Oklahoma City VA hospital temporarily closes heart program, citing federal review over deaths

The Oklahoma City VA Medical Center has temporary suspended its cardiac surgery program, citing deaths over the past year that prompted the VA office in Washington, D.C., to review the program, leaders said this week.
by Jaclyn Cosgrove Modified: June 14, 2014 at 10:00 pm •  Published: June 14, 2014
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The Oklahoma City VA Medical Center has temporarily suspended its cardiac surgery program, citing deaths over the past year that prompted the VA office in Washington, D.C., to request a review of the program, officials said this week.

“We are taking a brief pause in our cardiac program while we have an outside review from central office,” said Dr. Mark Huycke, the chief of staff at the Oklahoma City VA. “We expect that review to occur later this month, and I fully anticipate the program will get restarted.”

Huycke said during an interview that he didn’t have the information in front of him to cite the number of deaths.

About 12 to 15 patients will be affected by the closure, Huycke said.

Patients who need surgery will either be referred to the Houston VA medical center or will get care at a non-VA hospital. The closure will affect patients, for example, who suffer from coronary artery disease and need surgery, Huycke said.

The hospital will continue to perform stent surgeries, a surgery performed by interventional radiologists who place a small mesh tube known as a stent in an artery. Stents can restore blood flow to narrow or blocked arteries, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

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by Jaclyn Cosgrove
Medical and Health Reporter
Jaclyn Cosgrove writes about health, public policy and medicine in Oklahoma, among other topics. She is an Oklahoma State University graduate. Jaclyn grew up in the southeast region of the state and enjoys writing about rural Oklahoma. She is...
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