Heart Care at UMC, UA Sarver Heart Center Continues to Receive National Recognition

Pila Martinez
July 23, 2001

A recent report by U.S. News & World Report further confirms that heart care at University Medical Center and the University of Arizona Sarver Heart Center is among the best in the nation.

UMC, the region's only comprehensive transplantation center, has been ranked 25th in the nation by U.S. News' annual guide to "America's Best Hospitals." (Please see related AHSC news release, sent July 13.)

U.S. News, in conjunction with the National Opinion Research Center (NORC), objectively assesses hospital care for 17 specialties at more than 1,800 hospitals nationwide and ranks the top 50 hospitals in the nation in those 17 specialties. Rankings are based on reputation and various medical data.

The Sarver Heart Center has earned its national reputation through a variety of notable accomplishments, world-renowned doctors and cutting-edge research:

  • The UMC cardiothoracic transplant team has achieved survival rates that are among the best in the world: about 94 percent at one year and 78 percent at five years, compared with the national averages of 85.5 percent and 70 percent nationally, according to data from the United Network for Organ Sharing.
  • UMC is a world leader in the study of artificial hearts, having implanted more total artificial hearts than any other center in the United States. The heart, manufactured by Cardiowest Technologies Inc., has been tested in about 200 people and is under review by the Food and Drug Administration.
  • Dr. Jack G. Copeland III, -- chief of cardiovascular and thoracic surgery and a co-director of the UA Sarver Heart Center -- recently was presented with the 2001 Barney Clark Award in recognition of his success in the use of artificial hearts and heart-assist devices. The award commends Dr. Copeland for "interjecting science into the process, and for leadership in moving the TAH (total artificial heart) from failure to highly successful clinical applications."
  • Dr. Gordon A. Ewy, director of the Sarver Heart Center and chief of cardiology at UMC, and three other Heart Center members were named some of "The Country's Best Heart Doctors" by Good Housekeeping magazine in 1996. Last year, he was named a "CPR Giant" by the American Heart Association Emergency Cardiovascular Care Committee.
  • Several Sarver Heart Center labs are collaborating on an $8.8 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to study embryonic heart development. Led by Professor Raymond Runyan (anatomy/cell biology), the project consists of five projects exploring two types of cells in embryonic hearts: endothelia, the cells that line the inner surface of the heart; and myocytes, the muscle cells that enable the heart to beat.
  • Researchers in the lab of Professor Doug Larson (surgery) are trying to determine how to keep the heart young -- even as the rest of the body ages. They hypothesize that blocking certain immune system hormones could improve heart function in older people and delay the onset of serious heart problems.

Statement from Dr. Ewy:
"This formal recognition is a tribute to the talent, hard work and dedication of all Sarver Heart Center members and staff, and to the excellent support from University Medical Center. Of the more than 6,000 hospitals in the United States, it is an honor to have cardiovascular services ranked 25th, and to be one of only three hospitals in the West to be among this medically elite group.

"Although we should be justifiably proud, medical care is only part of the University of Arizona Sarver Heart Center's mission, which is the prevention, cure and rehabilitation of heart disease, vascular disease and stroke via the academic pillars of patient care, research and education."

Statement from Dr. Copeland:
"I am extremely proud of our heart programs and of all of the many team members that have led to our recognition as one of the outstanding heart centers in the U.S. The sections of cardiology and cardiothoracic surgery have led the way, offering some of the most advanced technology and obtaining some of the best survival statistics in the nation. We plan to continue to emphasize the things that make us so successful: teaching, research and service to our patients. University Medical Center, its administration, its board and its staff also have contributed heavily to the successes of many heart programs. As I tell everyone that I see from other centers in the United States and abroad, 'Come and visit our intensive care unit -- it is truly the best I have ever seen.'"




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