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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

Rethinking a Summer Staple for July 4th

As the weather heats up, outdoor grills come out of hiding. July 4th gatherings often center around cooking in the great outdoors. And what holiday party would be complete without a hot, perfectly grilled burger. Consider these modifications to build a better, healthier burger.US_Flag

Choose your meat wisely. If ground beef is a must, choose a leaner variety such as ground sirloin. Ground sirloin or, even better, 93%/7% lean beef deliver great beef flavor but with less total and saturated fats. Ground turkey breast or even buffalo are other good options but will require some tricks to ensure a juicy burger. Try adding some slow cooked onions to the meat prior to making your patties. Or add cooked spinach (squeezed dry) and feta for a Mediterranean style burger.

Burgers
Go fishing. Fish burgers will provide even less saturated fat and more of the heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Roughly chop a cooked skinned salmon filet or sushi grade tuna steak and gently mix with scallions and other desired seasonings. Don’t over handle the fish however or you’ll end up with a mushy burger. If you have time, allow the patties to chill in the refrigerator before cooking so that they hold their shape. Or add an egg and breadcrumbs to bind the patty. Brush the grill grates with olive oil to prevent the burger from sticking.

Veg out. Frozen veggie burgers can be a great alternative if chosen wisely. Look for burgers with less than 500 mg of sodium per serving. Read the ingredient list and be sure you can identify most of the ingredients listed. “Textured vegetable protein” refers to the soy protein often used in veggie burgers. Veggie burgers should provide 5 g protein per serving if they are to be the only protein source at your meal. Another healthy and delicious vegetarian option is a grilled portabella mushroom cap. Combine garlic, balsamic vinegar and olive oil, brush over the portabella cap and let sit for 30 minutes prior to grilling for a meaty taste.

tomatos green bowlPile on the veggies. The skies the limit when adding veggies to top off your burger. Tomato season perfectly coincides with grilling season. Romaine lettuce adds the perfect crunch. And grilled or raw, pile on the onion of your choice.

Banish the bun. Why not serve your burger wrapped in a lettuce leaf or on top of fresh salad greens. If using the basic bun, serve our burger open faced or choose whole wheat buns with > 2 g fiber per serving.