Sanger Heart & Vascular Institute (SHVI) continued to attract national visibility by becoming one of only a handful of specialty providers implanting a new type of heart pacemaker that can tolerate magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). In fact, the first such implant performed in North Carolina was completed successfully at Carolinas Medical Center (CMC) in February. Previously, patients with implanted pacemakers were not able to undergo MRI due to the risks of electronic interference, damage to components or dislodgement.
CHS selected Charles R. Bridges, MD, ScD, a renowned heart surgeon and scientist, to chair the Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery at CMC. Dr. Bridges' extensive background in cardiovascular medicine includes minimally invasive heart surgeries and valve procedures.
His capabilities allow patients to receive "transfusion-free" or "bloodless" cardiac surgery that historically has been performed on patients with religious beliefs that do not allow blood transfusions. Another widely recognized vascular surgeon, Frank R. Arko, MD, who focuses on repairs of the aorta, also joined SHVI during the year.
Heart specialist Benjamin Peeler, MD, continued to earn recognition for his achievements in healing the smallest of hearts. He and his team at Levine Children's Hospital attracted notice throughout the year by attaining survival rates that surpass national averages, putting Levine Children's Hospital on a par with other world class pediatric specialty hospitals.