Superior Heart Services at Mission Heart
For more than 40 years, Mission Heart has been a regional leader in cardiothoracic surgery and heart care. Committed to high quality and superior outcomes, our award-winning staff has many years of specialized clinical experience, and is dedicated to caring for patients with skill and compassion. Our physician team at Asheville Cardiology Associates and Asheville Heart deliver a team-oriented approach to patient heart issues, with a high level of technical expertise.
Recently, Mission Heart has been recognized by Truven Health Analytics (a leading authority on clinical quality) as a "Top 50 Cardiovascular Hospital" for the tenth time (learn more here). Mission Heart is one of only two hospitals in the Carolinas to receive this recognition. Only five hospitals in the United States have been named to the Top 50 Cardiovascular Hospital list more times than Mission Heart.
In 2014, Mission Heart was one of only eight Cardiac Surgery Programs in the nation to receive the Society of Thoracic Surgeons' (STS) highest ranking (three stars) for Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting (CABG), Aortic Valve Replacement (AVR), and AVR/CABG combined surgery. In 2015, Mission's cardiothoracic program received an additional STS three-star rating for pulmonary resections - making Mission Heart one of the very few programs in the nation to achieve three-stars in all 4 rated STS database categories. At the end of 2015 Mission Heart was once again recognized with the highest STS ratings in all 4 categories.
Mission Heart at a Glance
- Mission Heart has been named one of America's Top 50 Cardiovascular Hospitals by Truven Health Analytics in 2016, the tenth time since 2000 that Mission has received this recognition.
- Highest recognition in four care categories by the Society of Thoracic Surgeons* - Of nearly 1,000 heart programs in America, Mission Heart consistently performs in the top 2%.
- Regional leader in "Door to Balloon" times - Our coordinated efforts with local EMS help heart attack patients get the treatment they need fast, for a better chance of survival.
- 2015 ACTION Registry-GWTGTM Platinum Performance Achievement Award - One of only 319 hospitals nationwide to receive the honor for commitment and success implementing a higher care standard for heart attack patients. Mission has demonstrated this same high-level performance since 2009.
- Best outcomes in our region - We have excellent post-discharge patient outcomes - top 2.8% of all hospitals for 30-day mortality and top 0.8% for all hospitals for 30-day readmissions.
- Superior heart failure outcomes - Patients with primary heart failure diagnosis are 5 times less likely to be readmitted to the hospital if they are followed post discharge by our Heart Failure Disease Management Clinic.
- Mission Health received the Get with the Guidelines -- Heart Failure Gold Achievement Award in 2012 from the American Heart Association.
- Mission Heart Care earned Heart Failure Program Accreditation in 2011 from the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care.
- Heart Support Group - Helping patients and families/caregivers learn about cardiovascular disease and ways to manage on a daily basis. First Tuesday each month at Asheville Cardiology Associates, 2:00 - 3:30pm.
- Ventricular Assist Device (VAD) - Mission Heart now offers this advanced care option for heart patients. Learn more at www.Mission-Health.org/VAD
- Advanced Cardiac Care Clinic - Our Structural Heart Program offers a multidisciplinary team of professionals dedicated to complete cardiac care, offering TAVR for problematic heart valve conditions. Call 828-213-0152.
- Heart Path (Cardiac Rehabilitation) - A comprehensive program of monitored exercise, dietary education, and stress management - offering individualized care plans to help you recover from a cardiac event. Call (828) 213-7000
- Mission Hospital named a "100 Hospitals and Health Systems with Great Heart Programs" in 2014-2015 by Becker's Hospital Review.
- Mission Heart Care earned The Joint Commission's Gold Seal of Approval--Cardiac Surgery Program for meeting national standards for healthcare, as well as quality and safety in the care of patients undergoing coronary artery bypass surgery. Mission was the first program in the state of North Carolina to receive this designation.
- Asheville Cardiology Associates - 35 top cardiologists (including three pediatric cardiologists) and a support staff of over 200 highly skilled heart care professionals - always improving and putting patients first. Call (828) 274-6000.
