SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. — WVU Medicine Thomas Hospitals has expanded its advanced cardiac services to south and central West Virginia to include open-heart surgery.

The open-heart surgery program is in partnership with the WVU Heart and Vascular Institute.

“We are pleased to strengthen and expand our renowned cardiac program, allowing patients who need this life-saving procedure to receive it right here in the Kanawha Valley,” said Greg Rosencrance, M.D., president and CEO of Thomas Hospitals. “With increased access to specialty care – now including open-heart surgery – Thomas Hospitals is dedicated to saving lives and improving the health of patients throughout southern West Virginia.”

On March 26, Vinay Badhwar, M.D., executive chair of the Institute and chair of the WVU Department of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery, and Nestor F. Dans, M.D., performed the first open-heart surgeries at Thomas Memorial Hospital. James Lovejoy of Madison and David Atkins of Elkview, were the first two open-heart surgery patients.

“Consistent with the mission of the WVU Heart and Vascular Institute to bring our high-quality advanced care to our citizens as close to home as possible, I could not be more proud to participate in the seamless launch of open-heart surgery at WVU Medicine Thomas Hospitals,” Dr. Badhwar said. “The hospital leadership and the excellent staff exemplified teamwork at all levels for us to provide the same level of open-heart quality in Charleston as we would provide in Morgantown.”

Both patients underwent triple coronary artery bypass grafting operations to treat severe blockages in the heart arteries. Several other operations were also conducted on other patients last week. More operations are scheduled in the coming weeks.

Dr. Dans recently joined the WVU Heart and Vascular Institute at WVU Medicine Thomas Hospitals. His areas of clinical expertise include coronary artery bypass surgery, aortic and mitral valve replacement, and thoracic procedures.

“I feel privileged to join the excellent team at Thomas Hospitals as we rapidly grow the program with a quality first-and-always approach reflective of the excellent partnership with the WVU Department of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery in Morgantown,” Dr. Dans said. “It is particularly refreshing to see the genuine unity of all physicians, including cardiology, critical care, anesthesia, and others, that approach patient care as a team here at Thomas.”

The WVU Heart and Vascular Institute was named one of the top 50 cardiac surgery programs in the U.S. by Healthgrades. It is also the top-ranked cardiac surgery program in West Virginia by U.S. News & World Report

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