MD Insider: How Cincinnati Became One of The Best Places for Heart Care

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​MD Insider is a new medical series, featured quarterly in the Cincinnati Enquirer. Covering a variety of health topics, MD Insider takes a closer look at our outstanding programs and the medical experts who lead them. The first installment dives into our award-winning heart and vascular program and the genius behind its inception.

MD Insider: How Cincinnati Became One of The Best Places for Heart Care​

The Christ Hospital Health Network has transformed Greater Cincinnati healthcare by providing patients access to innovative procedures and revolutionary treatments through clinical research trials that are not available at other local hospitals. Not only do local residents have easy access to the latest advances in cardiovascular medicine long before they are available elsewhere, but patients don’t have to travel long distances for care, which can be costly and taxing for sick patients and their families.

Since the early 1980s, The Christ Hospital has been on the forefront of cardiovascular medicine, in large part as a result of one of Cincinnati’s most influential businessmen and philanthropists who convinced a local doctor-in-training to return to his hometown to start an innovative heart program so that local patients would not have to leave Cincinnati for care. ​

“Carl Lindner was really the catalyst for what we have today, which is state-of-the-art cardiovascular care, research, equipment and facilities,” said Dr. Dean Kereiakes, medical director of The Christ Hospital Heart and Vascular Center and the Lindner Research Center. “Carl wanted the best care to be available here in our community and due to the generosity of the Lindner family, we have been able to do just that.”

While training in San Francisco in the early 1980s, Kereiakes spoke with Lindner, who questioned why Cincinnatians have to leave home to obtain high-quality heart care. The conversation led to Kereiakes’s return to Cincinnati and to The Christ Hospital to perform leading-edge treatments in a new, state-of-the-art cardiac catheterization laboratory donated by Carl Lindner. Kereiakes is now widely regarded as one of the nation’s top cardiologists and a leader in cardiovascular research.

This was the beginning of a nationally recognized program at The Christ Hospital. The Lindner family ​has also made significant contributions to many unique programs at The Christ Hospital, including an in-patient facility focused on treatment of heart failure and a clinical research center ranked No. 1 in overall performance among the top cardiovascular clinical research centers in the country. The Lindner Research Center at The Christ Hospital has provided access to leading-edge technology and expertise well before it’s available elsewhere in the region.

The Christ Hospital is the first in the region to offer revolutionary, new treatments including:

  • Watchman device, an Atrial fibrillation (Afib) treatment that uses a minimally invasive procedure to reduce the risk of stroke without blood-thinning medications. 
  • Transcatheter Heart Valve Replacement (TAVR) for aortic valve replacement and new options to repair mitral valves without open heart surgery. 
  • Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD), which provides a life-saving option for patients waiting to receive a heart transplant or who are too sick to undergo a transplant. The Christ Hospital offers the most experienced LVAD program in the region as well as the most advanced heart failure care. 
  • Dissolvable stents that treat blockages in the coronary arteries and then return the artery to a more natural state after dissolving, reducing risk for future heart complications.
  • Regenerative therapies utilizing a patient’s own stem cells evaluated to repair and/or replace heart tissue damaged or lost during a heart attack.
  • New treatments for hypertension if blood pressure remains high despite the use of medications.