During the first eleven months of this year, specialists at the Centre of Cardiac Surgery and Interventional Cardiology, which is part of the Pirogov Clinic of Advanced Medical Technologies, have performed more than 500 successful open-heart operations.  The heart surgeons predict that, by year’s end, the number of operations will have climbed to 570, which is 45 percent more than last year. This increase is the greatest among all cardiology Centres in the Russian Federation.

“Today, the overwhelming majority of heart operations are overt interventions in the heart and major blood vessels under conditions of cardiopulmonary bypass and cardiac arrest,” commented Dmitry Shmatov, Director of the Clinic of Advanced Medical Technologies and a doctor of medical science.  “A surgical team has eight members: surgeons, an anesthesiologist, a perfusionist and nurses. A standard operation lasts for about three hours, and the whole time the surgical team is under maximum stress. It’s no coincidence that, in terms of the energy expended, the work of a heart surgeon is compared with that of a coal miner.”

Today, with the exception of heart transplants, a full range of cardiac-surgical, roentgen-endovascular, intravascular, arhythmological and hybrid operations is performed at the Centre of Cardiac Surgery and Interventional Cardiology within the St Petersburg University Medical Centre, using the same state-of-the-art technologies that are employed at the best clinics in the world.  The Centre ranks second among all the cardiology Centres in Saint Petersburg (there are twelve of them) according to the number of open-heart operations performed. It took the heart specialists at the Centre more than three years to arrive at that ranking, under the active support of Professor Yury Fedotov, Acting Senior Vice-Rector for Medical Care at St Petersburg University.

“Our operating rooms and intensive care units are no different from those of the leading clinics of Western Europe and North America, not only in the level of the equipment but also in that of the working system and the cooperation among the medical staff at all stages of treatment,” Shmatov noted.

“We employ the latest surgical, anesthetic and rehabilitation procedures, including, among others, fast-track preoperative preparation, treatment and recovery for patients after they undergo complicated heart surgery.”

 Dmitry Shmatov, Director of the Centre of Cardiac Surgery and Interventional Cardiology and a doctor of medical science

Employment of this methodology involves use of the latest in pharmaceuticals, coupled with continuous, intensive care by both doctors and nurses at all stages.  Patients come out from under anesthesia in as little as 30-50 minutes and begin to get up and walk around while they are still in the intensive care unit, and then they are transferred to the appropriate ward within a day after their operation.  This system has made it possible to significantly increase the number of open-heart surgeries without compromising the quality of the medical care.

Today, in the countries of Western Europe, such cardiac surgery Centres belong to the category of benchmark clinics, which have not only confirmed their professional qualifications and effectiveness but have also earned the right to set up educational programs for resident physicians and doctors from other regions.  Many university medical Centres are benchmark Centres when it comes to heart surgery, for example the Clinic at the University of Leipzig (the largest cardiology clinic in Europe), the Royal Danish Hospital (part of the conglomerate that is the University of Copenhagen) and the teaching hospital at the University of Barcelona.

Over the longer term, in another four or five years, the Centre of Cardiac Surgery and Interventional Cardiology at the St Petersburg University Medical Centre will be ready to develop a curriculum and academic materials to begin resident training in cardiovascular surgery at the university.  At present, heart surgeons teach at St Petersburg University in the Department of Hospital Surgery, and students have an opportunity to observe their work in the operating rooms, but it is residency training that will help to transmit the accumulated experience and advanced know-how to future specialists in this field of medicine.