Northwestern Medicine's Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute Celebrates 10 Years of Breakthrough Medicine

Northwestern Medicine
Cardiology February 13, 2015

A decade after philanthropist Neil G. Bluhm announced a $10 million Valentine’s Day 2005 gift to Northwestern Medicine’s cardiovascular program, the program is ranked as one of the best in the United States, has more than tripled the number of cardiac surgery cases performed at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and is a destination for those in the Midwest and beyond seeking advanced cardiovascular care.

“I am very proud that, in its first decade, the great cardiovascular program at Northwestern Medicine has become one of the top cardiovascular programs in the country,” said Bluhm, founder and president of JMB Realty Corporation. “When I think of how many patients and families have benefited from the expertise of Northwestern’s cardiovascular team, I am truly amazed—and I am privileged to contribute to such an exemplary program. I know that, in the next ten years, the program will only continue to grow stronger, and many more lives will be saved and improved.”

Bluhm’s gift was announced on Feb. 14, 2005, changing the name of the Northwestern Cardiovascular Institute to Northwestern Medicine’s Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute. In April 2004, renowned heart surgeon Patrick McCarthy, MD, executive director of the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute and chief of cardiac surgery at Northwestern Memorial, joined Northwestern Medicine from Cleveland Clinic to spearhead the mission of creating a destination in Chicago for treatment of vascular and heart disease, which remains the number one killer of men and women in the United States.

“Ten years since Neil Bluhm’s transformative gift, Chicago-area residents are choosing not to travel out of state for complex cardiovascular care, and more and more people from around the country are choosing Northwestern Medicine for their heart and vascular surgeries,” said McCarthy, who is also Heller-Sacks professor of cardiac surgery at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “February 14, 2015 is a day to pause and reflect in gratitude on how far we have come. Rest assured we have big plans for the next decade and beyond to guarantee the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute remains a vital resource for patient care and scientific research.”

In the decade since the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute’s founding:

  • Northwestern’s cardiology and heart surgery program has gone from unranked to 13th nationally as rated by U.S. News and World Report. For the last seven consecutive years, the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute has rated first in Chicago, Illinois and the surrounding states for heart care.
  • Cardiac surgery case volume has more than tripled in the last decade, with most of this growth in the area of complex cardiac surgeries like valve surgery, heart transplantation, ventricular assist device implant and others.
  • Northwestern Memorial was recognized in 2014 as having the second highest heart attack survival rate for older patients in the United States, a reflection of the wide variety of care available starting in the hospital’s emergency department and extending into the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute.
  • Patient satisfaction scores and likelihood to recommend scores from patients are in the top 10 percent.
  • The Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute extends from Northwestern Memorial Hospital in downtown Chicago to Lake Forest Hospital and select outpatient centers in Chicago’s north suburbs, providing continuity of expert care close to home for thousands of patients throughout the Chicago area. A similar arrangement is anticipated in Chicago’s Western suburbs following Northwestern Medicine’s integration with Cadence Health in 2014.

Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute is the professional home to two past presidents of the American Heart Association — Clyde Yancy, MD, Northwestern Memorial’s chief of cardiology and the Feinberg School’s Magerstadt professor of medicine, and Robert Bonow, MD, vice chairman of the department of medicine, director of the Center for Cardiovascular Innovation and Goldberg Distinguished Professor at the Feinberg School. Neil Stone, MD, the medical director of Northwestern Medicine’s Center for Vascular Disease, chaired the expert panel that wrote the national guidelines released in 2013 for managing blood cholesterol in people at risk of heart attacks and stroke. Stone was named American Heart Association Physician of the Year in 2014.

Six niche centers within the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute allow patients highly specialized care in treating their specific heart and vascular ailments. The centers focus on coronary disease, heart failure, heart rhythm disorders, heart valve disease, preventative cardiology and vascular disease. A separate Clinical Trials Unit advances patient care, scientific research and cardiovascular disease prevention.

Learn more about the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute, or to make an appointment to see a physician, or call (312) NM-HEART.

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