Newsletter | July 26, 2013

Dear Colleague:

“The only constant is change.” And with change comes opportunity. For many years, Albany Cardiothoracic Surgeons (ACTS) has defied Heraclitus. However, over the past two years, we have seen remarkable growth and change as a cardiac surgical practice.

We have added new team members, built a new organizational structure, enhanced our philosophy of care and introduced new technologies.

New Surgical Team
In 2011, Albany Cardiothoracic Surgeons recruited Dr. Christopher Terrien, a promising Ivy League trained surgeon. Chris is from Vermont, where he did his general surgery training. He then completed his cardiothoracic training at Yale. His father and uncle are both cardiologists at the University of Vermont, and his lineage shows in his thoughtful and caring approach to his patients and their families. We are fortunate that his interpersonal skills are only exceeded by his surgical abilities.
This year, Dr. Alexandros Karavas joined us from New Hampshire where he was in private practice. Alex did his general surgery training in Boston and his cardiothoracic training at Vanderbilt. He spent an additional six months at the University of Pennsylvania where he did further training in aortic surgery. With his broad clinical exposure, penchant for hard work and surgical dexterity, he is an asset to our practice and the region.
The anchor to the surgical team is Dr. Javid Saifi who did his general surgery and cardiothoracic training in Albany. At the core of every successful program, there is always an extraordinary person. In the case of ACTS, that person is Javid who is known as much for his calmness as for his willingness to care for the region’s most complex surgical patients.
I joined ACTS in 2011 for the second time in my career. I did general surgery at the University of Rochester and cardiothoracic training at Columbia University. I then joined ACTS only to go back to Columbia University as the director of the heart transplant program. I moved to the University of Wisconsin where I served as Chair of Cardiothoracic Surgery, before returning to Albany as the chief of the newly created Department of Cardiac & Vascular Services at St. Peter’s Health Partners.

New Structure
In 2011, the divisions of cardiac surgery, cardiology and vascular surgery at St. Peter’s Hospital were restructured under the Cardiac & Vascular service line. This organizational structure encourages and fosters interdisciplinary collaboration. This structure also improves access to cardiovascular services, and adds resources to improve transitional care from the acute setting to primary care.

New Philosophy
Our philosophy of caring is based upon the patient’s illness (rather than the provider’s specialty). We have created heart teams (comprising of cardiologists, interventionalists, surgeons and other clinical care providers) to evaluate patients in a multi-disciplinary forum. We select the best therapy based on the patients’ medical needs, co-morbidities and social resources rather than the service we represent. As we move forward, we are increasing our collaborative efforts to include primary care physicians and other specialties to improve our delivery of high quality, individualized, and integrated clinical care.

New Technology
In order to deliver individualized care, it is necessary to offer the full spectrum of cardiac surgical services. In January 2012, we added placement of ventricular assist devices to the growing repertoire of cardiac surgical procedures we offer.
In the enclosed brochure, you will see a more extensive, although not comprehensive, list of these procedures including: the David Procedure (aortic valve repair/preservation), reoperative and minimally invasive surgical options for almost all cardiac procedures, laser lead extraction, etc. The addition of many of these technologies (like VADs) has allowed us to operate on more complex and acutely ill patients than we have in the past. Judging by the growing volume of sicker and more complex patients, we are clearly meeting a regional need.

Guided by a deep commitment to delivering, “the greatest compassion that the heart can conceive,” and making available, “the best technology that the human mind can imagine,” we look forward to partnering with you in the cardiac care of your patients.

Please feel free to contact us at 518-525-2525 if we can provide any further details on the many treatment options available at St. Peter’s.

Sincerely,

Niloo M. Edwards, MD, FACS
Chief, Cardiac & Vascular Services
St. Peter’s Health Partners