Feb 03, 2014 at 04:31 pm by Staff

As the number one killer in America, the sheer volume of cardiovascular cases makes this specialty an attractive one for health systems and providers … both from the standpoint of searching for innovative ways to care for a large segment of the population and from the more pragmatic need to balance the bottom line.While most metro areas are lucky to have one center known for delivering quality cardiac care, Nashville has multiple options led by three highly regarded programs with numerous outposts and community clinics. In the last few years, Nashville has seen growth at Saint Thomas Heart, TriStar Heart, and Vanderbilt Heart & Vascular Institute. The following pages highlight just a few of the new procedures and technologies being used to innovate care and improve the quality of life for patients.In ongoing efforts to capture the hearts (bad pun intended) of patients and physicians, the area’s leading programs have raced out of the gate to be the first to introduce new procedures or to achieve accreditations. In August 2010, Saint Thomas West became the first in Middle Tennessee to earn certification from The Joint Commission for ventricular assist devices and destination therapy, a distinction Vanderbilt now also holds. TriStar Heart was the first in the state and among the first in the nation to achieve chest pain accreditation, which all the area’s key players now hold. As an academic medical center, Vanderbilt has been on the cutting edge of a number of research initiatives including being the first U.S. medical center to give patients recovering from heart failure the drug CGF2, which has been shown in trials to help re-grow damaged heart muscle.With program growth has come physical plant expansion, too. In January 2012, Saint Thomas Health announced the opening of the Saint Thomas Heart Ventricular Assist Device Center, which was one of only 33 dedicated VAD centers in the country at the time of opening. The following month, TriStar Centennial Medical Center opened its $150 million Heart & Vascular Center. And Vanderbilt Heart has just relocated key procedure areas to the Critical Care Tower, which connects to Vanderbilt University Hospital. (For more information, see page xx.)So who is the ‘winner’ in the highly competitive race to be crowned cardiac king in Middle Tennessee? Ultimately, the rivalry among the market leaders means the real winners are the patients, who are able to tap into the innovation that results from such competition, and the referring physicians, who now have a wealth of options to tailor treatment to best suit their patients’ specific needs.Cindy SandersEditor 

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