The Heart Institute at Leesburg Regional Medical Center has provided superior care for residents of Lake and Sumter Counties for 20 years. This includes comprehensive, individualized care for each patient and expert attention for cardiac or vascular conditions.
Dr. Karen Thompson, a cardiothoracic surgeon with Leesburg Ocala Heart Institute and on the medical staff at Leesburg Regional Medical Center, is considered the area’s heart valve expert. “Part of my training was completed at Northwestern University in Chicago under Dr. Patrick McCarthy, a world-renowned mitral valve expert.”
Dr. Thompson graduated with honors from Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1998 and has more than 20 years of diverse experience, including extensive expertise in valve repair and replacement.
The heart has four valves that work hard to ensure that blood flows in the right direction. If any of these valves become diseased or damaged, blood might not leave the heart at a normal rate, or might flow backwards into the heart. The two that most often require a doctor’s attention are the aortic valve and mitral valve.
“Many patients come in with stenosis or regurgitation and we need to determine the type of procedure needed to effectively treat their heart valve disease,” Dr. Thompson says. “Thankfully, there are many treatment options available to repair or replace valves that leak or have become weakened or narrowed.”
A heart-team approach – which includes the collaboration of the cardiologist, cardiac surgeon and anesthesiologist – is used to examine the disease comprehensively. “We study each patient’s overall health and activity level,” continues Dr. Thompson. “Images from cardiac catheterizations or echocardiograms are reviewed and a determination is made whether or not the patient needs an intervention.”
In traditional aortic valve surgery, an incision is made in the sternum and the breastbone is divided to provide access to the heart.
The surgeon then repairs or replaces the valve. The minimally-invasive procedure – though not an option for everyone – is performed with a much smaller incision. This translates into a shorter hospital stay and recovery period.
In addition, the rise of transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) over the last decade has offered promise as an option for those patients previously considered unsuitable for surgical valve replacement. The Heart Institute at Leesburg Regional Medical Center continues to lead the way in progressive heart and valve procedures.
“We perform nearly 700 open heart surgeries every year,” concludes Dr. Thompson. “Our heart surgery program is robust and earns consistently excellent outcomes; I am honored to work with my team to deliver high-quality care.”
Leesburg Regional Medical Center
600 E. Dixie Ave., Leesburg, FL 34748