March 1, 2012

Town hall meeting highlights Heart Institute initiatives

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Keith Churchwell, M.D., updates staff and faculty of the Vanderbilt Heart and Vascular Institute during last week’s town hall meeting. (photo by Joe Howell)

Town hall meeting highlights Heart Institute initiatives

Vanderbilt Heart & Vascular Institute held its quarterly Town Hall last week at a new time and location.

Speaking before a full house in 208 Light Hall, Keith Churchwell, M.D., executive director of VHVI, began with an announcement that VHVI had entered into a formal relationship with Meharry Medical College and Nashville General Hospital.

Two of the three cardiologists on staff, Joseph Akamah, M.D., and Henry Okafor, M.D., trained at Vanderbilt Heart. They, along with Nagendra Ramanna, M.D., are now part of Vanderbilt Heart at Meharry. In addition, Vanderbilt Heart fellows do a clinical rotation at Nashville General Hospital.

“We think it’s going to be a very exciting opportunity for us to make a bigger impact in providing cardiovascular care in Nashville,” Churchwell said. “Clinical research and education is important to all three of our new partners.”

In addition, Vanderbilt Heart opened new clinics at Williamson Medical Center in Franklin and at 1370 Gateway Blvd., in Murfreesboro. “It’s really an exciting opportunity to expand our cardiovascular service line in the greater Franklin area,” Churchwell said.

Carol Parsons, R.N., spoke of VHVI’s CPR community initiative that takes CPR training off campus to those people considered high risk for heart disease. The classes endorse the American Heart Association research that suggests chest compressions without mouth-to-mouth resuscitation are as effective as both during cardiac arrest. So far the CPR initiative has facilitated 13 seminars with 326 attendees.

“We hope that by raising awareness and educating the public we can reduce the cardiovascular health disparities in our community,” Parsons said.

Robin Steaban, R.N., chief administrative officer, reviewed the latest inpatient customer satisfaction survey results from PRC norm data.

The intensive care unit on 5 north received 100 percent excellence rating for quality of instructions given to patients and family members upon discharge; cardiac observation, 7 North, 5 North and 6 South received 100 percent for how carefully nurses listened to patients and their family members; the cardiovascular observation unit received a 100 percent excellence rating for how carefully doctors listened to patients and their family members; and 6 South received 100 percent for overall quality of care.

In faculty news, Sergio Fazio, M.D., Ph.D., and Mac Linton, M.D., have been elected into the American Association of Physicians. Colleen Brophy, M.D., Joyce Cheung-Flynn, Ph.D., Raul Guzman, M.D., and Marzia Leacche, M.D., received an NIH R01 grant for “Methods to Reduce Vein Harvest Injury.”

Data generated by this research will be used to influence surgical harvest and vein graft preparation practices and enhance vein graft patency. Linton is spearheading the HDL & Atherosclerosis Program Project that examines the hypothesis that bioactive lipids, including isoprostanes and isolevuglandins, may serve as biomarkers and/or mediators of HDL dysfunction.

Simon Maltais, M.D., assistant professor of Cardiac Surgery and director of the Heart Transplant and Ventricular Support Program, reported that 29 adults received a heart transplant in 2011 with 100 percent survival rate. This number matches a VHVI record set in 1990.