*Mission Heart received 3-Star ratings from the Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) in 2014 and 2015 for Isolated CABG, 2012-2015 for Isolated Aortic Valve Replacement, 2012-2015 for Aortic Valve Replacement and Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery, and in 2014 and 2015 for Pulmonary Resections.
Advanced Cardiac Therapies
Mechanical Circulatory Support may offer those living with advanced heart failure the opportunity for improved quality of life.
The cardiac rehabilitation and intervention track is a multidisciplinary program designed to assist those with a variety of chronic heart conditions or those recovering from cardiac surgery. Our program enables patients and families to improve their quality of life through a combined program of education, diet and exercise.
No other provider in western North Carolina is home to more cardiovascular innovation, coordinated care, and talent than Mission Hospital and Asheville Cardiology Associates. Our heart physicians are dedicated to providing groundbreaking, comprehensive care to our heart attack patients. During a heart attack, time matters. Mission Heart and ACA physicians boast one of the lowest Door-to-treatment times in the country.
Asheville Cardiology Associates
Asheville Cardiology Associates is comprised of 39 cardiologists, including three pediatric cardiologists, and a support staff of over 200 highly skilled individuals. Learn more about Asheville Cardiology at this link.
Asheville Heart (Surgery)
Mission Heart has a long-standing partnership with the surgeons and team at Asheville Heart. Visit their website at this link to learn more about available procedures and staff.
Complete Health Improvement Program (CHIP)
The Complete Health Improvement Program (CHIP) is a lifestyle education program that can help you prevent and reverse risk factors for obesity, type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure. The program has been highly successful in helping local individuals greatly improve their health and reduce their risk for developing heart disease
The medical director is Dr. Brian Asbill, a cardiologist and lipidologist with Asheville Cardiology Associates. The program offers before and after clinical lifestyle evaluations, including tests for total cholesterol, triglycerides, glucose, blood pressure and body-mass index. Most participants can see significant changes in as little as 30 days.
There is a fee involved to join the program, but Asheville Cardiology Associates is willing to work with participants to design a pay structure that will fit into almost any budget. Once you have completed the program, there are no more additional fees involved, and you can participate in our CHIPPER's Support Group at no cost in the future.
The cost of the CHIP program is $599, and flexible payment options are available. A deposit of $250 will reserve a participant slot in the program.
To sign up, or for more information, call (828) 274-6000, ext. 48319.
UPDATE: Our upcoming CHIP session begins in Fall of 2016 (specific date to be determined).
Call today to sign up, or for more information, call (828) 274-6000, ext. 48319.
- CHIP Information Flyer (PDF)
- Instructions for CHIP enrollment (PDF)
- Participant Registration Form (PDF)
CHIP Medical Director Dr. Brian Asbill explains why he chose the program to help promote lifestyle change and improved health in our community.
CHIP Graduate Patrick Bradshaw tells how the program helped him lose weight and reduce his risk for heart disease and diabetes.
Complete Health Improvement Program (CHIP) participant Catherine Wilson explains how the plant-based eating and exercise plan has changed her health.
Electrophysiology & Heart Rhythm Disorders
Mission Heart's advanced Electrophysiology team treats the majority of heart rhythm disorders, including: arrhythmia, atrial fibrillation (Afib) atrial flutter,ventricular tachycardia (VT), Ventricular Fibrillation (VF) and others.
Performing over 1000 arrhythmia procedures annually, Mission Heart Center's cardiac physicians rank among the top practitioners in the field of electrophysiology (the study of the heart's electrical system). Our commitment to clinical research in this field, as well as the use of advanced technology, such as 3D mapping capabilities, increases success in treating complex arrhythmia.
Are you experiencing arrhythmia?
Arrhythmia is characterized by a disruption in the heart's rhythm by a malfunction of the SA node. When this signal malfunctions, you may experience an uncomfortable and sometimes dangerous change in heart rhythm. Especially in women, symptoms of arrhythmia can be mistaken for conditions such as panic, stress or anxiety, so it's important to be evaluated for cardiac problems if you have any of these symptoms.
