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LMC Cardiac Rehabilitation Manager Earns Fellowship

John Leech, manager of Cardiac Rehabilitation at Lexington Medical Center, has become a Fellow of the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation (AACVPR). The organization recognizes excellence, professional achievement and outstanding service in cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation.

Leech_JohnTo become a Fellow, applicants must meet criteria including submitting a resume with a record of distinguished service in the field of cardiac rehabilitation, peer recommendations and evidence of a high degree of professional development and commitment. A committee considers each application when selecting Fellowship candidates.

“It’s an honor and privilege to be recognized for my contributions to cardiac rehabilitation at the state and national level,” Mr. Leech said. “Becoming a Fellow in AACVPR has strengthened my commitment to provide our patients with the best possible care.”

As Cardiac Rehabilitation Manager at Lexington Medical Center, Mr. Leech’s primary goal is to create a program that helps patients recover from cardiac incidents and teach them necessary lifestyle skills to prevent future incidents. That includes exercise, healthy nutrition, smoking cessation, stress management and relaxation training. Mr. Leech provides cardiac rehabilitation staff members with the tools and support needed to ensure that the hospital’s patients have the best possible experience and that the program meets and exceeds national standards.

LMC_0182Mr. Leech has worked in cardiac rehabilitation since 1984 in Texas, Wisconsin and South Carolina. He chose his career path after his father passed away from a heart attack. In addition, several other members of his family have suffered from cardiovascular disease.

In a letter to Mr. Leech announcing his acceptance as a Fellow, AACVPR stated, “Your service to AACVPR, to your profession and to your affiliate organization, as outlined on your application, set you apart as a leader and outstanding professional in cardiopulmonary rehabilitation.”

Cardiac rehabilitation is one component of Lexington Medical Center’s comprehensive cardiovascular care program. Affiliated with Duke Medicine, the hospital offers a full range of cardiac care including open heart surgery and therapeutic catheterizations. This year, the Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) awarded Lexington Medical Center the highest rating possible – a three-star rating – for its heart program. Only 15 percent of heart programs in the country have achieved a three-star rating this year.

Additionally, Lexington Medical Center has received full chest pain accreditation with percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) from the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care (SCPC). To receive this accreditation, Lexington Medical Center demonstrated its ability to quickly assess, diagnose and treat patients who may be experiencing a heart attack. By becoming an accredited chest pain center, Lexington Medical Center has enhanced the quality of care for cardiac patients and has showed its commitment to the highest standards.

LMC Earns Highest Rating Possible for Heart Program

Lexington Medical Center’s cardiovascular program has earned the highest designation given to hospitals – a three-star rating for heart surgery – from the Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS). For the year 2013, only 15 percent of heart programs nationwide have achieved this prestigious level, which is a designation that recognizes quality and clinical excellence.

The Society of Thoracic Surgeons has developed a comprehensive rating system for the quality of coronary artery bypass surgery among hospitals across the country. Lexington Medical Center ranked in the highest quality tier for 2013, earning the three-star rating. The STS 2013 analysis included more than 1,000 heart programs nationally.

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“The three-star designation shows that patients who undergo cardiac surgery at Lexington Medical Center receive outstanding clinical care along with the wonderful caring environment that the community has come to expect,” said Dr. Jeffrey Travis, Lexington Medical Center heart surgeon. “The three-star rating is widely regarded by clinicians as the gold standard by which to evaluate cardiac surgery programs.”

L to R: Dr. Steven Marra and Dr. Jeffrey Travis of Lexington Cardiovascular Surgery at LMC

L to R: Dr. Steven Marra and Dr. Jeffrey Travis of Lexington Cardiovascular Surgery at LMC


A Duke Medicine affiliate, Lexington Medical Center began its complete cardiac care program in 2012. The hospital expected to perform about 100 open heart surgeries each year. But the program has far exceeded expectations. To date, the hospital has performed more than 500 open heart surgeries. As reflected in the three-star rating, patients have experienced excellent outcomes.

Lexington Medical Center has also earned full chest pain accreditation with percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) from the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care (SCPC). To receive this accreditation, Lexington Medical Center demonstrated its ability to quickly assess, diagnose and treat patients who may be experiencing a heart attack. By becoming an accredited chest pain center, Lexington Medical Center has enhanced the quality of care for cardiac patients and has showed its commitment to the highest standards.

The hospital has continued to build its heart program by offering a variety of new services. This spring, Lexington Medical Center began to offer transcatheter aortic valve replacement, known as TAVR. This state-of-the-art cardiovascular technology allows doctors to replace the aortic valve without open heart surgery.

amberg_130115_564Additionally, Lexington Medical Heart Center now offers non-surgical closure for holes in the heart called atrial septal defects (ASDs) and patent foramen ovale (PFO). Like TAVR, this minimally invasive procedure eliminates the need for open heart surgery, resulting in shorter hospital stays and faster recovery.

Lexington Medical Center has also begun to use insertable cardiac monitors, commonly known as loop recorders, to diagnose heart rhythm problems. These small devices, placed under the skin with a small surgical procedure, monitor heart rhythms around the clock. While versions of this technology have been available for years, new loop recorders are as small as a paper clip and require an incision of just a few millimeters.

Importantly, quality oversight is part of LMC’s affiliation with Duke Medicine for cardiovascular care. Twice each year, Duke cardiologists and heart surgeons come to LMC to review heart surgery and catheterization cases with physicians. The Duke physicians also provide ongoing peer review and evaluate new procedures for both the open heart and Cath Lab programs. When the hospital performs new procedures for the first time, a Duke representative is usually present for support.

Lexington Medical Center’s work with cardiovascular care extends into the community with a robust heart education program. Heart disease is an epidemic in South Carolina. One out of every 3 people in South Carolina dies of cardiovascular disease. Lexington Medical Center is working to teach our community about risk factors, prevention and cardiac technology.

For more information about Lexington Medical Center’s heart program, visit LexMed.com

Speaking of Men’s Health

man at beachWhat do cardiology, internal medicine, oncology and orthopaedics have in common? They’re all specialties that will be represented at Lexington Medical Center’s June physician lecture, “Speaking of Men’s Health.” The free lecture will be held on Monday, June 23 at 6:00 p.m. inside the Lexington Medical Park 1 Auditorium on the hospital campus.

Four Lexington Medical Center physicians will speak on a panel during the lecture. They are David K. Lee, MD of Southeastern Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine, Bradley W. Word, MD of The Columbia Medical Group, James L. Wells III, MD of Lexington Oncology and William W. Brabham, MD of Lexington Cardiology. Each will speak about topics related to their specialties. The topics will include knee replacement, shoulder injuries, heart attacks, cardiac arrhythmias, vitamins, types of cancer, staying in shape as we age, and more. Then, members of the audience will have the opportunity to ask questions.

The event is free to the public. Light refreshments will be served. For more information, call Lexington Medical Center Community Outreach at (803) 936-8850.

“Speaking of Men’s Health” is part of the hospital’s monthly lecture series featuring medical topics that are important to our community. For more information on Lexington Medical Center events, visit LexMed.com.