IRMC Heart Center reaches year milestone
Indian River Medical Center's year-old Heart Center did more open heart surgeries than planned, all without a death, hospital officials said Monday.
On the Nov. 6 anniversary, the center had completed 200 surgeries — 32 more than planned. And center Medical Director Dr. Cary Stowe said he now expects to do 300 procedures before another year is up.
The center is affiliated with Duke University Medical Center, in Durhan, N.C. The chief of the university's heart center, Dr. Peter Smith, said heart procedures at IRMC had medical "complication rates that are extremely low and superior to the national average," according to a letter Smith wrote to IRMC President Jeffrey Susi.
Of all the cases in the first year, 76 percent were male and 43 percent were of patients 70 to 79 years old.
"We're not talking about people who are 45 and go out and jog every day," he said.
A majority of cases had a history of smoking. Yet 63 percent came to the hospital prior to their cases becoming medical emergencies and 95 percent were in for their first heart-related surgical operation, Stowe said.