When heart attack strikes, time is of the essence. In 2023, Saint Thomas Rutherford will make it possible for those needing open heart surgery to have it closer to home instead of going to Nashville. They are currently looking for two heart surgeons to join the Ascension Saint Thomas Rutherford Heart team.
In June Saint Thomas Rutherford’s Certificate of Need application to the Tennessee Health Services and Development Agency to begin providing open heart surgery in Murfreesboro was unanimously approved. This will allow the hospital to add to the services already provided by Saint Thomas Rutherford Heart.
“We have the foundation in place,” said Gordon Ferguson, President and CEO Saint Thomas Rutherford. “It was not that long ago that we started doing interventional cardiology work. It was pioneered here by Dr. Brett Mioton.”
Saint Thomas Rutherford Heart has been adding to their comprehensive heart care services in recent years, including those offered by Dr. Hady Lichaa. Dr. Lichaa came to the community about two years ago and he has built upon the base already there with his addition of the latest technology in interventional cardiology. He has had many articles on his techniques published all over the world.
One of the procedures that Lichaa performs is atherectomy. It is a less invasive means of ridding blood vessels of blockages. A small catheter is sent up through the wrist rather than the groin to remove plaque. It is performed with a local anesthesia. Because it is less invasive, it causes less bleeding and patients can go home the same day.
He also fixes other heart issues and abnormalities without the use of invasive surgery. While new technologies and techniques are lessening the need for open heart surgery, when the need arises it is better to be closer to home. Having heart surgery in Murfreesboro will also open doors to other cardiac care.
“Right now, we are able to do most of the advanced interventions [in Murfreesboro],” said Dr. Lichaa. “However, there are some I still need to go to Nashville to do there, but once we have open heart surgery in the building, we will do all of the interventional surgeries here.”
Lichaa said that they already have a talented staff, all the equipment available at any major cardiology center, and are currently doing 50% of high risk vascular intervention surgeries in Murfreesboro. Once all of the infrastructure is in place, Lichaa says that “the sky is the limit” as far as what they will eventually be able to do for heart patients.
Initially, it is expected that 150 adult open heart surgeries will take place the first year. There will be two dedicated operating rooms, one for scheduled surgeries and one for emergency surgeries. More than $5.5 million is being spent on the latest equipment. Patients are expected to come from Rutherford, Cannon, Coffee, Bedford and Warren Counties.