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Morristown Medical Center Celebrates 25 Years of Cardiac Surgery

January 20, 2014

Morristown, NJ – Morristown Medical Center, part of Atlantic Health System, recently celebrated its 25th anniversary of performing cardiac surgery. Morristown Medical Center’s Department of Cardiovascular Medicine encompasses the largest cardiovascular surgical program in New Jersey and has nationally-recognized expertise in each of cardiology’s major disciplines.Grant V.S. Parr, MD, physician-in-chief, performed the first open-heart surgery at Morristown 25 years ago. That day, he performed two cases, both coronary bypass procedures, with excellent results.

“Both patients went on to live full, healthy lives,” stated Dr. Parr.

Gagnon Cardiovascular Institute, a state-of-the-art, five-story, 230,000 square-foot building situated on the Morristown Medical Center campus, is dedicated to meeting the challenges of adult heart and vascular diseases. It includes eight operating rooms (two hybrid), five catheterization labs, three electrophysiology labs and advanced non-invasive imaging capability.

Linda Gillam, MD, MPH, Dorothy and Lloyd Huck Chair of Cardiovascular Medicine for Atlantic Health System, said, “To be able to celebrate a program of this stature is quite remarkable. Dr. Parr had a vision of what the cardiac surgery department could evolve into and I think it has exceeded his wildest dreams. His efforts and successes have been truly remarkable and he deserves credit for the tremendous advances here at Gagnon.”

At the time of its first surgery, Morristown Medical Center’s cardiac facility was designed for 400 heart operations per year. The program took off immediately and performed 581 cases in 1989. Today, Gagnon surgeons perform over 1,400 cases each year.

Dr. Gillam described dramatic differences in cardiac surgery now versus 25 years ago, “Patients who were considered inoperable or too high-risk twenty-five years ago, can now be operated on safely with good outcomes. Additionally, incisions are smaller, healing is faster and recovery is much shorter. In many cases, the patient is out of bed a day or two after surgery.”

“For more than two decades, we have been leading innovators, offering the highest quality and most up-to-date technology to our patients,” said John Brown III, MD, chief, Cardiothoracic Surgery at Morristown Medical Center. “We were the first in New Jersey to offer catheter-based aortic heart valve replacement, the first in New Jersey to offer the MitraClip procedure to repair leaking mitral valves, and initially, we were  one of only 10 places in the United States that did both,” Dr. Brown added.

Gagnon offers integrated programs for treating heart failure, heart disease in women, rhythm disorders and vascular disease, and is one of only 20 programs nationally to offer all currently-available catheter-based treatments for valvular heart disease. “We maintain our standard of excellence because of our large volume, our great results, our access to the most cutting-edge clinical trials and our retention of staff, all benefiting our patients,” said Dr Brown.

“I am most proud of our results, which have been spectacular,” said Dr. Parr. “Our surgery program is unique and special. I’m honored to have been a part of it for so long. Everything about the Gagnon Cardiovascular Institute experience is designed to make an inherently stressful time more transparent, patient-centered, caring and supportive for patients and their families. Twenty-five years later, we are committed to the best quality and outcomes for our patients.”

About Morristown Medical Center

Morristown Medical Center, located in Morristown, NJ, is a part of Atlantic Health System, one of the largest non-profit health care systems in New Jersey. Accredited by The Joint Commission, this year the hospital was recognized by U.S. News & World Report as a top hospital nationwide for cardiology, heart surgery, gynecology and geriatrics. Morristown Medical Center also ranked as a “Best Regional Hospital” for cancer, diabetes & endocrinology, neurology and neurosurgery, orthopedics as well as gastroenterology & GI Surgery, nephrology, pulmonology and urology. Morristown Medical Center’s Gagnon Cardiovascular Institute performs more heart surgeries than any other hospital in New Jersey, and is one of 20 facilities across the country to perform catheter-based repair and replacement of valves on both sides of the heart. The Society of Thoracic Surgeons awarded MMC three stars, its highest ratings. Only 12 percent of participating institutions achieve this high honor. Learn more >