Sarasota Memorial receives award for excellence in heart surgery

Recognition puts focus on hospital’s response to research showing that heart valve repair often preferable to valve replacement

Image from the Mitral Foundation website

“Sarasota Memorial Hospital-Sarasota is one of the select hospitals across the nation to receive the Mitral Valve Repair Reference Center Award,” hospital officials have announced.

Created through a partnership of the American Heart Association and the Mitral Foundation, “the Mitral Valve Repair Reference Center Award recognizes surgical excellence in the field of mitral valve repair, while also acting as a beacon for patients and residents searching for the best and most experienced hospitals and surgeons in their communities,” a news release explains.

“Despite numerous studies showing that mitral valve repair is often preferable to mitral valve replacement to treat degenerative mitral valve disease” the release points out with emphasis“many patients continue to undergo replacement surgery, which can lead to higher rates of complications and death, according to the Mitral Foundation.

“To combat this trend,” the release continues, “the Mitral Valve Repair Reference Center Award highlights those hospitals and medical centers that have, through measured objective outcomes, demonstrated excellence in mitral valve repair, so that those in need of this specific form of heart surgery can know where to go and other physicians know where to refer their patients.”

“It’s important not only that more patients and their families know that mitral valve repair is an option, but also that they have the resources to find the hospital and the surgical team best prepared to give them the outcome they need,” says Jonathan Hoffberger, DO, the director of Sarasota Memorial’s Minimally Invasive Cardiac Surgery program. “At Sarasota Memorial, we do a lot of valve repair and replacement, and the outcomes of our program can compete with — and in many cases exceed — centers with far greater outreach and national reputation,” he added in the release.

To earn the designation, a hospital must “have a demonstrated record of superior clinical outcomes,” based on objective performance measures, according to the American Heart Association and the Mitral Foundation. “In terms of facilities and staffing, recognized Mitral Valve Repair Reference Centers must employ both experienced cardiothoracic surgeons and structural heart cardiologists, as well as all required support staffing,” the release explains.

Sarasota Memorial Health Care System has six cardiac surgeons and cardiologists who specialize in treating structural heart conditions, the release adds. They performed more than 1,000 procedures last year. SMH also has a structural heart/valve clinic to help diagnose and manage patients with valve disease and structural heart disorders, the release notes.