Twenty years of heart care

Jan 1,2012
By Thomas Marker, MD

I was recently reminded by a colleague at Good Samaritan that December 19 marks 20 years since we performed our first cardiac catheterization at the hospital. It was 1991, and we’d just opened the first cath lab in Corvallis. Although we were only doing diagnostic angiography at that time, it was a huge step towards what is today a full-service adult cardiology program. It was also my 40th birthday and 15th wedding anniversary. You can do the math for 2011.

Much has changed in cardiac care at Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center in the last 20 years. In 1995, we welcomed heart surgeons to Corvallis, and with that were able to expand our service in percutaneous coronary interventions (angioplasty and stents). In 2002 a new wing was added to the hospital called the Ralph Hull Regional Heart Center. This new space allowed us to hire new specialists, invest in important new technology and truly develop a comprehensive heart and vascular program.

In 2006, we came together as cardiologists, surgeons, interventional radiologists and related specialists to form Samaritan Heart & Vascular Institute. This new entity underscored the significant growth of our services and the increasing number of patients who were coming from all over the area for care.

Most recently, we opened a cardiac electrophysiology lab to allow us to perform diagnostic tests and perform treatments on cardiac rhythm and conduction disorders. This year, we launched a cardiology fellowship program to train physicians who’ve completed medical school and internal medicine residency and are pursuing a career in cardiovascular disease.

I am fortunate to have been here these 20-plus years and to be part of this transformation, this growth. I am amazed and humbled to have witnessed such an accomplishment. The Corvallis community can be proud of what has been achieved by the Good Samaritan Board of trustees, through courage, and planning, investment and commitment to excellence. Everyone involved in this project is important, and the dedication of innumerable individuals has been necessary for the success.

I’m also looking forward to the years to come. We’re still a relatively young program and we’re always striving to improve. Our goal is to provide the best care in a manner consistent with current medical literature and established guidelines, and to keep up with an ever-changing profession – while providing the very best possible care to every patient we encounter.

Before we opened that first cath lab in 1991, a patient presenting to Good Sam with a “heart attack” could not have immediate and life-saving angioplasty and coronary artery stent placement; we had to treat such patients with medications that are not as effective in saving heart muscle and lives. Patients who have a heart attack today can receive exactly the lifesaving care they need right here in Corvallis – and that’s something to be proud of.

Dr. Thomas Marker is a board-certified cardiologist with Samaritan Heart & Vascular Institute. He specializes in nuclear cardiovascular diagnostic studies and pacemaker insertion.

This article first appeared in the Gazette-Times on Jan. 1, 2012.

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