Renowned Cardiovascular Surgeons To Lead MemorialCare Heart & Vascular Institute

Nationally renowned cardiovascular surgeons Marc Sakwa, M.D. and Jeffrey Altshuler, M.D. are bringing their leadership, surgical advancements and world-class expertise in minimally invasive heart surgery for complex heart procedures to MemorialCare Heart & Vascular Institute, continuing the expansion and development of cardiovascular care services and the legacy of MemorialCare clinical pioneers and innovators in Southern California.

MemorialCare named Dr. Sakwa its System Chief of Cardiovascular Surgery for MemorialCare Heart & Vascular Institute and Medical Director of Adult Cardiovascular Surgery at Long Beach Medical Center. Dr. Altshuler will lead MemorialCare Heart & Vascular Institute as Medical Director of Cardiovascular Surgery at Saddleback Medical Center in Laguna Hills. MemorialCare also includes Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach, MemorialCare Medical Group, Greater Newport Physicians and over 200 community-based healthcare locations from the South Bay to Southern Orange County.

Dr. Sakwa and Dr. Altshuler are globally recognized for performing thousands of minimally invasive open-heart valve surgeries–among the largest number of these advanced procedures available only at a limited number of hospitals. With the addition of Dr. Sakwa and Dr. Altshuler, MemorialCare is now offering aortic and mitral valve heart surgery with two- to three-inch incisions in the chest instead of the six- to eight-inch wider incisions through the breastbone required with traditional open-heart surgery. Significant advantages of this minimally invasive surgery includes quicker recoveries, reduced hospital stays, less post-operative pain, smaller scars, better cosmetic results and earlier return to normal activities.

MemorialCare Heart & Vascular Institute facilities are among the most comprehensive centers for diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of cardiac disease, providing groundbreaking care for complex heart conditions, including myocardial infarction, heart failure, arrhythmias and peripheral vascular disease.

“We’re thrilled to work with remarkable MemorialCare cardiologists, cardiovascular surgeons, nurses and other clinicians —long-time leaders in minimally invasive, life-saving and -enhancing heart and vascular procedures,” says Dr. Sakwa. “Together, the team will continue to determine the highest quality, least invasive and most successful approaches based on each patient’s individual needs.”

“The addition of minimally invasive heart valve surgery without the need to open up the sternum means younger patients with valve disease may now be treated at an earlier age and elderly patients considered high-surgical risks for heart surgery can also take advantage of less invasive techniques,” adds Dr. Altshuler.

They are joining MemorialCare from Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Mich., a 1,070-bed academic, research and referral center where Dr. Sakwa was Chief of Cardiovascular Surgery and held an Endowed Chair in Cardiovascular Surgery, and where Dr. Altshuler was also an esteemed cardiovascular surgeon. Beaumont ranks in U.S. News & World Report Top 20 Best Hospitals for Cardiology and Heart Surgery.

“We’re honored that Dr. Sakwa and Dr. Altshuler—extraordinary cardiovascular surgeons in the forefront of heart care—chose to lead and perform surgeries at MemorialCare Heart & Vascular Institute,” says Barry Arbuckle, Ph.D., MemorialCare President & CEO. “Their leadership and collaboration with our team of preeminent cardiovascular surgeons, medical and interventional cardiologists, electrophysiologists and other heart and vascular clinicians will continue to ensure and enhance access to outstanding care.”

MemorialCare Heart & Vascular Institute—delivering nearly 20,000 cardiovascular diagnostic tests and treatments last year–continues to push the boundaries of discovery with many “firsts.” These began 70 years ago when world-renowned cardiologist, researcher and educator—the late Mervyn Ellestad, M.D.—co-invented at Long Beach Medical Center the modern-day maximum stress test to detect heart disease. Today millions of exercise stress tests performed annually save hundreds of thousands of lives globally.

Other MemorialCare Heart & Vascular Institute innovations changing the course of care worldwide include the first blood test to determine the severity of a myocardial infarction, first cardiology computer registry, first computer program to detect the size and location of a myocardial infarction, and among the first two hospitals to establish a chest pain center and use a blood bank for open heart surgery. The late Long Beach Medical Center cardiologist John Messenger, M.D. national pioneer and researcher in pacemakers, revolutionized the size, placement and longevity of the device. Long Beach Medical Center was also the region’s first to implant an artificial heart value and among California’s first to perform angioplasty.

Widely considered among the most important endovascular surgery pioneers, Rod White, M.D., Long Beach Medical Center Vascular Surgery Director and his colleagues revolutionized vascular surgery with a novel endovascular device that replaced open surgery as the most common method to repair the body’s main artery. And cardiologist Gregory Thomas, M.D., a MemorialCare Heart & Vascular Institute Program Director, is globally recognized for leading research of mummies to search for signs of heart disease millennia ago.

MemorialCare Heart & Vascular Institute continues to provide the most advanced programs and services in cardiovascular care. All of its medical centers offer the revolutionary minimally invasive Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) procedure, which allows treatment for patients once considered “inoperable” as well as Hybrid Cardiovascular Operating Suites featuring highly advanced technology combining the diagnostics and capabilities of a catheterization laboratory with surgical functions of an operating room.

With one of the nation’s largest children’s hospitals on its Long Beach campus, Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital and Long Beach Medical Center are among a few California hospitals offering comprehensive congenital cardiac and surgical care to all ages—from the tiniest newborns, to transitioning adolescents, through adulthood. It also provides comprehensive cardiac care for children as early as in utero, through young adulthood and is one of the region’s only dedicated Pediatric Cardiothoracic Intensive Care Units with 24-hour monitoring following surgery or cardiac catheterization.-NS Medical Devices

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