Types of arrhythmia treated at Mission Heart
There are various types of arrhythmia conditions, ranging from those with little consequences to those resulting in serious complications. On-going symptoms of palpitations, irregular heart rate, fatigue, shortness of breath and light-headedness all warrant medical attention. Variations of arrhythmia that are treated at Mission Heart include:
- Supraventricular tachycardia
- Atrial fibrillation
- Atrial flutter
- Ventricular tachycardia
- Ventricular fibrillation
- Heart block
Treating and diagnosing arrhythmias
After diagnosis with EKG, stress tests or EPS (electrophysiological study,)our physicians assess whether treatment is required. When treatment is considered necessary, our cardiologists may decide on any of the following options for treatment.
- Lifestyle change - control of caffeine, alcohol or other drugs may relieve an arrhythmia.Stress-management and exercise also can alleviate symptoms.
- Ablation - performed in an operating room, this procedure includes the insertion of a catheter into a groin blood vessel to the region of the heart from which the malfunction originates. High-frequency radio waves are sent into the catheter, removing the cells responsible for the malfunction.More than half of the ablations treated at Mission Hospital are complex ablations.
- Pacemaker - usually used for slow arrhythmia such as bradacardia or heart block,pacemakers are devices implanted under the skin to help regulate the SA node.
- Implantable cardioverter defibrillator - similar to a pacemaker and used for fast arrhythmia such as ventricular tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation, a programmed cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) is implanted under the skin and sends small electrical shocks to slow a rapid heart rate.
- Surgery - in extreme cases, surgical treatment is needed for arrhythmias. In surgical ablation, a procedure requiring general anesthesia, the chest is opened, the arrhythmia is located, and the faulty tissue destroyed.
- Maze surgical technology - this complex procedure is sometimes used to treat atrial fibrillation. A surgeon creates multiple cuts into the upper part of the atria in amaze pattern. The incisions are then stitched together to form scars.Because the scars do not carry electrical signals, the heart's normal rhythm is restored.
Follow-up care and support
Before you leave the hospital, our staff makes sure that appropriate support is in place to facilitate all necessary follow-up care. You are encouraged to participate in regular educational sessions at Heart Path, Mission Hospital's medically supervised, state and nationally certified cardiac rehabilitation program. Educators discuss optimal diet and exercise to maintain the best quality of life.
If you have questions about heart rhythm disorders or electrophysiology at Mission Heart, call Asheville Cardiology Associates at (828) 274-6000.
Mission Heart features a comprehensive and innovative Heart Failure Program. Our carefully coordinated care ensures that you receive the latest evidence-based treatments, follow-up care and support you need to prevent complications and maintain optimal health. After diagnosis, our expert medical staff provides treatments designed to reduce the symptoms and forestall the progress of heart failure. Treatment begins with helping you manage risk factors. Losing weight, limiting salt and fat in the diet, abstaining from smoking and alcohol consumption, keeping blood sugar levels in normal ranges and obtaining sufficient amounts of sleep are all factors that minimize the risk of further heart failure.
Heart Failure Treatments
Key features of the Heart Failure Program:
- Continuum of Care: Multidisciplinary Team approach across the continuum of care including physicians, advanced practitioners, specially trained nurses, nurse navigators, care managers, pharmacists, dietitians and social workers, among others.
- Guideline Directed Medical Therapy: Encompassing diagnosis, pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic management, interventional medical device therapy and advanced therapies including mechanical circulatory assist.
- Consistency of Care: Effective transitions of care across the continuum to ensure consistency of care, communication and partnerships between providers including incorporation of the Heart Failure Disease Management Clinic.
Heart Path is a state and nationally certified, comprehensive program of cardiac rehabilitation. It will help you look at the risk factors that cause heart disease and design a plan of care to lower your risks for future problems with your heart.
Heart Path Provides:
- A medically supervised exercise program that will help you return to your daily activities and decrease your risk for heart disease
- Education about your personal risk factors
- Regular reports to your doctors
- Family involvement your loved ones are asked to take part in education, group support and consultations
- A personal recovery plan – Heart Path staff will help you set goals to improve heart health
Heart Valve Replacement
When it comes to complex valve disease, Mission Heart is at the forefront of treatment innovation, performing more than 400 cardiac valve procedures every year. Mission Heart cardiothoracic surgeons have exceptional patient outcomes using advanced valve repair and replacement technologies. Mission Heart is in the top 2 percent of U.S. hospitals for valve procedure volumes. Studies show that high-volume centers consistently produce better patient results. Download our pdf booklet "Treating Complex Valve Disease with World-Class Care" to learn more.
