Heart surgery

Health system launches new option for open-heart surgery

Dr Himanshu Patel. Courtesy of University of Michigan Health-West

A team of surgeons celebrates the opening of a second cardiovascular surgery clinic in Grand Rapids.

The West Michigan Cardiovascular Network, a joint operating agreement between Trinity Health Muskegon, Trinity Health Saint Mary’s and University of Michigan Health-West (UMH-West), will now have a new advanced cardiovascular care option in Grand Rapids through to a state-of-the-art operating room at UMH-West.

For over 20 years, Corewell Health (formerly Spectrum Health) was the only option for open heart surgery in Grand Rapids, and the Cardiovascular Network performed open heart surgery only at Trinity Health Muskegon. This new location will provide residents with another option and advance the network’s mission to provide patients in West Michigan with access to world-class cardiovascular care.

“This is one network, one program, one team,” said Dr. Peter Hahn, CEO of UMH-West. “We have reached an important milestone with the start of open-heart surgery in Grand Rapids, but this is only the beginning of what is becoming possible through our continued and strengthened collaboration.”

Gary Allore, president of Trinity Health Muskegon Hospital, home of the Thill Heart and Vascular Center, applauded the dedication that led to this point.

“We envision a leading regional program to address cardiovascular disease, which is still the number one cause of death in Michigan,” he said. “We are focused on improving access to world-class care that meets the needs of the people we serve in Grand Rapids, Muskegon, and throughout West Michigan.”

Early cardiac surgery operations are performed by a team consisting of Dr. Gorav Ailawadi, Dr. Theodore Boeve, Dr. Jonathan Haft, and Dr. Himanshu Patel, all part of the Department of Cardiac Surgery at UMH-West. Patel is also executive director of the West Michigan Cardiovascular Network.

“Above all, we are extremely excited about the opportunity to connect with more patients through the network and provide them with a better quality of life,” Patel said. “It couldn’t be more gratifying to start on such a positive note as we usher in this era of collaboration, choice, access and excellence for heart patients in West Michigan.”

Ailawadi, Haft and Patel are primarily based at the Frankel Cardiovascular Center (FCVC) in Ann Arbor. Along with FCVC Executive Director Stefanie Peters, they partnered with UMH-West and Trinity Health Michigan to develop this program.

Boeve, a cardiothoracic surgeon with more than 30 years of experience providing cardiac care in West Michigan, will be primarily based at Trinity Health Muskegon. In 2023, the cardiovascular team at UMH-West will add the leadership of Dr. Alphonse DeLucia III, a cardiothoracic surgeon who has performed more than 5,000 cardiac surgeries in his career, many of them for patients in the western Michigan.

In keeping with the collaborative design of the West Michigan Cardiovascular Network, candidates for surgery are evaluated by the “Cardiac Team,” a group of experts from all four programs who work together to determine the best course of treatment in each case.

The Cardiovascular Network’s current expertise includes coronary artery bypass surgery, aortic valve surgery, mitral valve surgery, aortic aneurysm treatment and cardiac ablation procedures.