Keck Medicine of USC Tuesday announced the launch of the USC Cardiac and Vascular Institute, which brings together cardiovascular services at the academic medical center under one unified structure.

Dr. Vaughn Starnes, surgeon-in-chief at Keck Hospital of USC, has been named executive director of the institute.

“The development of the USC Cardiac and Vascular Institute elevates our commitment to patient-focused care and the highest quality outcomes,” said Starnes, who also chairs the USC Department of Surgery and is the H. Russell Smith Foundation Chair for Stem Cell and Cardiovascular Thoracic Research at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.

“The launch of the institute will drive clinical growth and enhance the strong, integrated working relationship between the cardiology, cardiac and vascular surgery teams,” he said.

Services offered include cardiac and vascular surgery, advanced heart failure treatment and transplants, valve repair and replacement techniques, comprehensive treatment for atrial fibrillation, an on-call team for aortic emergencies and a rapid transport system for accepting patients across the region who need a high level of specialty care as well as non-invasive cardiology, cardiac imaging, electrophysiology procedures and interventional cardiology.

The institute also will collaborate with cardiac care-aligned departments, such as the Department of Medicine and the Department of Anesthesiology, and will work with the Keck School to expand cardiovascular medicine research and education.

Under the leadership of Dr. Ray Matthews, director of outreach and network development, the institute will also create an aligned network of providers to maintain and enhance relationships with independent physician groups and community and affiliate hospitals.

“We look forward to continuing to connect patients with a network of world-class providers, services and facilities to treat cardiovascular disease, while serving as a hub of innovation and a model for other cardiology and heart surgery programs,” Starnes said.

According to the American Heart Association, one in three American adults has some form of cardiovascular disease. Heart disease also is the leading cause of death in the United States for both men and women and for all racial and ethnic groups.

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