World-Class Facilities for World-Class Care
As technology and research continue to expand cardiac care options, the facilities for care delivery must keep pace with new advances. Mission Heart continually upgrades its equipment and technologies to provide complex valve care. Our state-of-the-art hybrid operating room integrates advanced imaging, hemodynamic monitoring, and interventional and surgical techniques for complex valve procedures. Our Advanced Cardiac Care Clinic provides the following services:
- New and complex valve therapies
- Sophisticated surgical procedures to treat atrial fibrillation and structural heart disease
- Comprehensive treatment of heart failure resulting from valve disease
- Personal navigational services before, during and after treatment
Cardiac surgery is a highly technical specialty requiring an experienced team. The Mission Heart multidisciplinary team consists of cardiothoracic surgeons, anesthesiologists and cardiologists with expertise in managing patients with complex valve problems throughout their treatment. Our skilled team also includes credentialed echocardiographers, certified nurses and compassionate nurse navigators. At Mission Heart, we have the experience and expertise to:
- Perform a high volume of annual procedures - including 5 times more valve surgery than the average U.S. open heart program
- Offer a wider variety of treatment options for valve repair
- Perform complex valve procedures
- Treat high-risk patients with success:
- 27 percent of valve patients at Mission Heart are more than 80 years old
- 20 percent of valve surgery patients are in Class III or IV heart failure
- 20 percent of valve surgery patients have had prior cardiac surgery
What sets our Complex Valve Program apart?
Mission Heart is renowned for its treatment of complex valve disease. The following points explain how our program has achieved success:
- Volume - In 2014, Mission performed more than 400 valve procedures, five times more than the average U.S. heart program.
- Options for Complex Patients - Over the past decade, Mission's heart surgery team has performed more than 1,200 valve repairs, including double and triple valve repair and/or replacement surgeries and complex aortic root reconstructions. Over the past two years, Mission Heart has performed more than 125 Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) procedures. Caring for the complex valve surgery patient is what we do every day.
- Outcomes - When compared to a large national cohort of aortic valve replacement patients, Mission's 30-day mortality rates are significantly lower than the national average. This means you stand a much better chance of surviving and thriving with Mission Heart.
- Research and Education - Mission's heart team is involved in major clinical trials that are pioneering new treatment options for complex heart patients.
- With nationally-recognized heart care close to home, Mission Heart's Complex Valve Disease Program looks forward to working with you and your physician to provide superior services and outcomes.
A Leader in Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement
Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) is the least invasive option for patients with severe aortic stenosis not amenable to conventional surgery. An expandable valve is deployed in the aorta through the femoral artery, or surgically through the left ventricle or the aorta.
Surgeons and cardiologists collaborate starting with decision-making and continuing through the completion of the procedure in a "hybrid" operating room and during recovery. Since 2012, more than 100 such procedures have been performed at Mission Heart. Mission serves as a reference center training site sharing innovative approaches to procedures such as TAVR. With TAVR, a valve can be replaced in as little as 90 minutes and recovery takes only days.
Following the TAVR, you will be moved to an intensive care unit or cardiac care unit. Patients typically are able to be up and walking within 24-48 hours after their procedure. Your doctor will determine when you are ready to move to a standard hospital room. The typical hospital stay for the TAVR is 3-5 days.
Summary of Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement:
- Local or general anesthesia
- Heart pumps normally
- Catheter delivers valve to heart
- Valve replaced during 1-3 hour procedure (typical)
- 3-5 day hospital stay (typical)
- Approximately 1-week recovery period
See how TAVR patient Nels Glesne's life was changed by his valve replacement procedure.
Mission Heart News
Learn more about happenings and achievements of the Mission Heart program below.
