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10 Years and Beating Strong

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NEW ALBANY, IN Sebastian Pagni, MD, knows a good thing when he sees it. The board-certified general and cardiothoracic surgeon never planned to practice medicine in the United States until he came here for vacation and fell in love with the country. Pagni completed his general surgery residency at the Hospital of Saint Raphael Yale University and a fellowship at the University of Louisville. He completed his full training in cardiovascular surgery at Jewish Hospital, which eventually led him into minimally invasive surgery, right at the beginning of its era.

In 2006, after a five-year stint at Jewish Hospital, Pagni and his then-partners at Jewish Hospital formed a relationship with Floyd Memorial Hospital and Health Services, launching the Floyd Memorial Heart and Vascular Center, the first cardiac surgery program in Southern Indiana. The first open heart surgery was performed at Floyd Memorial on March 23, 2006, and another 150 followed that year.

“Our initial goal was to have a small, very controlled and outcome-specific program in the community to be able to serve the individuals in the area,” states Pagni. “For the first three to five years, we worked on only low and medium complexity cases with good outcomes that could set the basis for patients in the area to want to stay at Floyd to have their heart surgeries instead of going across the river.”

In 2013 Floyd Memorial switched its cardiac surgery affiliation to Baptist Health, and Pagni stayed to continue to grow the program with his new partners Samuel B. Pollock, Jr., MD, and Ahmad Khan, MD. The program continued to grow into a full-service cardiothoracic surgery program with an increase in volume and complexity, including the addition of minimally invasive techniques, aortic surgeries, valve repairs, coronary bypass surgery, and other advanced procedures. The hospital can now provide almost all cardiothoracic surgeries, with the exception of transplants and artificial pumps. “Before that, the complex surgeries were going to other hospitals, and now we are able to show great outcomes and excellent patient care and service, staying on par with national standards,” adds Pagni.

And even though minimally invasive surgeries are more complex, requiring specially designed instruments, the support of a heart-lung machine, anesthesia expertise, and non-traditional, small incisions, patients see lower transfusion rates, shorter stays, quicker recovery, and better physical and cosmetic satisfaction, minimizing the overall impact of surgery.

“Patients now have less pain. They can mobilize and ambulate earlier and most are able to go home quicker, which directly relates to a low length of stay for our patients who have had bypass surgery. We have basically optimized all these many, many aspects to make cardiac surgery a less traumatic experience,” states Pagni.

Kelly McMinoway, RN, BSN, MHA, NE-BC, director of Cardiovascular and Ambulatory Services at Floyd Memorial, could not agree more. McMinoway has been with Floyd Memorial for 20 years and has played a key role in helping build the full cardiovascular program and ancillary services.

“When we first opened the cardiac surgery program, the long-term goal behind it was to do close to 300 cases a year and give the patients in our service area the ability to come into our facility and receive the care they need without having to be transferred to another hospital across the river,” states McMinoway. “We’ve grown tremendously in the number of patients we take care of and the number of procedures we do, well surpassing our 300 case goal. To date, we have completed approximately 2,500 cases.”

Floyd Memorial now serves eight counties and offers three cardiothoracic surgeons, two operating suites that are ready for surgery 24 hours a day, a 24/7 on-call team, and three cardiac catheterization labs, one equipped with electrophysiology (EP) capabilities that was added in 2014. Another recent addition is that of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) technology, which allows much riskier patients to come off bypass for rescue and go to the Cardiovascular Care Unit (CVCU).

A unique aspect of the Floyd Memorial Heart and Vascular Center is the cutting-edge universal bed concept in which patients can go directly from cardiac surgery to the CVCU and stay until they are discharged. While most patients at other hospitals go to a cardiac step down unit, then to a medical floor and then get discharged home, Floyd Memorial patients stay in the same unit for their entire stay while the level of care changes around them.

“It took a lot of dedication, training, and teamwork with the ICU, nurses, anesthesia, and operating room staff to get where we are today,” adds Pagni. “It’s not just with the work of the surgeons, but also the cardiologists, that everyone began to see and understand we could handle these complex surgeries as a regional hospital. At the beginning, it was a big change. But once they understood the program was acquiring better outcomes than other major centers around, they knew the program was acquiring more relevance and more importance, and we were up to that level.”

What is Floyd Memorial’s outlook for the next 10 years? Both McMinoway and Pagni believe that the hospital will continue to grow and continue to be the premiere heart center in Southern Indiana.

“It’s very beneficial for the community as a whole. Our Southern Indiana population is coming to Floyd Memorial because of the trust we’re building as a leader in our field.”

Well said, Dr. Pagni.

“It’s the dedication, motivation, and teamwork of all involved that allowed us to get to the high standard of care and expertise that we are able to provide today.”– Dr. Sebastian Pagni

“This program has shed such a positive light on the health of our community. Patients from across the river now know they have a viable cardiac option in Southern Indiana as well.”– Kelly McMinoway


Sunday, March 132 – 4 pmOpen to the publicLocated in the hospital’s main lobby1850 state streetNew Albany, IN 47150