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Independence Health System Cardiovascular Program Reaches 25-Year Milestone at Butler Memorial Hospital

Independence Health System Cardiovascular Program Reaches 25-Year Milestone at Butler Memorial Hospital

BUTLER, PA, JULY 17, 2023 … Independence Health System continues to demonstrate its commitment to offering expert care locally as the cardiovascular program at Butler Memorial Hospital reaches its 25-year milestone this month. The Heart Center at Butler Memorial has been providing patients with high-quality screenings, prevention, treatment, cardiac rehabilitation and surgical interventions for heart disease since its inception in July 1998 and continues to evolve in depth and breadth of technology and clinical expertise.

Before Butler Memorial began performing cardiovascular procedures, patients had to travel long distances to receive these types of services, creating extra time, stress, costs, and delayed response times for individuals needing immediate life-saving care. That was the catalyst that led Butler Memorial to establish its own center of cardiovascular services. It was an initiative to provide high-quality services from highly skilled experts more conveniently accessible to residents north of Pittsburgh. By reducing the time to treatment, patients would be more likely to recover from a heart attack which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says impacts more than 800,000 people annually.

“This program has been a mainstay for care at Butler,“ said David Rottinghaus, MD, president, Physician and Provider Network at Independence Health System. Michael Fiorina, DO, FAAFP, Chief Medical Officer for Butler Memorial and Clarion Hospitals, concurred. “Being able to provide the most up-to-date care across our growing service area is important, both to our network of providers and the patients who turn to us for their health needs.”

George Davliakos, MD, an experienced cardiovascular surgeon in private practice with Three Rivers Cardiac Institute in Pittsburgh, spearheaded the creation of the Heart Center at Butler Memorial and was named medical director of the program. He was instrumental in developing and training the hospital’s initial heart team and continues to lead the cardiothoracic service line at Butler and Clarion hospitals, now as a member of Butler Medical Providers, a multispecialty group serving Independence Health System-Butler area.

“It has been an honor and a privilege to be a part of this cardiovascular program and its continued expansion, now as part of Independence Health System,” said Dr. Davliakos, Director of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Butler Memorial and Clarion hospitals. “Over the past 25 years, our service line has continued to grow and advance utilizing the latest technologies and procedures available, and recruiting some of the best talent around. I have been fortunate to work with an extremely skilled and dedicated team, and the quality of our care is a direct result of every important member of this team. I look forward to collaboration with my counterparts at Westmoreland Hospital.”

“Having two outstanding cardiothoracic surgery programs as part of Independence Health System allows us to provide expert care close to home to all those we serve,” added Carol Fox, MD, FAAFP, System Chief Medical Officer. “Patients can have confidence in the expertise available across the System.”

During its first year of operation, the Butler heart team had performed more than 300 open-heart surgeries. Over the last quarter century, the Butler team has seen in excess of 8,300 cardiac cases of varying types, and provided more than 8,600 thoracic and vascular procedures. In all instances the program continues to grow through the addition of skilled providers, updated services and an expanded regional presence at community clinic sites.

Today, Independence Health System through its cardiovascular programs at Butler Memorial and Westmoreland Hospitals performs more than 800 cardiac surgical procedures annually as well as a host of minimally invasive procedures including TAVR, transcatheter aortic valve replacement that reduce the length of hospital stay and shorten the recovery time. The System’s highly robust program has achieved numerous national recognitions and is ranked among the best by The Society of Thoracic Surgeons, the American Heart/Stroke Association, the American College of Cardiology, and US News, among others.

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