When it comes to advanced cardiac and thoracic surgical services, the Cooper Heart Institute’s cardiothoracic surgery team lives up to the designation “world-class.”
“We have a phenomenal group of surgeons with complementary skillsets and an exemplary success rate,” says Phillip A. Koren, MD, the Institute’s medical director. “No one else in this region is able—or willing—to do all the highly specialized procedures that our team does.”
These capabilities include minimally invasive valve and bypass surgery, advanced aortic surgery, including endovascular as well as complex root surgery, mitral valve repair, and robotic-assisted cardiac surgery.
“We pioneered minimally invasive techniques with both mitral and aortic valve replacement procedures here in the Delaware Valley,” says Michael Rosenbloom, MD, FACS, FACC, FACCP, codirector of Cooper’s Heart Institute and head of the Division of Cardiac Surgery.
In fact, a large percentage of Cooper’s cardiac surgery volume—one of the largest in the region—is made up of valve procedures. Of these, nearly all of aortic valve replacement surgeries and most of the mitral valve procedures are performed minimally invasively using a non-sternotomy approach that dramatically lowers complication rates and results in less pain and faster recovery.
Cooper also pioneered endovascular valve replacement in the region. Notably, Cooper was the first commercial site for the Edwards SAPIEN transcatheter heart valve as well as the only New Jersey hospital to participate in the subsequent PARTNER II clinical trial, making the next generation of transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) technology available—extending its application to patients at moderate risk for surgery. Today, Cooper not only has performed more TAVR procedures than any other hospital in the South Jersey region but also is one of the highest-volume sites in the nation.
Mitral valve repair is another area in which Cooper excels. It is a highly specialized area of expertise in that the majority of mitral valve repair surgeries in the U.S. are performed by a small percentage of cardiac surgeons. While all Cooper’s cardiac surgeons are facile with this procedure, Dr. Rosenbloom is a nationally known expert, having performed mitral valve repairs for nearly 30 years.
“It’s my main passion in cardiac surgery,” he notes.
As a result, a patient with a leaking mitral valve has a better chance of having it repaired at Cooper versus replaced, resulting in less stress on the heart muscle. This, too, is performed minimally invasively whenever appropriate, translating into a shorter length of stay and faster recovery.
Cooper’s approach to coronary artery bypass surgery (CABG) is on the leading edge, too.
“Our colleague, Richard Y. Highbloom, MD, FACS, is a big proponent of using multiple arterial conduits in bypass surgery when possible,” Dr. Rosenbloom says. “There’s mounting evidence that they’re more durable than veins and confer more long-term benefit. Patients are more likely to have this at Cooper.”
Further, he notes, his team is performing some single, double, and sometimes triple bypass procedures minimally invasively, with and without the daVinci robot.
“Altogether, these capabilities aren’t available anyplace in South Jersey,” notes Frank W. Bowen, III, MD, FACS, director of thoracic aortic surgery and associate director of the Cooper Aortic Center, “and this puts us on a par with larger academic institutions.”
Patient outcomes are the ultimate measure of Cooper’s cardiac surgery expertise.
“We’ve maintained a three-star rating from the Society of Thoracic Surgeons for the last five years,” Dr. Highbloom notes, referring to the highest quality tier of the STS rating system. “This places us among the top five to ten percent of hospitals in the nation.”
“Our strength is an integrated multidisciplinary approach,” Dr. Rosenbloom adds. “We surgeons can’t take any more credit for these results than our anesthesiologists, critical care specialists, cardiologists, nurses, and technicians. We work well together; we really are a team in every sense.”
Accessibility to this advanced care is streamlined with a single call to the Cooper Transfer Center that provides 24/7 air and ground transport (855.284.9337).
“We have an open-door policy that’s insurance-agnostic,” Dr. Koren notes. “We’re here to help patients. ■
For more information, please visit our Cardiac Surgery site on CooperHealth.org,
or call 856.342.2034 to refer a patient.