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El Camino Hospital Media Releases

El Camino Hospital Los Gatos Launches Comprehensive New Vascular Program

Los Gatos, CA - November 3, 2010 - El Camino Hospital Los Gatos has opened a comprehensive new vascular program combining endovascular and surgical expertise to offer patients the best of both disciplines.

Dr. Hardeep Ahluwalia, a skilled vascular surgeon, has been appointed medical director for the new program. He is joined by renowned endovascular specialist Dr. James Joye, who is noted for his inventive, minimally invasive approach to cardiac and vascular care. Both are partners in Advanced Cardiovascular Specialists, a leading cardiology group.

"For years, cardiologists have debated over competing approaches to heart and vascular repair; endovascular versus open surgery," said Ahluwalia. "But Dr. Joye and I firmly believe that the right answer varies according to the unique needs and circumstances of the patient. Sometimes it will be the surgical side, and sometimes the minimally invasive side. It may even be a combination of both. Whatever their needs, we have the capability to offer patients all the options."

"The field of cardiology historically has been fragmented, with surgeons, interventionalists and even radiologists vying to treat patients according to what they know best," said Joye. "The ingenious aspect of this program is our comprehensive approach to detecting, managing and treating vascular disease. Dr. Ahluwalia has acquired a unique endovascular skill set that sets him apart as a vascular surgeon. Together we have developed a uniquely unbiased approach toward novel treatment options."

The importance of the new program for patients in Los Gatos and surrounding communities has already been demonstrated. A week ago, a 54-year-old father of two walked into the El Camino Hospital Los Gatos emergency department complaining of severe back pain. A CT scan showed a tear in the arterial wall, indicating a rare condition called thoracic dissection, estimated to be about five to 30 cases annually per one million patients. Even fewer are treated, because many patients die before making it to the hospital.

Ahluwalia, the surgeon on call that night, had a hunch about this patient and decided to have another CT scan performed, showing far more than a simple dissection; a penetrating thoracic ulcer was bleeding into the patient's chest. Ahluwalia performed life-saving surgery--the first thoracic aortic graft in the hospital's history. Without the availability of a skilled and experienced surgeon, the only option would have been to move the patient to another hospital, putting him at significant additional risk.

"This case really put our new program to the test, and showed both the incredible teamwork and dedication of the hospital's staff and the tremendous benefits this program can bring the community," said Ahluwalia.

In addition to state-of-the-art treatments, the new program offers patients head-to-toe vascular care, providing a broad range of in-office services ranging from patient consultations and general cardiac care to foot and PVD screening, non-invasive testing, in-office vein procedures and diabetes education and management. It will provide evaluation and management of peripheral vascular disease patients, endovascular treatment of arterial insufficiency on an outpatient basis using the most advanced techniques and technology, surgical alternatives for bypass grafting using "all vein" techniques and bioprosthetics, and wound care and management of venous disease.

Before becoming medical director, Ahluwalia worked with Joye at El Camino Hospital's Heart & Vascular Institute. They developed a complimentary and collaborative approach to treatments that leverages the strengths both bring to their respective disciplines. Joye is a pioneer in limb-salvage techniques and who, among other things, is credited with the development of Cryoplasty and percutaneous bypass, endovascular treatment techniques that target peripheral vascular disease (PVD). Both procedures were first performed at El Camino Hospital by him.

"We are delighted to be able to bring such a remarkable team and service to this community through the new center," said Pat Wolfram, El Camino Hospital Los Gatos administrator. "This helps fulfill our mission to implement our community model of health care delivery."

The El Camino Hospital Los Gatos Vascular Program offers an all-day clinic in Los Gatos on Fridays. To schedule, call 650-962-4690.