November 21, 2008

Meet highlights VHVI’s accomplishments

Featured Image

Keith Churchwell, M.D., congratulates Kay Agbunag, R.N., on receiving the Vanderbilt Heart and Vascular Institute's Starfish Award, given to employees who go above and beyond the call of duty. (photo by Dana Johnson)

Meet highlights VHVI’s accomplishments

The Vanderbilt Heart & Vascular Institute (VHVI) held its quarterly town hall meeting on Nov. 13. There, VHVI senior leaders updated employees on recent accomplishments, quality, growth and research.


• The Nashville Heart Walk raised $1.1 million for the American Heart Association. Vanderbilt raised $320,000, with VHVI contributing almost $40,000.

• Vanderbilt Heart Livingston, an outreach clinic north of Cookeville, Tenn., opened in October. Ken Monahan, M.D., is staffing the clinic two days a month.

• The Veterans Affairs Medical Center cardiac surgery program recently reached a milestone with 500 cases.

• VHVI's door to balloon time was under 90 minutes in all patients presenting with ST elevation myocardial infarction in the first quarter. Door-to-balloon time is the amount of time from the patient's arrival in the Emergency Department to the opening of a blocked artery with a balloon catheter.

“Our door-to-balloon time represents the tremendous amount of work being done by everyone, from LifeFlight to the Emergency Department to the Cardiac Cath Lab,” said Keith Churchwell, M.D., executive medical director of VHVI.

Cardiology Information System (CIS)

• Rolling out CIS will be VHVI's biggest project over the next 12 months.

• CIS will centralize and standardize scheduling, documentation, image viewing, reporting and billing across VHVI, including One Hundred Oaks.

There will be an employee kickoff and demonstration of CIS Dec. 9.

“CIS will allow us to make life easier for everyone who is involved in the health care of cardiology patients,” said Rashid Ahmad, M.D., chief of informatics for CIS. “CIS is uniquely Vanderbilt, taking an off-the-shelf product and integrating it with all the different systems that Vanderbilt has.”


• VHVI saw 8 percent growth in its Nashville clinic visits while outreach clinic visits are up 20 percent during the first quarter of fiscal year 2009. All told, VHVI is seeing 75,000 patients a year, said VHVI CEO Jeff Samz.

• Cardiac surgery had a record month in October with 120 adult cases.


• Based on University HealthSystem Consortium (UHC) data, cardiology's observed-to-expected (o/e) mortality ratio is .66, which puts it in the top 10 among UHC members.

• UHC o/e outcomes for cardiothoracic surgery is .58 also in the top 10 among UHC members.

Research initiatives

• The effects of chemotherapy on the heart

• Recurrent admissions for heart transplant rejection

• Depression in heart failure patients

• The effect of the antidepressant, amitriptyline, on the heart

• Understanding and eliminating racial disparities in cardiovascular disease

Clinical outcomes research

• From 2005 to 2007, 366 patients underwent cardiac surgery and angiogram in the Hybrid OR.

• The Hybrid OR data will be published in the January issue of Cardiovascular Interventions.

“It is our belief that the Hybrid OR greatly enhances the options for surgeons and cardiologists to treat patients with complex coronary artery disease,” said Marzia Leacche, M.D., cardiac surgery research director.

“The completion of angiogram at the time of surgery will become the standard of care in the future. We are proud at Vanderbilt that we are leading the way.”