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The Past, Present, and Future of Beebe Cardiac & Vascular Services

Lynn Amey came to Beebe in 1990 as the vascular lab coordinator. She arrived a few months prior to Dr. Mayer Katz, vascular surgeon, who set up the program at Beebe. At the time, there was no vascular program or lab at Beebe, so it had to be constructed from scratch.

When they first started seeing patients, they had four patient rooms on the fifth floor of the Medical Center in Lewes. A few months in, it became apparent they would need more space and so the team moved to the first floor proximate to where they are today.

“It was tight conditions here for our team in those days,” Ms. Amey recalled. “Dr. Katz rented space and had his office in the hospital. We were a tight-knit group.”

The vascular program continued to grow for more than a decade. Then, in 2005, Dr. Katz moved his office to the Bayview Drive office where Beebe Vascular is today. A second vascular noninvasive diagnostic lab for testing was opened at Bayview Drive, and in February 2018, a third lab location was opened in Millsboro.

“The program has grown and changed over the years. At one point, it joined cardiac and became Cardiac and Vascular Services,” Ms. Amey said.

In the early 2000s, the hospital expanded its service lines and Ms. Amey was named director and then executive director of Cardiac & Vascular Services at Beebe.

“We have been lucky here to have Dr. Katz who has such skill and such foresight when it comes to his patients. And, we have been lucky in recent years to hire two additional vascular surgeons – Dr. Carlos Neves and Dr. Sean Ryan,” she said. “I am sure it is because of them being here and because of their skill that Dr. Katz now feels comfortable retiring.”

Dr. Katz, who gave so much to Beebe, in addition to creating the vascular service line here, plans to retire in April.

“After working with Dr. Katz for 41 years, I can honestly say I am always impressed with how patient-focused he is. He will do anything for his patients,” Ms. Amey said. “He spends time with them and they know they can call him anytime. He actually provides them with his home and cell phone number.”

As the service line prepares for more changes, it is also ready to embrace growth and innovation.

Beebe installed the first cardiac cath lab in 1996. It was small and used mostly for testing. In 2007, the new space was created, which expanded the space to two cath labs and a 13-bed holding area. Just a short time later, they needed additional interventional space and merged efforts with Diagnostic Imaging to include vascular procedures under the Cardiac and Vascular services thus adding a third cath lab.

Although pacemakers had been inserted at Beebe for years, the cardiac electrophysiology program really expanded to a full service program in 2012 when an electrophysiologist joined the Medical Staff. In addition, the cardiac team added CardioHelp, a life-saving device that keeps the heart pumping and lungs working for certain critically ill patients. A couple years ago, the Beebe Vein Center was launched, allowing patients to have vein screenings and be educated by Fellowship Trained vascular and endovascular surgeons.

Healthgrades has recognized Beebe’s Cardiac & Vascular Services as being in the Top 10 percent in the nation for Coronary Interventional Procedures for two years in a row (2017-2018).

“It’s a constantly evolving field. In both cardiac and vascular, our teams have grown significantly,” Ms. Amey said. “One of the main reasons that I love cardiac and vascular services is because it is always exciting. There are always new discoveries and new devices coming out to better serve our patients. In this community, many of us are friends and family, and our goal at Beebe is treat everyone like family.”

Highlights of the future of Cardiac & Vascular Services:

  • New Hybrid Operating Room – currently under construction at the Medical Center in Lewes.
  • Two new cardiac cath labs, one of which will be a new electrophysiology lab
  • Continued recruitment for cardiac surgery, cardiology team members, and vascular team members
  • EKOS program – for pulmonary embolus patients (blood clots in the lungs, this device allows care providers to do a procedure which provides a solution to dissolve clots directly to the clot.
  • New and innovative devices launched, including the Micra™, the smallest pacemaker on the market, which reduces risk to the patient and recovery time. It was first used at Beebe in February.
  • Watchman – a device that offers an alternative to the lifelong use of warfarin for people with atrial fibrillation not caused by a heart valve problem (also known as non-valvular AFib). This permanent heart implant effectively reduces the risk of stroke.
  • TAVR – a transcatheter aortic valve replacement for people who have been diagnosed with severe symptomatic aortic stenosis and are at intermediate or greater risk for open heart surgery.

“The services we provide here mean our patients do not have to travel to a larger city for care. It helps them stay comfortably close to home and it is great for the community that these innovative, high quality procedures and programs are offered right here,” Ms. Amey said. “Our physicians maintain offices throughout Sussex County and travel to those offices to be closer to their patients. We plan to continue to expand our locations outside of Lewes this year.”

Learn more about the Hybrid Operating Room project.