the abnormal electrical impulses, allowing the heart to beat with a normal rhythm. The surgeon also places a clip on the left atrial appendage (part of that same heart chamber) to greatly diminish stroke risk for the patient.
MAZE procedures have a high success rate for restoring normal heart rhythm, eliminating the need for blood thinners. Patients will be home from the hospital in just one to two days, with no activity restrictions. The doctors at Baptist Heart are the only ones in Mississippi performing this procedure.
Robotic valve surgery
This procedure is used to repair leaking mitral and tricuspid valves. (The mitral valve allows blood to flow from the left upper to left lower chambers; the tricuspid valve keeps blood from flowing backward from the right lower chamber to right upper chamber.) This procedure also repairs atrial septal defects, or holes in the heart.
“It’s a win-win for patients,” said William J. Harris, III, MD, a cardiothoracic surgeon at Baptist Heart.
“The most important benefit offered using the robot is an enhanced ability to visualize the heart valves as well as greatly improved ‘dexterity’ facilitated by the ‘wrists’ of the robotic instruments which mimic (and are controlled by) my hand motions,” said Dr. Harris. “These factors help to contribute to not only the possibility for a more accurate repair of the heart valve but also may actually increase the number of valves that can be repaired rather than replaced. The medical literature has long recognized that patients who have a repaired mitral valve (rather than a replacement) have better long-term outcomes.”
By using a robot, surgeons like Dr. Harris don’t need to open the sternum, making the procedure far less invasive. Instead, they use 8 mm incisions on right side of the chest wall to allow for great visualization and dexterity through the use of high-definition camera and robotic instruments.
And, this actually improves long-term patient survival — longevity is better when valves are repaired instead of replaced. This also means patients do not need to take Coumadin or anticoagulation drugs, which have inherent risks. Since the incisions are in the breast crease, the scars are less visible for female patients (compared with open-heart surgery).
There’s also a lower risk for postoperative complications due to bleeding. Patients can be home from the hospital in two to three days, with no activity restrictions. Mississippi Baptist Medical Center is the only hospital performing this procedure in Mississippi.
Minimally invasive aortic valve surgery
Baptist surgeons can also perform minimally invasive aortic valve surgery to repair or replace diseased aortic valves. This procedure requires one small (4- to 5-inch) incision and divides a small portion of the breastbone instead of the entire sternum.
It has a short operation time, and patients can be home in three or four days. They can also return to work and other activities faster than with traditional aortic valve surgeries.
These are just a few procedures that the team at Baptist Heart performs regularly. Learn more about some of the procedures offered, as well as the physicians who perform them.
All of these procedures require a highly skilled team of people, including specialized anesthesiologists, surgical technicians, perfusionists and nurses. Baptist Heart has a uniquely talented group of people who are well-trained and dedicated to delivering state-of-the art surgical care.
Make an appointment at Baptist Heart today. Call 601-968-1966.
Watch our Ask The Expert episodes with WLBT on Heart Health here:
What Heart Patients Need to Know About COVID-19
FOR PEOPLE WITH HEART CONDITIONS, COVID-19 is a real concern. Having any of the following heart conditions increases your risk of severe illness from COVID-19:
:: Heart failure
:: Coronary artery disease
:: Pulmonary hypertension
According to the CDC, other heart and vascular conditions such as high blood pressure or stroke, might increase your risk of severe illness from COVID-19 as well.
What you should do:
“There are several things patients can do to maintain heart health in general and during the pandemic.” says Dr. James Warnock of Baptist Heart. “Start by taking your medicines exactly as prescribed and follow your physician’s recommendations for diet and exercise while maintaining social distancing precautions (avoid crowds and stay 6 feet away from people not in your household), washing your hands often and wearing a mask while in public.” Adults with any of the above conditions are highly encouraged to obtain the COVID-19 vaccination when available.
Other suggestions include:
:: Continue angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE-I) or angiotensin-II receptor blockers (ARB) as prescribed by your physician for indications such as heart failure or high blood pressure.
:: Make sure that you have at least a 30-day supply of your heart disease medicines, including high cholesterol and high blood pressure medicines.
:: Do not delay life-saving treatment or emergency care. If you think you may be having a serious heart condition, go to your emergency department, or better yet, call 911.
For patients that have heart conditions that develop COVID there may be treatment options available that could reduce your risk of having a serious case. If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and have mild to moderate symptoms, please call your health care provider or 855-733-8864 for a telehealth appointment. Or, you can schedule through MyChart app or baptistmedicalclinic.org.