August 8, 2022

Minutes Matter – Creating the Pathway for a Comprehensive Heart & Vascular Program at The Medical Center of Southeast Texas

Earlier in the year, The Medical Center of Southeast Texas (The Medical Center) kicked off the official launch of their new Open Heart Surgery program. In partnership with a team of 14 cardiologists, the new program further compliments a robust Heart & Vascular service line that has performed over 2,600 life-saving procedures in the past twelve months. Speaking to the high-quality program that has been built, hospital Cardiology Committee Chairman, Dr. Rao, stated, “We provide personalized care throughout the entire care continuum and as a result, we celebrate a 98.5% cardiac surgery success rate, exceeding the national average.” Between the two-campuses, The Medical Center boasts more than 10 surgical operating rooms and three cardiac catheterization labs, 22 progressive ICU/cardiac care patient rooms, two hospital-based emergency departments, and a broad range of other diagnostic imaging capabilities.

The Medical Center's Cardiac Cath Lab

Time is of the essence in treating acute cardiovascular conditions, but in far too many cases a fragmented and disorganized delivery system prohibits patients from receiving the treatments that can improve or even save their lives. In a statement previously released by the American Heart Association, “definitive treatment for acute coronary syndromes should begin within 1 hour of symptom onset. Survival rates are improved by up to 50% if reperfusion, or the restoration of blood flow, is achieved within 1 hour of symptom onset.” Up until now, most area residents in need of open-heart surgery have been forced to leave the area for care. The recommended length of time for door to balloon time (from the time a patient arrives at the emergency room until the time blood flow is restored) is less than 90 minutes. The cardiac care team at The Medical Center averages a door to balloon time of 61 minutes. “We are very proud of our team of doctors, nurses and technicians who are on call 24/7 and 365 days a year, determined to give the best quality care to our patients and to serve our community. We pledge that the tradition of excellence will continue in future,” says Rao.

The Medical Center has invested more than $4 million into their cardiology program over the past 12 months, further cementing their commitment to providing the best cardiology care in the area. In terms of growth in cardiology services, Josh Snow, President of the multi-campus hospital system, stated, “In partnership with our first responders, cardiologists, primary care providers, and post-acute care facilities, we are building a value-based patient care model that is rooted in both clinical excellence and seamless care transitions for our patients.”  He added, “This milestone is the latest example of how The Medical Center is serving markets in both Southeast Texas and Southwest Louisiana, providing medical care for our community with a focus on excellence close to home.”

The Medical Center's Cardiac Cath Lab The Medical Center of Southeast Texas Cardiac Cath Lab Staff Working


The Medical Center’s commitment to superior quality in the continuity of care is further evident through their investment in a high intensity physician staffing model within their Intensive Care Unit (ICU). As the only hospital in the region to provide these services, the program includes a dedicated, on-site critical care doctor that is available to immediately address any escalating patient care issues or interact with assisting patient caregivers. In addition, The Medical Center invested in a state-of-art tele-ICU platform which enables a panel of critical care doctors to monitor patients remotely. Speaking to the effectiveness of the dual-programs, Chief Operating Officer, Kory Browning, noted, “These programs allow our ICU nursing staff to have access to a critical care provider at any moment, improving our clinical effectiveness in caring with patients who require a higher level of care.” Additional information regarding cardiology services at The Medical Center can be found below.

Cardiac Catheterization Services

Doctors at The Medical Center perform a variety of emergent procedures, including coronary angioplasty to improve blood flow in narrow or blocked arteries for patients experiencing a heart attack or chest pain. Advanced cardiac services include diagnostic cardiac catheterization, a procedure in which a catheter is guided through a blood vessel in the heart to diagnose certain heart conditions, and minimally invasive procedures to open clogged arteries. These include percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI, also known as “balloon and stent procedure”) and endovascular peripheral arterial revascularization, where blood flow is restored to lower extremities that have previously been blocked or limited by buildup of plaque in arteries.  These procedures only require a tiny incision where the catheter is inserted into an artery, so it results in less blood loss, less pain and a quicker recovery for patients.

Cardiac Electrophysiology Services

Electrophysiology studies test the electrical activity of your heart to find abnormal heart rhythms and evaluate sudden cardiac death risk, tachyarrhythmia diagnosis, prognostic testing for bradycardia, evaluation of syncope or loss of consciousness, and diagnostic testing for familial sudden cardiac death syndromes. Catheter ablation procedures will then focus on removing or terminating a faulty electrical pathway from sections of the heart for patients who are prone to developing cardiac arrhythmias.

Cardiovascular Imaging Services

The first step in treating your heart is finding the source of its condition. The Medical Center offers a wide range of tests and screenings at their fully equipped imaging centers, including angiogram, echocardiogram, electrocardiogram, and other diagnostic tests.

Minutes Matter

If you have any questions or concerns about your cardiac health, please consult your physician immediately.