Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital Celebrates 10 Years of Excellence in Heart and Vascular Care
In 2007, Leszek Gorski needed heart valve replacement surgery. He consulted with Mahesh Ramchandani, M.D., cardiothoracic surgeon at Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital. “Dr. Ramchandani told me this would be the first open heart surgery at Houston Methodist Sugar Land, and he asked me if I would agree to be patient No. 1,” Gorski recalled. “I said, ‘I’m always No. 1! Definitely, let’s do it!’”
Gorski knew it was time to consult a specialist when he started having difficulty breathing and even lost consciousness several times. Tests revealed that Gorski’s aortic valve was abnormally small, a condition he was likely born with. Valve disease can affect any of the four heart valves and may be the result of a birth defect, aging or infections. In addition to shortness of breath and fainting, other symptoms of valve disease may include fatigue, chest pain and swelling of the ankles, feet or abdomen.
For Gorski, the best treatment option was to replace his defective aortic valve with a pig valve. Ramchandani and his associate, Uttam Tripathy, M.D., a cardiothoracic surgeon at Houston Methodist Sugar Land, performed the surgery with Zbigniew Wojciechowski, M.D., the anesthesiologist in charge. The surgery was a success and marked not only a return to health for Gorski, but the beginning of 10 years of leading heart and vascular care at Houston Methodist Sugar Land.
“The Heart & Vascular Center really started in 2006,” said B. Keith Ellis, M.D., medical director of cardiovascular services at Houston Methodist Sugar Land. “That’s when we instituted the STEMI program,” Ellis explained. ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) heart attacks involve a complete blockage in a coronary artery and carry a high risk of death or disability. To handle STEMI heart attacks, a hospital must have a cardiologist and cardiac surgeon on call and must meet the national benchmark of treatment within 90 minutes. “To get that program up and going and deliver good results was a major accomplishment. It helped us solidify our relationships with surgeons and improve outcomes for patients,” Ellis said.
Using its STEMI and open-heart surgery programs as a springboard, the Heart & Vascular Center continues its pursuit of excellent care and leading-edge medicine. “We work hard to make sure patients receive the most technologically innovative care available,” Tripathy added. To that end, the Heart & Vascular Center creates a heart team consisting of a general cardiologist, an interventional cardiologist, a cardiovascular anesthesiologist and a cardiovascular surgeon for every patient who needs open heart surgery.
“The team discusses each case and decides the best treatment strategy, so patients aren’t getting just one doctor’s opinion, but are accessing a collaboration of doctors across various specialties,” Tripathy explained. “It really ensures that patients get the latest and most evidence-based treatment strategy.” Plus, the doctors at the Houston Methodist Heart & Vascular Center at Sugar Land work closely with their colleagues within Houston Methodist Hospital in the Texas Medical Center, creating a supportive and collaborative environment that ensures top-notch patient care.
“We’ve grown our expertise not only by recruiting more surgeons of the highest quality but by adding the intensivist program to deliver the best postoperative care,” said Ramchandani, now vice chair and section chief for cardiovascular surgery at the Houston Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center. Intensivists — doctors specializing in critical care in the intensive care unit (ICU) — ensure that postoperative patients and the critically ill get round-the-clock medical care adapted to the unique needs of ICU patients — typically only found in the largest teaching hospitals.
ADVANCED CARDIOVASCULAR CARE
Patients with the following medical conditions receive innovative care at the Heart & Vascular Center:
- Acute stroke
- Cardiac arrhythmias
- Chronic total occlusion
- Congenital heart defects
- Coronary artery disease
- Peripheral arterial disease
- Pulmonary embolus
To schedule an appointment with a cardiologist at Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital, visit houstonmethodist.org/spg or call 281.274.7500 to find a doctor in your area.
To see Houston Methodist Sugar Land’s world-class team of cardiologists, surgeons, specialists and support staff in action, visit bit.ly/heartvideo-sl.