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2004 Press Releases
Morton Plant Hospital One of First in Tampa Bay to Offer Minimally Invasive Vein Harvesting for Open Heart Surgery

CLEARWATER, Fla. (August 23, 2004)---Morton Plant Hospital is one of the first facilities in the Tampa Bay area to offer its open heart cardiac patients a minimally invasive procedure to harvest the leg veins necessary for cardiac by-pass surgery.

"With conventional vein removal, a long incision is made in the selected leg from the ankle to the groin," said John Ofenloch, M.D., a cardiac surgeon with Morton Plant Hospital. "With minimally invasive vein removal, a small incision (one inch or less) is made just above the knee and another (one inch or less) at the groin. The vein, about the size of a straw, is harvested and subsequently removed using a surgical scope."

This method for vein harvesting results in two "Band-Aid"-size incisions and may help eliminate lower extremity wound complications. The benefits to the patient are faster recovery, less incisional pain, decreased incidence of infection and improved satisfaction with a more cosmetically appealing incision.

"Morton Plant Hospital is committed to bringing patients state-of-the-art technologies that have a profound effect on their health," said Philip K. Beauchamp, chief executive officer and president of Morton Plant Hospital.

Nearly 848 open-heart surgeries are performed annually at Morton Plant Hospital by a team of board-certified cardiac surgeons.

"In the future, we also plan to be able to offer artery removal from the arm using the same minimally invasive technique with the same patient benefits as vein harvesting," added Dr. Ofenloch.

Morton Plant conducts more open heart and interventional procedures than any other hospital in Pinellas County. In 1975, the hospital launched its heart and vascular services and has recorded many firsts that include:

* first hospital in the county to have an electrophysiology program for the diagnosis and treatment of arrhythmias

* first to perform coronary angioplasty and valvuloplasty

* first to perform minimally invasive direct coronary artery bypass

* first to place drug-coated stent in Tampa Bay area

Construction is underway for Morton Plant's new heart hospital, which should be completed in the fall of 2005. The 148,000 square-foot building will include five new open-heart operating rooms, five new heart catheterization labs, and 100 additional private rooms.

Established in 1916, Morton Plant Hospital is a 687-bed facility dedicated to improving the health of all it serves through community-owned health services that set the standard for high quality, compassionate care. In 2003, Morton Plant was named a 100 Top Hospital in the "Solucient 100 Top Hospitals: National Benchmarks for Success" study for the fifth consecutive year in cardiovascular care and for the fourth year for overall quality of care. In 2002, according to AARP Modern Maturity magazine, Morton Plant was one of America's Top 50 Hospitals.

In 2001, Morton Plant Hospital joined forces with H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute at the University of South Florida, Tampa to provide research and services for cancer patients. Morton Plant Hospital is located at 300 Pinellas Street, Clearwater, Fla., 727-462-7500.

Contact: Beth Hardy

Morton Plant News Bureau

727-298-6199 Phone

727-419-4471 Pager