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The Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute: Legacy of a Quality Program

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Mr. Bluhm at HAB Studio
Neil G. Bluhm at Hearts a Bluhm studio
January 31, 2011

Chicago -

Delivering safe and highly specialized cardiovascular care 

In April of 2004, Northwestern Memorial Hospital merged the divisions of cardiology, cardiac surgery and vascular surgery to establish its first interdisciplinary cardiovascular institute. At the same time, the hospital successfully recruited Patrick M. McCarthy, MD to build on the hospital's already strong cardiovascular foundation and to bring established surgical expertise and leadership to the new institution.

Stated at the time of Dr. McCarthy’s arrival to Northwestern by Dean M. Harrison, “As one of the nation’s foremost experts in cardiac surgery, Dr. McCarthy’s arrival gives us the opportunity to bring a world-class program to the marketplace and launch Northwestern Memorial into a new era of heart care.” Mr. Harrison was at the time of the statement and currently the president and chief executive officer of Northwestern Memorial HealthCare. Dr. McCarthy is currently the chief of cardiac surgery at Northwestern Memorial, director of the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute and the Heller-Sacks Professor of Surgery at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

The new institute received it s name, Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute, in recognition of the generous financial donation given by Neil G. Bluhm, a prominent real estate developer and alumnus of Northwestern University. The donation was given to allow for further expansion of the heart and vascular programs at Northwestern.

Today, nearly seven years later, the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute is a world-class heart and vascular program that is a destination for those requiring highly specialized cardiovascular care. The tremendous growth and depth of the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute, including the comprehensive clinical programs and superior clinical outcomes, can clearly be measured in its improved U.S. News & World Report's "America's Best Hospitals” ranking. In 2004, U.S. News & World Report's " ranked the heart and heart surgery program at Northwestern 43rd in the nation. In 2010, the ranking greatly improved to 14th in the nation.

“While these accomplishments have been gratifying, we strive everyday to exceed the high benchmarks we established for the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute in 2004,” says Dr. McCarthy. “Our highest priority remains to provide outstanding clinical care at all phases of patient contact, from the patients’ initial phone or email contact, to their first appointment, through diagnostic evaluation, treatment and follow-up.”

In addition to the U.S. News & World Report rankings, the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute has been recognized for outstanding program achievements in 2010 in the following areas:

  • Launching “Hearts a Bluhm” – the first of its kind consumer education and awareness campaign centered around 100 acrylic hearts artistically decorated to generate widespread awareness of the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease.
  • Our outcomes for heart failure and heart attack patients consistently rank better than the U.S. national rate for 30-day hospital mortality.
  • Our Center for Heart Valve Disease is among the leaders in transcatheter heart valve intervention, receiving the highest rankings from the industry’s most stringent outcome monitors for valve replacement surgery.
  • We are one of only four hospitals in Illinois offering a Joint Commission Certified Medicare Destination Therapy Ventricular Assist Device (VAD) Program.
  • Our Medicare-approved Heart Transplant program, a Blue Distinction Center of Transplants and an Optum Health Center of Excellence, ranks among the best in the country for one-year patient survival at 96 percent.
  • The Division of Vascular Surgery received a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Institutional Training Grant (T32) to fund its “Vascular Surgery Scientist Training Program.
  • We will be expanding our outpatient and inpatient services regionally by providing a staffed cardiovascular clinic at Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital, our affiliated hospital in North suburban Lake County, Illinois.


Media Contact:

Kris Lathan, Director
Northwestern Memorial Hospital

Last UpdateDecember 2, 2011