Hamilton Medical Center provides world-class cardiac care in Dalton


March 31 – In February 2021, the first open-heart surgery was performed at Hamilton Medical Center. Since then, doctors have performed more than 100 open heart operations at the hospital.

“We’ve done a huge number in a short time for a new program, and these are just the open cases,” said Dr. Jim Stewart, a Hamilton Physician Group board-certified interventional and structural cardiologist. “We’ve done over 100 of what we call structural cases. They’re minimally invasive cases, valve replacements, closure of birth holes in the heart. We’ve had a busy first year.”

Stewart said many heart surgeries can be done without opening the chest by making a minor incision and inserting a catheter.

“We can do valve replacements, stent procedures, close holes in hearts, which are often congenital or present from birth,” he said. “We can do mitral valve repairs. We can also close a small pocket in the heart that can lead to a stroke.”

Hamilton’s heart program is the result of years of planning, according to Jane Snipes, executive director of the Whitfield Healthcare Foundation, which provides fundraising efforts for Hamilton.

“The conversation started in 2015,” she said. “That was the missing piece of the puzzle here in Hamilton. We wanted to have excellent cardiac care close to home. Open-heart surgery gave us the impetus. offer. We got approval (from state regulators) in 2019 for open heart surgery and then started the recruitment process and built a team.

Hamilton Medical Center’s first cardiac team includes:

* Dr. Richard Morrison, a board-certified and New York University-trained cardiovascular surgeon, served as program director of cardiac surgery and performed more than 15,000 cardiac, thoracic, and peripheral vascular procedures in the region.

* Dr. Noah Jentzen, Cleveland Clinic-trained, board-certified critical care physician.

* Dr. Scott Hill, an anesthetist certified by the Medical College of Georgia.

* Dr. Y. Grant Kim, Yale School of Medicine board-certified interventional and structural cardiologist trained on a fellowship.

* Stewart, who was educated at Harvard and Yale.

* Dr. Nathan Schatzman, graduate anesthesiologist from Baylor College of Medicine.

* David Middleton, a Cleveland Clinic-trained perfusionist who has served as the chief perfusionist for several health systems. A perfusionist operates a heart-lung machine during heart surgery.

Some of the services offered by the Hamilton Core Team include:

* Ablation: Using energy to create tiny scars in the heart to block irregular electrical signals and heal arrhythmias (an irregular frequency or rhythm in the heartbeat).

* Angioplasty: Insertion of a catheter with a small balloon tip that is inflated to stretch an open artery.

* Atherectomy: Removal of plaque (atheroma) from inside a blood vessel. Atherectomy is performed most often in the major arteries.

* Coronary Artery Bypass Graft Surgery: Commonly known as Heart Bypass Surgery.

* Implantation of a cardiac defibrillator: Implantation of a cardiac defibrillator to stop a dangerous arrhythmia.

* Cardiac Computed Tomography (CT) Test: Using an X-ray machine to take detailed pictures of the heart.

* Complex aortic surgery: Replacement of the aorta from the aortic valve to the aortic bifurcation (where the aorta splits into two).

* Genetic Testing: To determine the best drug for a heart patient.

* Cardiac catheterization: Insertion of dye into a catheter to detect any blockage.

* Closure of the patent foramen ovale: Closure of an opening between the two upper chambers of the heart.

* Catheterization of the radial artery: Realization of a catheterization by the wrist.

* “Shockwave”: Using sound waves to remove plaque from arteries.

* Stenting: Insertion of a wire mesh tube to hold an artery open.

* Valve surgery: Repair or replacement of valves.

Stewart said developing heart disease is not inevitable, regular aerobic exercise and proper diet can help keep it at bay.

“Starting around age 40, maybe in the 30s for people with a family history of heart disease, people should be regularly checked for signs of heart disease, cholesterol checks, blood pressure,” he said. “Some things are going to be genetic and beyond your control. But the sooner you can spot them, the more likely they are to be treated successfully.”


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