Surgeon brings new treatments to WRHS

By Kristen Tribe | Published Saturday, February 9, 2013

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Dr. Arshad Yousuf with Texas Heart and Lung in Decatur is one of the only surgeons in North Texas performing minimally invasive cardiac surgery.

Yousuf opened his practice just two-and-a-half months ago and offers procedures that reduce trauma to the chest while cutting recovery time in half.

Although he performs numerous heart and lung surgeries, perhaps the most groundbreaking is the mini-sternotomy.

A sternotomy requires splitting the breastbone (the sternum) with an incision 8 to 10 inches long. A mini-sternotomy is performed through an incision only 3 to 4 inches long.

“The risk of infection is less, and the pain is less,” said Yousuf. “There is also less bleeding.”

Recovery times are shorter, too. He said a regular sternotomy requires a seven- to 10-day hospital stay and six to eight weeks off work, whereas the hospital stay for a mini-sternotomy is three to four days with two weeks off work.

There are also fewer restrictions with the less invasive surgery. Patients who have standard cardiac operations are not allowed to drive or lift more than 5 pounds while recovering, but depending on their situation, patients who undergo minimally invasive surgery may not have these same restrictions.

Yousuf also performs a less invasive thoracotomy, which is surgery for lung cancer. It offers the same benefits as a mini-sternotomy, particularly a shorter recovery time for the patient.

Charlie Green, RN and director of the cardiovascular intensive care unit, said Yousuf is not only a highly skilled surgeon, but is also accessible with a great bedside manner.

“He’ll basically spend 30 or 40 minutes in the patient’s room to make sure they understand what’s going on,” he said. “He comes in three or four times per day to check on patients … they all love him.”

Dr. Yousuf trained at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio and has worked at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in New Jersey and practiced in Tulsa, Okla.

He said he was interested in coming to Wise Regional after meeting with hospital staff and administration, and appreciates the efforts here to provide a wide scope of specialists to patients.

“The growth in three years here has been phenomenal, and I thought maybe I can grow with them … bring my experience and continue to do what they’re doing here,” he said.

Yousuf said the nurses in Wise Regional’s cardiac care unit and intensive care unit are some of the best with which he’s worked.

“They give very good care, and personal care, and that makes (patients) heal faster,” he said. “I’ve been extremely pleased.”

Yousuf said surgery is a team effort, and it “requires good anethesiologists, plus good support staff like techs and nurses,” all of which he said are in place at WRHS.

Green and other hospital employees said Yousuf is humble, often shifting the focus from himself.

“Most people (with his training and skills) would have that prestige that goes with it,” he said. “But I haven’t seen that at all. He’s amazing. He’s going to change the dynamics of this hospital.”

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