New heart and vascular center opens its doors

By Kimberly Wong

UCSF Medical Center is bringing together cardiologists, cardiac surgeons, interventional radiologists, vascular surgeons and other specialists to form a new UCSF Heart and Vascular Center. The team will provide patients with the most advanced cardiovascular treatments available.

“The goal of the center is to integrate the diagnosis and treatment of all forms of heart and vascular disease to provide patients with multi-disciplinary evaluations from different specialists for the most comprehensive care,” said physician director Louis Messina, MD, who is also UCSF chief of vascular surgery.

Over 21 million people in the U.S. suffer from cardiovascular disease, which is the leading cause of death and disability in both men and women in America. Arteriosclerosis, aneurysms, and other blood vessel disorders claim a great proportion of lives and are the main cause of disability among the elderly, a trend that will likely continue as the Baby Boomer generation ages, said Messina.

To meet this growing demand for services, the UCSF Heart and Vascular Center offers a full spectrum of heart care for adults that include screening and prevention strategies to managing heart and vascular disease. UCSF is developing a uniform algorithm for the evaluation and treatment of cardiovascular risk factors, so that every aspect of a patient’s heart and vascular disease is identified and treated by the most appropriate specialist. Patients receive the most innovative and effective treatment options ease—some of which were pioneered at UCSF.

“Patients will often be treated by people who developed many of these techniques,” said Messina. “Those who come to UCSF can be assured that they are truly going to receive the safest, most effective treatments available.”

UCSF has long been a leader in developing new technologies and approaches in cardiovascular care. In the mid-80s electrophysiologists at UCSF created catheter ablation to help patients with irregular heartbeats. More recently, there have been major advancements in the treating of vascular disease with stent graft therapy—a minimally invasive endovascular procedure that treats aneurysms. UCSF was the first to use the technology to repair an aortic arch aneurysm and continues to be an innovator by refining these stents.

To continue making strides in the cardiovascular field, the UCSF Heart and Vascular Center has also added a number of new staff members.

The UCSF Heart and Vascular Center’s Operations Council includes:

* Michael Crawford, MD, a medical cardiologist who specializes in coronary artery disease, valvular heart disease, and heart failure.

* Roy Gordon, MD, an interventional radiologist with research interests in radiographic changes of fibroids after embolization.

* William Grossman, MD, a cardiologist who is chief of the division of cardiology and a pioneer in research on diastolic function of the left ventricle.

* Jeff Kalin, MBA, an administrator of adult cardiology who has been in health care management for 21 years.

* Scot Merrick, MD, a cardiothoracic surgeon who is acting chief of the division of cardiothoracic surgery with an interest in surgical coronary revascularization, the use of homografts for valve repair and replacement.

* Louis Messina, MD, chief of the division of vascular surgery and the physician director of the UCSF Heart and Vascular Center.

* Karen Rago, RN, administrative director of the UCSF Heart and Vascular Center who has more than 20 years of experience in treatment and coordination of care for all forms of heart and vascular disease.

* Bel Russell, MD, chief of cardiac anesthesia whose research interests focus on utility and role of transesophageal echocardiography in cardiac patients.

To reach the Heart and Vascular Center, call the UCSF Physician Referral Service at (888) 689-UCSF. For more information, go to the web site: Heart and Vascular Center