Tag Archives: Heart

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

LMC to Offer Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement

This year, Lexington Medical Heart Center will begin offering 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.

Dr. Robert Leonardi of Lexington Cardiology

Dr. Robert Leonardi of Lexington Cardiology

“TAVR is the single most important advance in interventional cardiology since coronary angioplasty,” said Dr. Robert Leonardi of Lexington Cardiology, a Lexington Medical Center physician practice.

He will perform TAVR procedures as part of a highly skilled cardiac care team that includes Dr. Robert Malanuk of Lexington Cardiology and Dr. Jeffrey Travis of Lexington Cardiovascular Surgery, a Lexington Medical Center physician practice, as well as nurses, technicians and a cardiovascular anesthesiologist.

Currently, TAVR is for patients with severe aortic stenosis who are not candidates for open heart surgery because of their age, history of heart disease, or other health issues.

Patients with severe aortic stenosis have a narrowed aortic valve that does not allow blood to flow efficiently. As the heart works harder to pump enough blood through the smaller opening in the valve, the heart eventually becomes weak. Over time, that can lead to life-threatening heart problems.


TAVR offers a less invasive option than open heart surgery. To replace the diseased aortic valve, the new aortic valve is compressed into a tube-like device called a delivery catheter that’s slightly wider than a pencil. Doctors insert the delivery catheter and the new aortic valve into an artery and thread the catheter through the body to the inside of the diseased aortic valve. Then, doctors deploy the new valve from the delivery catheter inside the diseased aortic valve, which becomes the anchor for the new valve. The new valve is functional immediately and normal blood flow is restored.

Lexington Medical Heart Center will use the Edwards SAPIEN Transcatheter Heart Valve. It’s made of bovine tissue with a stainless steel frame. The TAVR procedure takes less than two hours.

“The main benefit is that patients feel better and live longer,” Dr. Leonardi said.

Studies show that TAVR reduces the mortality rate in patients by 20% in the first year after the procedure.

“Patients often want to know if there’s something we can do to make them feel better,” he added. “TAVR allows that to happen.”

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For more information on Lexington Medical Center’s complete cardiac care program, visit LexMed.com.