The cardiovascular service line, headed by Dr. Paul Mounsey, has united all of the heart and vascular services at UAMS in one place, with cardiology, cardiovascular surgery, cardiac intensive care, intrathoracic organ failure and transplantation all connected in a cohesive unit.
With everything managed under one service line, these spheres of cardiovascular medicine will overlap with each other to benefit both the patient experience at UAMS, research, and the education of all personnel involved in the service line.
New additions to the array of services offered to UAMS patients include a structural heart disease program, where minimally invasive catheter based Aortic and Mitral valve surgery can be offered to selected patients. We have also initiated a combined cardiovascular intensive care unit (located on H4) where acutely ill cardiac medical patients and postoperative cardiac surgical patients can be cared for, along with a new high dependency unit (located on F8) for less critically ill patients. The CVICU will become the home for the majority of patients needing temporary mechanical circulatory support (VA ECMO), and an extension to the highly successful VV ECMO program initiated in the surgical intensive care unit for temporary pulmonary replacement.
Beyond those services, UAMS will soon start an advanced heart failure service to help patients with end stage heart failure who can no longer be treated by standard medications. They will be eligible for advanced heart failure therapies including artificial hearts, and cardiac transplantation in a proportion of the patients. This particular service will be a boon to Arkansas health care, and the leading example of UAMS in prioritizing this type of cardiovascular care is crucial to build the knowledge of students, residents, fellows, faculty, and staff while also providing essential care for our patients.
After heart failure treatments are firmly established in the cardiovascular service line, other services first-in-state services will follow: pulmonary and cardiopulmonary transplantations, and ultimately combined thoracic and abdominal transplantation. That achievement is one of many to follow in the advancement of cardiovascular care at UAMS and in Arkansas.
Coinciding with the arrival of the CV service line is participation in nationally- recognized quality databases for cardiovascular outcomes (i.e., cardiac surgery, atrial fibrillation, etc.). Faculty will be able to gauge outcomes against other institutions in the state and across the nation. The use of these nationally-recognized databases will provide important data for UAMS to evaluate and to improve their outcomes.
The UAMS administration has been remarkably supportive of the progress so far, and the success of the CV intensive care unit is demonstrative of the potential for the cardiovascular service line. Holistic cardiovascular services targeted at patients’ needs have not been widely available at the hospital prior to the institution of the service line, but it will serve as a valuable resource for patients as it continues to expand and for all of the faculty and staff who will be exposed to these new services.
Special recognition should go to Stephen Mette, M.D.; Trenda Ray, Ph.D. RN; Allison Lord, RN; Jake Stover, MHSA; Benjamin Davis, M.D.; Jay Bhama MD and Gaurav Dhar, M.D., who have all been integral to the beginning of the cardiovascular service line and who will certainly contribute to its continued success.