Mission Heart Contributors published in the New England Journal of Medicine
(April 7, 2016)
The Rate vs. Rhythm Control for Postoperative Afib manuscript was published yesterday in the New England Journal of Medicine with Mission Heart Cardiovascular Surgeon Mark Groh, MD and Clinical Research Nurse Ralph Mangusan, MSN as co authors. Mission Heart was the third top enroller in this clinical trial study. See the study here.
Mission Heart Receives Chest Pain Center with Primary PCI Accreditation
(April 4, 2016)
Mission Hospital (Memorial Campus) and Mission Heart has received full Chest Pain Center with Primary PCI Accreditation from the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care (SCPC), extending to April 18, 2018. Heart attacks are the leading cause of death in the United States, with 600,000 people dying annually of heart disease. The SCPC's goal is to significantly reduce the mortality rate of patients by teaching the public to recognize early symptoms of a possible heart attack, reduce the time that it takes to receive treatment, and increase the accuracy and effectiveness of treatment. Learn more about Mission Heart's prestigious accreditation here.
Mission Heart Earns Highest Ratings from Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS)
January 3, 2016
Mission Heart has earned the Society of Thoracic Surgeons three-star rating in AVR (aortic valve replacement), CABG (coronary artery bypass graft), and AVR with CABG for a second straight year. Three stars is the highest rating awarded by the STS. Only 11 of over 1000 programs obtained these quality metrics in all three categories. Mission Heart also obtained 3 stars in non-cardiac thoracic surgery. Less than 10% of programs nationally achieved this rating. Founded in 1964, The Society of Thoracic Surgeons is a not-for-profit organization representing more than 7,100 surgeons, researchers, and allied health care professionals worldwide who are dedicated to ensuring the best possible outcomes for surgeries of the heart, lung, and esophagus, as well as other surgical procedures within the chest. Learn more about the STS and Mission Heart's ratings at this site.
Know the Signs and Symptoms of Heart Disease and Heart Attacks
Signs and symptoms of coronary heart disease (CHD) can be different with women and men. Some women may have no signs or symptoms - called silent CHD. Sometimes it may not be diagnosed until a women exhibits signs and symptoms of a heart attack, heart failure, or arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat).
See this excellent Mission Health blog post about signs and symptoms of heart attack in women.
Signs of Coronary Heart Disease
- Angina (dull, heavy to sharp chest pain or discomfort)
- Pain in the neck, jaw, throat, upper abdomen or back
Signs of a Heart Attack
- Chest pain or discomfort
- Upper back or neck pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Extreme fatigue
- Upper body discomfort
- Shortness of breath
Signs of Arrhythmia
- Fluttering feelings (palpitations)
Signs of Heart Failure
- Shortness of breath
- Swelling in feet, ankles, legs and abdomen
Surgical Procedures Performed at Mission Heart
Many advanced surgical procedures are performed at Mission Heart by the surgical team at Asheville Heart. These are the most common procedures performed in our Owen Heart Center:
- Aortic Valve Replacement and Repair
- Mitral Valve Replacement and Repair
- Tricuspid Valve Repair
- Pulmonary Valve Replacement and Repair
- Aortic Aneurysm Repair
- Endoscopic Vein Harvest
- Coronary Artery Bypass
- Cardiac Valve Surgery
- Transcatheter Aortic Valve Surgery (TAVR)
- Multiple Valve Replacement/Repair
- Thoracic Aortic Surgery
- Surgery for Atrial Fibrillation
- LVAD (Left Ventricular Assist Device)
- VAD (Ventricular Assist Device)
- Surgical treatment of lung esophageal cancer
- Surgery for complications emphysema
- Advanced diagnostic and treatment of benign lung conditions
- Diseases of the mediastinum - thymic neoplasms, lymphoma, etc.
- Thoracic trauma
- Minimally invasive thoracic surgery, including VATS lobectomy, pneumonectomy, esophagogastrectomy
Mission Heart Ventricular Assist Device (VAD) Program
|Mission Heart VAD Recipient James Hemphill on the green wearing his device.|
Mission Heart is leading the way in western North Carolina and the surrounding region by offering the Ventricular Assist Device (VAD) as a component of our comprehensive heart failure management program. This surgically-implanted device can have a profound, positive impact on survival, functionality and quality of life for those living with advanced heart failure, who are not responding to traditional medical therapies.
