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Helping Hearts - Frank: Patient Stories

World-class heart care, close to home

What if you or someone you love suffers a heart attack, needs heart surgery or requires a complex diagnostic procedure? When the unthinkable happens, you want to receive lifesaving care as quickly as possible in a facility offering the latest technology, excellent patient care - and close to home.

That’s exactly what you’ll find at Franciscan Heart Center, which isn’t just one place. It’s a full range of the latest in heart and vascular care provided by highly skilled experts throughout Franciscan. Our goal is to help you stay heart healthy for life.

Just ask 79-year-old Federal Way resident Frank Mermoud. He had a diseased mitral valve. This valve keeps blood flowing between two chambers in the heart, but when there’s a problem it can keep the blood from moving forward. If left untreated, it can lead to heart failure and death. Mermoud recently had successful minimally invasive mitral valve repair surgery at St. Joseph Medical Center.


Rapid, lifesaving treatments

Franciscan Cardiothoracic Surgery Associates’ heart surgeons perform all their procedures at St. Joseph Medical Center. “If a patient at another Franciscan hospital needs heart surgery, they have it done here,” said Craig Hampton, MD, FACS, Franciscan cardiothoracic surgeon. “We offer a full spectrum of cardiac services with an emphasis on minimally invasive heart surgery. We’re really unique in the region and country by offering small-incision valve and bypass surgery routinely.”

When performing minimally invasive heart surgery, surgeons make a very small 2- to 4- inch long incision in the chest instead of cutting the breastbone open. They use special instruments to work between the ribs. “We find it’s better for patients, it leads to a quicker recovery, less blood loss, faster return to everyday life, and a shorter hospital stay,” said Dr. Hampton. “We’re on the cutting edge of offering these really modern techniques that aren’t done at a lot of places and have huge benefits for patients.”

What also sets St. Joseph’s Heart Center apart is the fact that the surgeons have become “super specialists,” within the practice, said Dr. Hampton. “We have dedicated experts for small-incision mitral valve surgery and small-incision bypass surgery. This means that when you have one of these procedures, you have the most experienced surgeon with extensive expertise in these unique procedures.”

Keeping hearts healthy

Mermoud’s mitral valve repair was performed with these minimally invasive methods. He stayed in the hospital for three days before returning home. “Everything went extremely well,” said Mermoud. “Before the operation, Dr. Hampton fully explained to my wife and me what we could expect before, during and after surgery. All of it was very accurate. I did remarkably well after I was discharged.”

After surgery, Mermoud was sent home with prescription pain medication. But he only needed to take two doses and never opened the bottle again. Within just a few days at home, Mermoud was able to return to his daily walks outside. “I couldn’t have chosen a better person to do this surgery than Dr. Hampton or a better hospital to have it done than St. Joseph.”

How Does Your Heart Health Measure Up