Expanded Miami Cardiac & Vascular Institute Marks a New Era in Cardiovascular Care

Miami Cardiac & Vascular Institute’s $120 million expansion, now complete, is delivering on its promise to transform and optimize multidisciplinary cardiovascular care, which has been the Institute’s ongoing, critical mission since it opened in 1987 on the Baptist Hospital campus. The project included additional space and equipment, and facilitated the creation of several new, specialized programs, all focused on the Institute’s founding promise to bring together multidisciplinary teams of specialists to treat the cardiovascular system as a single entity. “We designed this expansion to change the future of medicine, to be in the position to care for health problems we haven’t even encountered yet,” said Barry T. Katzen, MD, Chief Medical Executive and founder of the Institute. “The expansion is a great gift for our community and beyond. We are now able to conduct more research, make discoveries that could transform how cardiovascular care is delivered and offer new services.”

Concurrent with the expansion, Baptist Health merged all of its inpatient and outpatient cardiovascular services under the Miami Cardiac & Vascular Institute brand, including the former South Miami Heart Center, located at South Miami Hospital.  In addition the integrated medical staff was expanded to 76 physicians to make up the new Miami Cardiac and Vascular Institute. The system-wide integration expands upon the Institute’s longstanding commitment to multidisciplinary cooperation that has served as a national model of success. “As Baptist Health continues to grow,” said Dr Katzen, “it was essential to integrate our services to ensure seamless care for our patients across the system.”

“This was a natural step forward as we continuously strive to improve care and the overall patient experience,” added Carol Melvin, the Institute’s Chief Operating Officer. No matter which Baptist Health hospital or outpatient center a patient visits, all who need cardiovascular care are treated according to the same Miami Cardiac & Vascular Institute protocols and commitment to quality.

One of the primary goals of the Institute expansion was to create new treatment areas that would anticipate future developments in the field. “We began a brainstorming process with interventionists, cardiologists, cardiac and vascular surgeons, anesthesiologists, perfusionists, allied health personnel, administration, and our architects to design the optimal facility for the future, for procedures that did not yet exist,” said Dr Katzen. “It turned out to be an interesting intellectual activity, which led to a lot of features that came into the current design of the new Institute facility.”

The expansion added 60,000 square feet of new space and 40,000 square feet of renovations, nearly doubling the size of the Institute when its 80,000-square-foot main building was constructed in 1993 to accommodate a growing number of patients and procedures. Today, the Institutes’ 76 doctors and 1100 employees serve 125,000 patients every year system-wide. “This expansion was an investment in our community,” said Baptist Hospital CEO Bo Boulenger. “It allows us to tackle the most difficult cases that other hospitals and doctors turn away.” 

Over the years, Institute physicians have pioneered less-invasive techniques to treat aneurysms, stroke and heart disease, and have been part of many groundbreaking research trials. “The newly expanded Institute, with its cutting-edge equipment and unique programs, allows our internationally respected doctors to continue their visionary work,” Mr Boulenger said. One of the first elements of the three-year project was the expansion of Baptist Hospital’s Surgery Center, which now includes six large operating rooms dedicated to neuroscience, cardiac, vascular and robotic surgery. 

With an addition of four new suites, the Institute created advanced endovascular suites with enlarged gallery viewing areas for enhanced teaching and learning opportunities. “This is the centerpiece of the expansion, the Center for Advanced Endovascular Therapies,” Dr Katzen explained. “We wanted to create an environment in which we could do any type of predominantly image-guided procedure, where physicians of different disciplines could work together to create unique solutions for patients’ problems.”The suites are envisioned to facilitate procedures that don’t yet exist, but could be imagined by the Institute’s experts. “What if, in the future, someone can put a catheter in an artery and add some material that will tag a tumor from red to green; a surgeon might then go in immediately with a laparoscope and remove the tumor if it can’t be embolized,” Dr Katzen said. Or perhaps a patient having an acute stroke may need a hemicraniectomy/open chest/endovascular combination procedure.“These rooms are designed such that they can always be doing image-guided procedures, either with fluoroscopy, ultrasound, laparoscopes or any other type of imaging,” Dr Katzen said. “To do that, the rooms needed to be very big, have laminar airflow and unique lighting.”

In designing interventional suites of the future, two of the new endovascular suites have glass walls and a video system that allow people to sit in a theater-style chair outside of the suite and control what they’re watching using an iPad. Viewers from different disciplines or in training each can have their own unique user interface that allows them to pick and choose which parts of the procedure they want to watch, all with communication with the suites. You don’t even have to be at the Institute to watch, learn or participate. “We can log into a suite and monitor what’s going on, turn it into a webcast internally, or transmit it out to the world,” Dr Katzen said. “Using and integrating technology to link people was one of the most important drivers.”

The Institute makeover is creating National Center for Aneurysm Therapy — the first in the world — a Center for Structural Heart Therapy, Center for Critical Limb Ischemia and an Advanced Arrhythmia Therapy Center. Since the founding of the Institute, its physicians have been recognized internationally for pioneering less invasive techniques to treat aneurysms, among other conditions. Dr Katzen led a team that performed the Institute’s 1,000th repair of an abdominal aortic aneurysm in 2012. The National Center for Aneurysm Therapy includes an outpatient component and focuses on continuing to advance the prevention and treatment of aneurysms anywhere in the body.

“We took our 28 years of experience, applied a lot of expertise and created a new care delivery model around aneurysms,” Dr Katzen said. “If you have an aneurysm anywhere in the body, this center, where physicians of all different disciplines work together, will answer your questions and provide the latest state-of-the-art care.”The Center also conducts research and offers genetic counseling to patients in an effort to help determine the risk of developing an aneurysm.

At the Centers for Structural Heart Therapy and Advanced Arrhythmia Therapy, physicians are doing research to discover more cardiovascular disease breakthroughs.“We’re big into ‘big data,’ ” Dr Katzen said. “For the Institute, analyzing data helps us understand need and trends; what’s really going on in the background, and helps indicate patterns of risk, which guide us to make earlier and more accurate interventions.” The Institute’s commitment to clinical research has grown dramatically since inception, and will continue to do so as we design more research programs, and create new center for innovation.“Whatever is best for the patient, we need to discover and deliver.”