Baptist Cardiology Team 1st to Offer New Alternative to Bypass Surgery

For the millions of people suffering with severely or completely blocked coronary arteries (chronic total occlusions or CTOs), Baptist Health Care and its team of 28 cardiovascular specialists, Cardiology Consultants, now offer an advanced CTO procedure that provides patients a minimally invasive alternative to traditional open heart bypass surgery and/or medical therapy.

The Baptist cardiology team is the first and only team on the Gulf Coast to offer the innovative CTO procedure that involves a highly skilled, specially trained interventional cardiologist using the newest FDA-approved catheter technology to reopen the completely blocked (CTO) artery. Balloon angioplasty and stents are then used to restore blood flow. Prior to this procedure, CTOs were very difficult to treat and typically required invasive open-heart surgery or, in instances where surgery was not an option, medication was used to manage the chest pain.

CTO is the most common cause for open heart surgery, so by providing this minimally invasive procedure, Baptist and Cardiology Consultants are improving the quality of life of people suffering from heart disease in a significant way. We can now help patients who have previously been told that bypass or on-going medication management are their only options for chronically occluded coronary arteries

F. James Fleischhauer, M.D., F.A.C.C., the board certified interventional cardiologist who completed the region’s first procedure on March 12, 2013, at Baptist Hospital.

Dr. Fleischhauer and the Baptist team were chosen to be among the initial providers in the nation to offer this procedure due to their proven cardiovascular experience and quality. Additionally, Dr. Fleischhauer completed rigorous continuing education and training specifically to provide this new procedure. When coupled with his fellowship training at Stanford University School of Medicine and his more than 20 years of cardiology experience in Pensacola, Dr. Fleischhauer is a leader in bringing innovative treatments and research to the community.

Staying at the leading edge of medicine is what is best for patients and our community. This technology allows a patient to go home within one day of the procedure and resume normal activities within one week, as compared to open heart surgery which requires five-to-seven days in the hospital and weeks of recovery at home,

Dr. Fleischhauer

This new CTO procedure takes approximately two-to-three hours during which the physician uses specialized equipment to reconstruct the artery and restore blood flow. This procedure is completed in Baptist Hospital’s state-of-the-art cardiac catheterization laboratories.

As technology evolves, it is our responsibility as the leader in heart and vascular care, to provide all possible options of care for our patients. It’s our promise at Baptist to continue to pursue excellence and innovation in cardiovascular medicine,

Dr. Fleischhauer

If you have coronary artery disease, you may experience angina or chest pain, pain in the upper body and arms, jaw pain, indigestion or choking feeling, nausea, dizziness, irregular heartbeat or unusual fatigue. To diagnose a CTO, a routine physical exam with a careful medical history and diagnostic testing should be performed by a cardiologist. An angiogram is required to diagnosis a CTO. A referral can be made by your cardiologist for this procedure.

  For more information or to make an appointment for heart or vascular care, please call 850.484.6500.