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Your Healthy Family: UCHealth Memorial offers world class cardiovascular care

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Dr. Peter Walinsky is the senior medical director of cardiothoracic and vascular surgery at Memorial who says it's among the best in the nation Dr. Peter Walinsky is the senior medical director of cardiothoracic and vascular surgery at Memorial who says it's among the best in the nation
COLORADO SPRINGS -

As we move into March we're putting a bow on Heart Health Month by highlighting the level of cardiovascular care available in Colorado Springs at UCHealth Memorial.

Dr. Peter Walinsky is the senior medical director of cardiothoracic and vascular surgery at Memorial who says it's among the best in the nation.  “Our results in treating patients with complicated dissections and complicated aortic root pathology are excellent.  Even just elective root replacement, so (we’re talking about) patients who are not sick, or don’t have (aortic) dissections, the average number root replacements that a cardiac surgeon in the United States does in a 12-month period is two.  I've been here for 18 months and we've done 50.”

On Valentine’s Day we introduced you to Reynaldo Gonzalez, who traveled to Colorado Springs from Santa Fe, New Mexico, for a complicated heart valve replacement.  Rey and wife spent more than two weeks in the Springs for his surgery and recovery.   

Dr. Walinsky was Rey’s surgeon and had to file an appeal with Rey’s insurance company to allow him to have the surgery at Memorial.  “Rey was another very complicated case.  He had had a previous aortic valve replacement mitral valve and tricuspid valve repair in New Mexico about 13 years ago.  Both his aortic valve and his mitral repair had become dysfunctional.  The mitral valve was basically less than a dime (size) opening and so he had severe pulmonary hypertension, which is high blood pressure in the lungs.  Blood couldn't get back into his heart through the mitral valve and then it (blood) couldn't get out of the heart through the aortic valve because it was up again.  He was turned down for surgery in New Mexico because there just really wasn't anybody who did that kind of re-operative multi-valve surgery.  Fortunately we were able to convince his insurance company that our results here are as good as other places that they could send him -- Utah, Denver, Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, and they did agree to send him here after an appeal.”

While the results speak for themselves, Dr. Walinsky is a passionate advocate for the level of care now available at UCHealth Memorial.  “We feel very strongly that this is the place for people like that to come.  We have a large amount of experience and fantastic results.  We really take good care of those people.  When you go to a big huge center you get excellent surgery and you get excellent care, but it's not quite the same sort of individualized care.  They're doing 20 cases a day and we're concentrating on just one.”

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