Tag Archives: Lexington Medical Heart Center

Welcome Heart Surgeon Deyanira “Dee” Prastein, MD

Lexington Medical Center is pleased to announce that Dr. Deyanira “Dee” Prastein has joined the hospital’s network of care as a heart surgeon. She joins Dr. Jeffrey Travis at Lexington Cardiovascular Surgery, a Lexington Medical Center physician practice, to provide comprehensive cardiovascular care that meets the needs of our community. She is the first female heart surgeon in the Midlands.

Prastein_Labcoat_Standing_ORDr. Prastein has world-class training in cardiothoracic surgery, studying inside some of the most prestigious heart programs in the world. Her intensive work includes experience with the most state-of-the-art procedures available today.

Prior to joining Lexington Medical Center, Dr. Prastein was the lead cardiothoracic surgeon at Duke Regional Hospital in Durham, N.C. A graduate of the Medical College of Virginia, Dr. Prastein completed a general surgery residency at the University of Maryland and cardiothoracic surgery training at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine.

During her residency, she participated in extensive research on heart failure. She then worked at Papworth Hospital in England, a facility famous for being one of the first in Europe to perform heart transplants.

Dr. Prastein compares open heart surgery to an orchestra playing music.

“All of the players in the operating room have different roles and everything has to come together,” she said. “It’s paced so that things happen at the right time and tempo. Everyone knows the steps and what time to do certain things, and the timing matters.”

Dr. "Dee" Prastein and Dr. Jeffrey Travis of Lexington Cardiovascular Surgery inside Lexington Medical Center's open heart surgery suite.

Dr. “Dee” Prastein and Dr. Jeffrey Travis of Lexington Cardiovascular Surgery inside Lexington Medical Center’s open heart surgery suite.

Dr. Prastein decided that she wanted to be a heart surgeon while in medical school.

“I thought that cardiothoracic surgery was the most amazing thing you could do as a surgeon and doctor,” she said. “Our brain makes us human and the person you are, but none of that matters if you don’t have a working heart.”

Lexington Medical Center’s heart program is affiliated with Duke Medicine. Dr. Prastein learned about the hospital while working there. And she was impressed.

“Lexington Medical Center is very passionate about and dedicated to making its heart program succeed.”

She also liked that Lexington Medical Center has made efforts to make sure they have the best cardiologists and surgeons available, and supporting staff to provide top-notch care.

“I love what Lexington Medical Center has created. My goal is to make the hospital’s heart program grow and thrive. There’s a lot of goodwill and passion for treating patients with heart disease, and I want to make sure I’m part of that success.”

She understands that heart surgery is a scary proposition for patients and their families. So, she works to put them at ease.

“Right before surgery, I talk to my patients, hold their hand, look into their eyes and tell them, ‘I’m going to take good care of you.’”

She knows that heart surgery will improve their quality of life and help them to live longer.

Working as a doctor has been a dream of Dr. Prastein since childhood. She was born in Nicaragua and lived there until she was 10, when war led her family to move.

“When we lived in Nicaragua and the war started, I wanted to help people,” she said. “In my eyes, there were only two people you could run to for help – priests and doctors.

Obviously, I couldn’t be a priest, so I wanted to be a doctor.”

Dr. Prastein settled in Fairfax, Virginia, outside of Washington, D.C., with her parents and brothers. Her mother and father, a civil engineer, sent her to college at George Mason University, where she graduated with a degree in chemistry.

There, she met her husband, Jonathan. They’ve been married for nearly 20 years and have a son named Jascha, who will be two years old in March. In her spare time, Dr. Prastein enjoys spending time with Jonathan and Jascha, and running. She has completed five marathons.

“I am proof that you can do anything with hard work. I am truly living the American dream.”

Heart Surgeries and Procedures Continue at Lexington Medical Center

This week, a court ruling instructed Lexington Medical Center to close its third catheterization lab and second open heart surgery operating room. Acting in complete compliance, we will close them by the end of the week. Despite the closure of these two rooms, it’s important to note that Lexington Medical Center’s heart program continues to be operational. Heart surgeries and catheterizations will continue as they have for the last two years in our Duke-affiliated program.

LMC Open Heart SurgeryLast year, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) announced a “suspension” of the Certificate of Need (CON) program because the governor and the legislature failed to fund the program. DHEC advised Lexington Medical Center and other providers to proceed with needed projects during the “suspension” of CON. Projects that were undertaken would still require a license from DHEC.

At the time, our hospital operated two cardiac catheterization labs and one open heart surgery suite. Lexington Medical Center had the need for an additional catheterization lab and an additional open heart surgery suite. Lexington Medical Center requested and DHEC provided licensure for an additional catheterization lab and an additional open heart surgery suite. With DHEC’s approval, the units began providing care for our patients last year.

LMC’s heart program has been very successful in terms of quality, patient satisfaction and volume. This year, our team will perform more than 300 open heart surgeries. As the program has been very successful, we felt the need to add capacity to care for the increasing number of patients who choose to rely on our physicians and facilities.

A Columbia hospital filed a lawsuit asking that Lexington Medical Center not be allowed to use the new units to care for our patients. This week, a judge ruled that DHEC should not have granted the licenses without having already approved a CON for them.

What does this mean for LMC’s heart program? LMC will comply with the judge’s ruling and discontinue operating the units that were added until LMC receives a CON to do so, or until the CON law is reformed or repealed. We will continue to operate the previously existing catheterization labs and open heart surgery suite, and our Duke-affiliated heart program will continue to thrive and provide great care for our patients.

Unfortunately, in South Carolina, heart health is a significant issue and that will not change in the near term. We are responding to the health needs of the people we serve. All we can do is offer the best possible care for the people within our community, and have sufficient capacity to meet their needs.