What is a ventricular assist device?
A ventricular assist device (VAD) is a surgically-implanted mechanical device that improves blood flow through the heart and can greatly improve survival and quality of life. To learn more about VAD, visit this site.
A Multidisciplinary Team
The VAD Team at Mission includes a board certified cardiothoracic surgeon, heart failure cardiologist, LVAD coordinators, nurse practitioners, a licensed clinical social worker, registered dietician, financial counselor, and other specialists as needed. We work together to provide our patients with the highest level of care and support 24-hours-a-day.
We understand that each patient and family is unique. Our team is committed to providing our patients the highest level of care to meet each individual's healthcare and quality of life goals.
Contact our VAD Coordinator for more information and consultation:
(828) 213-0152 (office) or (828) 712-2845 - VAD Coordinator (after hours)
If you are a VAD patient experiencing an emergency, please call 911 to request assistance.
Learn how Mission Heart and Asheville Heart surgeon Mark Groh, MD helped local patient Robert through a complex heart procedure.
Cardiologist Joshua Leitner, MD talks about the importance of the TAVR procedure to help patients with failing heart valves.
Dr. Brian Asbill tells how he chose the CHIP program to help promote healthy lifestyle and heart health improvement in our community.
VAD patient Shurman Surrett talks about life with the ventricular assist device
Dana Triplett of the Advanced Cardiac Care Clinic explains the TAVR procedure.
Asheville Heart surgeon Stephen Ely, MD tells us about the VAD procedure.
Learn why so many highly skilled heart care professionals choose to practice at Mission Heart.
Asheville Cardiology Associates - (website)
5 Vanderbilt Park Drive
Asheville, NC 28803
Asheville Cardiology Associates - Brevard - (website)
89 Medical Park Drive, Suite C
Brevard, NC 28712
Asheville Cardiology Associates - Rutherfordton - (website)
128 Dr. Henry Norris Drive
Rutherfordton, NC 28139
Asheville Cardiology Associates - Franklin - (website)
55 Medical Park Drive
Franklin, NC 28734
Hendersonville Cardiology - (website)
691 Blythe Street
Hendersonville, NC 28739
Sylva Cardiology - (website)
80 Healthcare Drive, Suite 201
Sylva, NC 28779
Angel Cardiac Rehabilitation
55 Medical Park Drive, Suite 100
Franklin, NC 28734
Heart Path (Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehab)
5 Vanderbilt Park Drive, Suite 301
Asheville, NC 28803
Heart Failure Disease Management Clinic
5 Vanderbilt Park Drive, Second Floor
Asheville, NC 28803
Part Time ACA Satellite Locations
Asheville Cardiology Associates - Highlands
209 Hospital Drive, Suite 104
Highlands, NC 28741
Asheville Cardiology Associates - Spruce Pine
189 Hospital Drive, Suite A
Spruce Pine, NC 28777
Asheville Cardiology Associates - McDowell
1633 Sugar Hill Road
Marion, NC 28752
Asheville Cardiology Associates - Columbus
589 Peniel Road
Columbus, NC 28722
Asheville Cardiology Associates Pediatrics - Rutherfordton
128 Dr. Henry Norris Drive
Rutherfordton, NC 28139
Asheville Cardiology Associates Pediatrics - Morganton
149 West Parker Road
Morganton, NC 28655
Asheville Cardiology Associates Pediatrics - McDowell
387 US 70 West
Marion, NC 28752
Advanced Cardiac Care Clinic
509 Biltmore Avenue
Asheville, NC 28801
Liz Allen, RN, CCRN
(828) 213-0152 (office) or
(828) 712-2845 - VAD Coordinator (after hours)
Asheville Cardiology Associates
5 Vanderbilt Park Drive
Asheville, NC 28803
Heart Support Group
The Heart Support Group is designed to help patients and their families/caregivers learn more about cardiovascular disease and ways to manage on a daily basis. These monthly meetings also give patients a chance to meet others living with the same condition. The group meets on the first Tuesday of each month at Asheville Cardiology Associates from 2:00 - 3:30pm.