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Expert Heart & Lung Team

Beebe's highly trained cardiothoracic surgery team, includes cardiac surgeons M.L. Ray Kuretu, MD, and Edward "Ted" Stephenson, Jr., and Kurt Wehberg, MD. Thoracic surgery team includes robotically certified surgeons Kurt Wehberg, MD, and Mudiwa Munyikwa, MD, board certified general and thoracic surgeon. They, along with specialized physician assistants and surgical teams, perform advanced heart and lung procedures. Procedures are performed using traditional (open) and minimally invasive methods, including robotically assisted thoracic surgery. The team follows patients through their treatment and recovery process.


A Total Approach

Beebe Healthcare offers an advanced cardiothoracic surgery program as part of our comprehensive Cardiac & Vascular Services which includes cardiac surgery, interventional cardiology, electrophysiology, vascular surgery and interventions, a full range of cardiac and vascular testing and monitoring, cardiac rehab, and the Ornish Lifestyle Medicine program.

Beebe's heart and lung surgical teams offer both traditional and minimally invasive surgery. Using the da Vinci Xi Robotic Surgical System has allowed our teams to provide innovative surgical techniques to better serve our community. We offer both cardiac and thoracic robotically assisted procedures.

Did You Know?

People who have had a heart attack or who have a heart condition are eligible to enter the Ornish Lifestyle Medicine program at Beebe. Beebe is the only provider of the Ornish program in Delaware.


Meet the Cardiothoracic Team


The Latest Innovations

Beebe's Center for Robotic Surgery utilizes the latest in robotic technology - the da Vinci Xi Surgical System. It is this robotic surgical system that Forbes called the surgery of the future. Watch the video and learn more.

For our patients, they can expect a short stay in the hospital following robotically assisted thoracic surgery. Most patients only stay for about 24 hours following their procedure. Thoracic procedures are done to remove lung cancers, benign tumors, and cysts.


Advanced Technology & Procedures

Beebe’s cardiac surgeons offer specific heart surgery programs to better serve our patients:

  • Congestive Heart Failure. Statistics show patients with CHF are admitted to the hospital an average of three times per year. In addition, nearly 50 percent of patients die within five years of the initial diagnosis. At Beebe, our CHF Center of Excellence completes procedures including high-risk CABG, Impella device implantation, CardioHelp pulmonary-heart support, and LV aneurysmorraphy/resection.
  • Atrial Fibrillation. Studies show that by 2050, nearly 16 million Americans are expected to have AF. Beebe’s AF Center of Excellence provides a full spectrum of treatments for abnormal heart rhythms, including education, surgical procedures including modified Maze, pulmonary vein isolation, robotically assisted device implantations and minimally invasive LV epicardial lead. The comprehensive program includes post-discharge follow up and recovery plans.
  • Myocardial Revascularization Program. Procedures include CABG, da Vinci robotically assisted LIMA harvest and MIDCAB, among others.
  • Pericardial Disease Program. Medication and surgery options are available to treat this inflammation of the tissue surrounding the heart.
  • Structural Heart Program. Operated by Edward "Ted" Stephenson, MD, this program is a multidisciplinary approach to repairing valve issues within the heart.
  • Thoracic Aortic Disease. Under the direction of M.L. Ray Kuretu, MD, surgical team perform ascending aortic replacement, ascending aortic dissections, and aortoplasty.

In addition to open heart surgery and traditional open surgeries, Beebe also offers the following robotically assisted, minimally invasive cardiac procedures:

Heart:
•Robotic LIMA harvesting & minimally invasive Single vessel CABG
•Robotic Epicardial lead placement for biventrucular pacemaker
•Robotic Left Atrial Appendage Clipping or Ligation

Pericardial:
•Robotic resection of Pericardial tumors (being & malignant)
•Robotic resection of simple pericardial cysts
•Robotic resection of Anterior Mediastinal Masses
•Robotic pericardial window & biopsy for pericardial effusion

Thoracic surgery or procedures of the lungs, chest, and esophagus, are performed based on the patient’s needs and wishes. There are multiple treatment options, including traditional, minimally invasive, and robotically assisted surgeries. The cardiothoracic team offers specific, personalized programs:

  • Thoracic Oncology Program. Procedures include robotically assisted wedge resection, anatomic segmentectomy, lobectomy, and bi-lobectomy. Additional procedures include pneumonectomy, pancoast tumor resection, and chest wall resection.
  • Pulmonary Nodule Clinic. Procedures include EBUS (endobronchial ultrasound), robotically assisted “Tatooing” wedge resection, and anatomic wedge resection.
  • Mediastinal Disease Program. Benign or cancerous tumors in the area of the chest, often found during chest X-rays or scans, can be removed robotically using the da Vinci Xi surgical system. Procedures include: resection of anterior and/or posterior masses and thymectomy.
  • Chest Wall Disease Program. Reconstruction or resection of the chest wall include: ORIF sternum, ribs; pectoralis and omental flap coverage; pancoast tumor resection; and chest wall tumor resection.
  • Esophageal Disease Program. Procedures include minimally invasive complex hiatal hernia repair (Belsey-Mark IV repair), esophageal cancer surgery, and robotically assisted esophageal tumor and cyst removal, including leiomyomas.
  • Diaphragm Disease Program. Surgical procedures include: repair of diaphragm hernias (Morgagni, Hiatal-Belsey Mark IV Fundoplication, Bochdaleck Hernias) and diaphragm plication for eventration (VATS and robotically assisted procedures).
  • Pleural Disease Program. Procedures include PleurX (malignant pleural effusion), VATS (video-assisted thoracic surgery), robotically assisted decortication, and pleural tumor resection.

Beebe offers a wide variety of lung/thoracic procedures, including minimally invasive and robotically assisted procedures.

Beebe's cardiothoracic team utilizes the latest advances in heart and vein care. Surgeries are performed in modern operating rooms with Stryker Visium LED II lighting and in-light cameras with 32x zoom capability that allow the procedure to be viewed on monitors around the room. A powerful Phillips EPIQ 7 ultrasound imaging system delivers premium clarity. Other technologies include:

  • First hospital in Delaware to use the CardioHelp system, Maquet’s portable heart-lung machine that provides extracorporeal life support (ECLS) to replace or support a patient’s circulation and respiration.
  • TAVR: Beebe offers a program for patients called TAVR, which stands for transcatheter aortic valve replacement. This procedure can be an alternative to open heart surgery for higher-risk or frail patients.
  • Impella: Beebe offers Impella implantation - the world's smallest heart pump.
  • WATCHMAN: Our Electrophysiology and Interventional Cardiology team offers the Watchman for patients on certain heart medications. Learn more.