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Advanced Heart & Vascular Institute

Advanced Heart & Vascular Care close to home

The Advanced Heart and Vascular Institute offers state-of-the-art, specialized care of diseases of the heart and vascular conditions. Our surgical team works closely with cardiologists, internal medicine and primary care physicians to diagnose valve disease early, utilizing advanced heart treatment technology. Cardiovascular imaging specialists use the latest including diagnostic evaluations with the latest 3-D TEE (transesophageal echocardiogram), to determine the type and severity of heart and valve disease, and plan treatment.  

Our physicians have the skill and experience to take on some of the most challenging and high-risk valve disease cases, as well as coronary bypass surgeries and treatment for congenital birth defects. We perform many of our surgeries minimally invasively offering patients a quicker recovery, less blood loss and better cosmetic results. The Heart and Vascular Institute offers a wide range of treatment options, not just for valve disease, but all cardiovascular procedures, including treatment of chronic arrhythmias and other conditions.


Patients may be referred by their primary physician or may request an appointment on their own. To schedule an appointment please call: 219-947-6711.

Finding the Best Treatment...for You

Our surgeons are among the Midwest’s most experienced heart valve specialists. They work collaboratively with the health professionals at Community Hospital and St. Mary Medical Center to offer a complete treatment program that includes disease management support essential to help patients live well with heart disease.

We are committed to using a combination of repair techniques to offer treatment options that are best for the patient.  Emerging research indicates that repairing heart valves and other cardiac conditions often offers the best long-term outcomes as well as eliminates the lifetime use of blood-thinning medications. Our surgeons are continuously exploring new approaches to care for patients with valve disease, in particular for those who might not have had other treatment options. 

Patients at the Advanced Heart and Vascular Institute also benefit from a dedicated quality care nurse navigator who guides them through every step in the process. We understand that heart surgery can be overwhelming for patients and their families. Our team is prepared to not only help you through surgery, but support you in making important lifestyle changes to stay heart healthy.

Specialists Treating Heart and Vascular Disease

Some of the area’s leading surgeons and interventional cardiologists have come together with our hospitals, bringing their expertise in valve disease, minimally invasive heart surgeries, heart assist devices and many complex procedures. Through this collaborative effort, the Advanced Heart and Vascular Institute can offer comprehensive solutions to patients with valve disease and complex heart conditions.

Meet Our Team

Cris Carlos, M.D.
Board Certified Cardiovascular Surgeon

Christopher Stone, M.D.
Cardiovascular Surgeon
Board Certified Surgery and Thoracic Surgery

Amjad Syed, M.D.
Cardiovascular Surgeon
Board Certified Surgery and Thoracic Surgery

Conditions Treated:

Atrial Fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation is a heart rhythm that consists of an irregular, fast upper chamber heart rate. Concerns with atrial fibrillation include:

  • fast heart rate which can cause discomfort;
  • loss of coordinated rhythm that lowers the efficiency of the pump
  • stasis of blood flow in the upper chamber can cause clots and lead to stroke or travel to other parts of the body.

The traditional treatment for atrial fibrillation is to control the rate of the heart rhythm through anticoagulation (blood thinners). Electrophysiologists can also treat atrial fibrillation in the cath lab through an ablation procedure.

The Maze procedure has evolved into a commonly used surgical procedure for heart arrhythmias. Other methods of ablation have been introduced into the operating room including cryoablation, radiofrequency and high intensity ultrasound.

Our surgical team has taken a very aggressive approach to atrial fibrillation because of the negative side effects of the rhythm. These procedures prolong the operation by 10-30 minutes, but do not increase the morbidity or mortality of the operation.  The approaches used are high intensity ultrasound (HIFU) for coronary bypass patients and aortic valve patients. 

Understanding Valve Disease

Valve Disease

Heart valves can become dysfunctional by becoming narrowed. This is usually caused by fibrosis (scarring) or calcification. The valves can also become insufficient or leaky. This occurs because of weakened leaflets, torn supporting structures or dilated annulus (surrounding ring to which valve attaches). Valve disease can occur in the Tricuspid, Pulmonic, Mitral and Aortic valves. Symptoms range from mild to severe, vary from person to person and can be different based on the valve involved. Depending on the significance of the disease, some conditions do not require surgical intervention while others do.

Tricuspid Valve Disease Symptoms/Treatment
Pulmonic Valve Disease Symptoms/Treatment
Mitral Valve Disease Symptoms/Treatment
Aortic Valve Disease Symptoms/Treatment

Structural Heart Valve Clinic

Structural heart valve disease is a condition where the valves do not work appropriately to assure blood flows appropriately through the heart. This can be inherited (congenital) or acquired. When the heart valves do not work properly, this could lead to stroke or heart failure. The Structural Heart Valve clinic uses a multidisciplinary approach to provide patients with complex heart valve disease treatment options that best fit their disease process.

Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR)

Much interest has been generated in the research and development of the transcatheter aortic valve replacement. The only patients considered are those who are not good surgical candidates due to increased risk factors. Patients with a bicuspid valve disease are not candidates for this procedure.

The Structural Heart & Valve Clinics at Community Hospital and St. Mary Medical Center currently offers screening for patients who might be appropriate for this treatment option. We offer the only fellowship-trained structural cardiologist on staff in Northwest Indiana who is experienced in performing TAVR procedures.

Our Valve Clinic coordinator is available to answer questions and schedule appointments with the appropriate health care specialist to help patients navigate the healthcare process. 

For more information about the Structural Heart Clinics at Community Healthcare System, call Valve Clinic coordinator at 219-836-4049.