Mercy Medical Center First In Northeast Ohio To Offer New Heart Bypass Surgery

CANTON, Ohio, July 13 /PRNewswire/ -- A groundbreaking new technique in heart surgery is being performed at Mercy Medical Center in Canton. Antonios Chryssos, M.D., Director of Cardiac Surgery, Mercy Medical Center, recently became the first heart surgeon in Northeast Ohio to perform minimally invasive direct coronary artery bypass (MIDCAB) surgery on multiple vessels of the heart. Made possible by new surgical tools and techniques, the minimally invasive procedure helps patients with coronary artery disease to recover faster and with less pain and scarring. Coronary artery disease is the narrowing of arteries to the heart.

One of only two hospitals in Ohio to perform the procedure, Mercy developed the new methods in cooperation with Medtronic, Inc., and is now serving as a training site for heart surgeons from throughout North America.

Benefits for Patients

While the procedure demands greater skill on the part of the surgeon, the advantages for patients are many. "Barring complications, a patient who undergoes a successful multivessel MIDCAB can return to his normal routine in as soon as two weeks," Dr. Chryssos said.

Traditional coronary artery bypass surgery requires a seven-inch cut through the sternum. In many cases the heart is stopped and patients are put on a heart-lung machine. In contrast, the new procedure is performed via a two-inch incision while the heart continues to beat. Using innovative surgical tools from Medtronic, surgeons are able to access the heart without fully opening the chest or stopping the heart. Recovery times with the new procedure are much shorter because the patient's muscles and bones are not injured during surgery. Patients also experience much less post-operative pain.

Results of a study released last April by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) also show the benefits of minimally invasive beating-heart surgery. Participants lost less blood during surgery, had less damage to the heart and were able to breathe on their own sooner. Beating- heart surgery patients also spent less time in intensive care and recovered more quickly.

Dr. Chryssos reports that the new technique also greatly reduces the patient's risk of a stroke during surgery and post-operatively. Through the new procedure, all arteries except the main right coronary artery can be bypassed. The result for the patient is a small scar under the left breast and a recovery time of two or three days in the hospital. Most patients can drive within two weeks and return to work within two to three weeks.

The future of heart bypass surgery

Although not all patients are candidates for the procedure, Dr. Chryssos hopes to eventually perform 30 to 50 percent of coronary bypass procedures through the minimally invasive method. "Fortunately, instrumentation for heart surgery has steadily improved since the mid-1990s," said Dr. Chryssos. "With these greater benefits for patients, small-incision heart surgeries are definitely the wave of the future."

A leader in minimally invasive heart surgery

In 1996, Dr. Chryssos performed Ohio's first minimally invasive heart surgery on a single vessel. Mercy has since been recognized as one of the top 20 sites in the U.S. for successful minimally invasive heart surgery. Additionally, Mercy Medical Center was named to U.S. News & World Report's list of Best Hospitals, ranking in the top 50 for heart care and heart surgery in the country. For the second straight year, Mercy Medical Center was also named one of the Solucient 100 Top Cardiovascular Hospitals in the U.S. in 2003, the only Stark County hospital to appear in the ranking. The strictly empirical analysis identifies those hospitals that have achieved excellence in care, efficiency of operations and sustainability of cardiovascular performance.

If you would like to learn more about the Heart Center at Mercy Medical Center, please call (330) 489-1333 or (800) 223-8662.

Mercy Medical Center, along with the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine Health System and University Hospitals Health System, operates a 476-bed hospital serving Stark, Carroll, Wayne, Holmes and Tuscarawas Counties and parts of Southeastern Ohio. It has 550 physicians on its Medical Staff and employs 2,600 people. Mercy operates outpatient health centers in Carrollton, Dover, Jackson Township, Louisville and North Canton. A faith-based, Catholic hospital, Mercy Medical Center upholds the mission and philosophy of the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine and continues to be responsive to the needs of the community, including the provision of care to all, regardless of their ability to pay. For more information, go to .

Mercy Medical Center

CONTACT: Andy Gankoski, Director, Public Relations - Marketing of MercyMedical Center, +1-330-489-1212, or

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