Date: 11/28/2012

Expertise in Heart Valve Procedures

Cardiothoracic Surgeon Bradford Blakeman, M.D. (right) consults with patient Reginald Ramsey of St. John during a recent office visit. Dr. Blakeman is the director of the Heart Valve Institute.

When it comes to treating cardiac valve disease or complex heart conditions, the new Heart Valve Institute of St. Mary Medical Center offers the most advanced technology and expertise in one convenient northwest Indiana location. The Institute is home to one of the most experienced heart valve surgery teams in the Midwest; ready and equipped to help even the most challenging, high-risk heart patients live longer, more productive lives.

Medical director Bradford Blakeman, M.D., FACS, brings 19 years of surgical skills and expertise to the Heart Valve Institute, treating complex valve disease cases, coronary bypass surgeries and congenital birth defects. Cardiothoracic surgeon Cris Carlos, M.D. has more than 30 years of experience in cardiothoracic surgery. Together with the entire Heart Valve Institute staff, patients have access to the knowledge and expertise found in many university hospital settings conveniently located within the quality-filled, healing environment of St. Mary Medical Center.

“Patients with heart valve disease no longer have to leave the area to receive the best treatment available,” said Blakeman. “At the Heart Valve Institute, they can expect the same level of care found at an academic medical center, but with the convenience and comfort of a hospital close to home.”

“We’ve brought together a dedicated, quality staff that is prepared to help patients not only through surgery, but to make important lifestyle changes that will keep them heart healthy for the long run,” added Carlos. “We know that no single technique is right for every patient. At the Heart Valve Institute, our goal is to match the right team and treatment plan to each patient.”

Valve disease affects millions of people each year and causes range from birth-defects to aging or even infections. Patients now have a variety of treatment options available thanks to great advances in surgical techniques and technology in recent years.

“Today, many cardiac surgeries may be performed in a minimally-invasive manner,” said Blakeman. “This offers patients quicker recoveries and a better quality of life and longevity than ever before. We are committed to using a combination of techniques to offer treatment options that are best for each patient.”

The Heart Valve Institute provides high quality treatment for aortic valve replacement; mitral valve repair and replacement; tricuspid valve repair and replacement; adult congenital heart defect surgery; arrhythmia correction, coronary bypass surgery and more.

Advanced imaging is used to detect valve disease, including the latest 3-D TEE or transesophageal echocardiogram. This advanced technology records sound waves from a small wand lowered down the esophagus which helps physicians view three-dimensional images of the functioning heart, in real time, to determine the type and severity of heart valve disease, and plan of treatment. Other diagnostic technologies also are used including echocardiogram, transthoracic echocardiogram, cardiac catheterization, cardiac MRI, chest x-ray and stress test. The Heart Valve Institute team at St. Mary Medical Center works closely with the patient’s cardiologists, internists and primary care physicians to diagnose valve disease early.

The key to quality results, added Blakeman, comes from close evaluation of the patient and a collaborative partnership with their primary care physician to develop the right treatment plan.

“These surgeries require a complete team effort, and assembling these quality teams doesn’t happen by accident,” Blakeman said. “For the best outcomes, you need to have all these processes in line…advanced diagnostic technologies to detect valve disease, complemented by a team of specialists: anesthesiologists, surgeons, nurses, rehabilitation and support staff. Everything is done in the spirit of what’s best for our patients.”

Patients may be referred by their primary physician or may request an appointment on their own to the Heart Valve Institute at St. Mary Medical Center, 1400 S. Lake Park Avenue, Suite 300, Hobart. To schedule a consultation, call 219-947-6711. For more information, click here.