The open-heart surgery program at Florida Hospital Waterman was established in 2011 and has since grown to provide Lake County residents access to the most advanced cardiac care close to home. With the support of the community, the open heart surgery program has expanded and because of that growth, Florida Hospital Waterman has cared for more than 1000 hearts.
Advanced Care. Close to Home.
Dr. Gary Allen, Chief of Surgery, helped start the program in 2011. A board-certified cardiothoracic surgeon, Dr. Allen specializes in coronary artery bypass surgery, aortic valve surgery, mitral valve surgery, and lung surgery.
Dr. Wistar “Tim” Moore III, recently joined the cardiac surgery program at Florida Hospital Waterman. A board-certified cardiothoracic surgeon, Dr. Moore specializes in coronary artery bypass surgery, minimally invasive methods of mitral valve surgery and transcatheter aortic valve replacement or TAVR.
Cardiovascular diseases including coronary artery disease, high blood pressure and stroke collectively remain the leading cause of death in the world and the United States.
With Dr. Allen and Dr. Moore’s combined experience, Florida Hospital Waterman offers patients access to some the most advanced heart care including coronary bypass, valve, aneurysm, thoracic and arrhythmia surgery and more.
Florida Hospital Waterman uses an interdisciplinary model, which means there is an active collaboration among the surgery, critical care, cardiology, nutrition, rehabilitation and pastoral care teams, providing patients contemporary, high-quality cardiac care.
“Having highly experienced physicians available close to home helps create a more positive patient experience,” explains Dr. Allen. “Being near and convenient to your family and friends, church members and primary care doctor is invaluable.”
“Independent surveys are sent out to patients we take care of and our patient experience scores are very high,” Dr. Allen says.
In addition to the medical care teams that work with each patient, other members of the team provide support including care mangers. Care managers are engaged at the outset of patient care. They help every step of the way—insurance, understanding diagnosis, and making plans for additional care such as going to a rehab facility.
“It’s very important that you put the patient at the center of the process and realize you’re doing the work you were gifted to do,” says Dr. Moore. “I personally pray with each patient before their surgery.”
Caring for the Whole Heart
“As part of caring for the whole heart, we offer spiritual support and services such as health screenings and diagnostics, cardiac rehabilitation and health and lifestyle education,” explains Dr. Allen.
Florida Hospital Waterman makes available the Donald & Audrey Conry CREATION Health Center to support programs and functions which promote lifestyle transformation through education, intellectual, or charitable activities and understanding the spiritual interconnection of whole person health. A host of whole person health programs are offered to meet the needs of the community.
In addition, Florida Hospital Waterman offers community outreach in the form of screenings and education about prevention and risks for heart disease specifically—family history, age, weight, and fitness – as well as the importance of receiving early heart attack care.
Heart attacks have “beginnings” that can occur weeks before the actual attack. Community education focuses on intervention during these beginnings to help prevent acute myocardial infarction (heart attack) and cardiac arrest.
Early symptoms, such as mild or stuttering chest pain, are identified as major risk factors for heart attack. It is very important that individuals with heart attack symptoms be evaluated and treated in an emergency department or chest pain center like Florida Hospital Waterman.
A Network of Expertise
Florida Hospital Waterman is part of Florida Hospital and Adventist Health System, which is a network of highly specialized hospitals.
“The value that we bring is we are a connector to that system. Third-level, or tertiary care, is the most complex type of care—heart/lung transplant, patients that require unique services, or someone who’s going to be in the hospital for weeks or months,” Dr. Allen says. “Because we’re part of a seamless system with extensive resources, it’s not a difficult or complex transfer.”
The future for the open heart surgery program at Florida Hospital Waterman includes being a heart-valve center of excellence where it will be possible to do more minimally invasive procedures.
“Though minimally invasive surgery has been done for 20 years, it has gone through several evolutions,” explains Dr. Moore. “Not every patient is a candidate for this procedure, however, we do feel patients recover quicker from the minimally invasive surgeries. The national average for successful mitral valve repair is about 50 percent. We want it to be 90 percent here.”