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Colorado’s largest cardiothoracic practice is improving surgical solutions, patient care locally

By: Cortney Quintero, Red Energy
November 24, 2015 Updated: November 24, 2015 at 1:46 pm
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Pulse is a quarterly Gazette medical publication that highlights the survivors, volunteers and physicians who make our city a strong and healthy place to live.


Local health care providers work tirelessly treating patients, but it is not accidents or chronic illness that takes the highest toll. Claiming more lives than all forms of cancer combined, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women across the globe.

For John Mehall, MD, founder of Cardiac and Thoracic Surgery Associates (CTSA), an unyielding desire to meet the needs of our community in treating heart disease has led to the development of the largest cardiothoracic practice in the state of Colorado. “I built our practice on the foundation of treating patients with care and compassion using the most innovative methods possible,” he said. “The need for treating cardiovascular disease is there and I couldn’t be more proud to have such an incredible team of practitioners.”

Cardiovascular disease affects all ages and ethnicities, killing approximately one person every 40 seconds in the U.S. While certain predispositions can pose more likely risks for developing some forms of cardiovascular disease, like high blood pressure or diabetes, there are controllable risk factors. Habits like smoking, poor diet, lack of exercise and excessive alcohol use are just a few of the lifestyle choices playing a major role in the development of cardiovascular disease.

The CTSA team serves three surgical programs and multiple outreach clinics across Colorado and western Kansas, performing more than 1,500 operations annually, specializing in the innovative treatment of some of the most challenging heart, aorta, lung and chest conditions.

Some of the most common conditions treated at CTSA are heart disease, valve disease, coronary artery disease, atrial fibrillation, aortic disease, lung cancer, esophageal cancer and other diseases.

“All of the surgeons performing heart surgery at our practice can do a full spectrum of cardiothoracic surgery, but we also all have unique niches with our own special expertise,” Dr. Mehall said. “This truly allows our patients to have world class surgical care without having to travel far from home to get the treatment they need.” Averaging more than 15 percent annual growth each of the last nine years, CTSA’s programs have initiated new services, such as minimally invasive and robotic surgery, trans-catheter aortic and mitral valve replacement, endovascular aortic surgery and other sub-specialized offerings. CTSA has become the busiest minimally invasive cardiac surgery program in the state of Colorado, ensuring all its surgeons use minimally invasive approaches to a variety of operations whenever possible.

Unlike traditional open heart surgery, minimally invasive cardiac surgery is performed without having to divide the breastbone. Instead, the approach may include video imaging or robotic-assisted surgery using a da Vinci® surgical robot. When treated with minimally invasive procedures, patients often experience less pain, lower need for blood transfusions, faster recovery, decrease in the need for pain medications, decreased risk of infection, minimal scarring (due to smaller incisions) and shorter hospital stays, ensuring the patient can get back to normal life quickly.

“Our team is focused on treating patients with the highest quality care possible with some of the most innovative procedures available,” Dr. Mehall explained. “What we try and do is make the patients feel comfortable in understanding their condition, the options available to them and feel comfortable and confident in their surgery.”

While CTSA offers some of the latest and greatest surgical innovations, Dr. Mehall emphasizes that clear, effective and timely communication and education are the best tools in helping the patient and family understand the patient’s condition.

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