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Life-changing cardiac surgery at JHAH

“Cardiac surgery has been proven to extend life expectancy over other forms of treatment. That is the reason we do it,” says Dr. Harry Parissis, cardiac and thoracic surgeon at Johns Hopkins Aramco Healthcare (JHAH). Dr. Parissis has launched the JHAH Cardiac Surgery program after spending over a decade conducting more than 5,000 thoracic and cardiac surgeries in the UK. And his team is no less experienced.

The program was launched with a coronary artery bypass, followed by six more bypasses and one valve replacement over the span of 10 days.

Smooth, successful surgeries

“All the surgeries went smoothly,” says Dr. Parissis. “On schedule, the second patient was released six days post-op, and the first, which was a more complex case, was released on day seven. We are very pleased with all the outcomes. Going forward, we have the capacity to conduct three to five procedures per week.”

Partners in excellence

Observing the inaugural surgeries were two surgeons from Johns Hopkins Medicine (JHM), Dr. Kenton Zehr, Associate Professor, Department of Surgery, Division of Cardiac Surgery, and Dr. Dan Berkowitz, Professor, Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine, Director, Cardiac Anesthesia Division. The Cardiac Surgery program is part of the Partners in Excellence program that combines the tradition of quality medical care provided by the Saudi Aramco Medical Services Organization (SAMSO) with the renowned educational and clinical strengths of Johns Hopkins Medicine.

Years of experience and strong team effort

“I have started cardiac surgery programs in several countries,” says Dr. Zehr. “During the pre-op debriefing, the technical staff, pharmacy and all the surgical components were spot-on and ready to go right out of the gate.”

“Usually with a new program, you avoid starting with complex cases,” says Dr. Parissis. “In our case, thanks to our partnership with Johns Hopkins Medicine, we were confident we could tackle some challenging cases from the start.”

Surgery program part of the JHAH transformation

“This is another important step in the transformation of Johns Hopkins Aramco Healthcare,” says Dr. Daniele Rigamonti, JHAH CEO. “JHAH is launching similar programs that require a high level of utilization to maintain the highest quality of healthcare. To sustain them, such programs will need to expand beyond our historical patient base.”

JHAH’s mission remains to benefit Saudi Aramco employees and their dependents by offering highly sought-after services, while at the same time contributing to the success of Saudi Vision 2030.

“Cardiac surgery is very much a team effort, and the team is only as strong as its weakest link,” says Dr. Berkowitz. “The links in the JHAH program are all strong. The facility is modern with good surgical instruments, and the personnel are enthusiastic, well trained and, very importantly, have excellent interpersonal communication skills.”

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