Hearts in Good Hands

A team approach enables world-class care for cardiac patients at Jersey City Medical Center.

Whether a patient needs a cardiac test or a highly specialized procedure, Jersey City Medical Center (JCMC) can provide what’s needed through its comprehensive cardiovascular services.

How does the expertise of JCMC’s cardiac team improve care for you and your loved ones? Here, two JCMC cardiac specialists explain. Tyrone Krause, MD, Esq., Chief of Cardiothoracic and Chair of Surgery at JCMC, has performed heart surgery for almost 10,000 people. Iosif Gulkarov, MD, JCMC’s new Associate Chief of Cardiac Surgery, joined the JCMC team this past summer.

Dr. Krause and Dr. Gulkarov are members of RWJBarnabas Health Medical Group. Both have advanced training in highly specialized areas related to cardiothoracic surgery, which encompasses surgery of the heart and chest (thorax) area.

What is the range of heart care patients can receive at JCMC?

Dr. Krause: We already have the only team in Hudson County that offers open-heart surgery. For years, patients have also come to us when they need heart bypass due to narrowed or blocked blood vessels, replacement of valves that control blood flow to or from the heart, repair of the aorta, and many other types of innovative care. Now, with cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Gulkarov on the team, we can expand our care for people with some of the most serious heart conditions.

Dr. Gulkarov: Like Dr. Krause and others on our team, I perform a variety of heart procedures using tools and techniques for minimally invasive surgery. I also specialize in grafting, or replacing, one and sometimes more than one, damaged artery during the same surgery to improve blood flow. My experience includes using advanced techniques to improve an irregular heartbeat, caring for patients with heart tumors, and removing life-threatening blood clots in the lung.

With the variety of patients we see and techniques we use, having a strong team that knows how to work and communicate well is essential for giving patients the very best care. We’re developing protocols to standardize that care.

Why is this team approach important for people with heart conditions?

Dr. Gulkarov: Heart surgery is not a one-person show, and it’s not all about the heart surgeon. A comprehensive heart center like ours focuses on every member of the team, including nurses and other medical specialists. We have a vision of how to maximize each person’s skills, and we work well together from the moment a patient first comes in, and after they leave the hospital.

Dr. Krause: Heart care is very technical, and some of our patients are very, very sick. They might have a faulty heart valve, for example, plus issues like heart failure, where the heart muscle does not pump efficiently, or kidney disease, or diabetes. We can’t fix one issue without understanding the other.

Therefore, some on our team help improve a patient’s health so that they are able to have a specific procedure, and others are experts in caring for them after a procedure. Every single person caring for them is important. We make sure we all know our roles. We even do weekly drills to keep us sharp.

What are some other benefits of this team approach?

Dr. Gulkarov: Sometimes, the best treatment for a specific patient isn’t very obvious. But when you work side by side with many different experts, using a system that everyone is familiar with, communication is greatly improved. We learn about the expertise of others on the team, and they learn ours. We not only share a patient’s test results—we share our own knowledge with each other. That allows us to determine the best plan to care for a specific patient.

Dr. Krause: We are part of an outstanding network of specialists across RWJBarnabas Health hospitals, and we work together to bring seamless heart care to our communities, close to home. This collaborative and multidisciplinary approach brings out the best in each specialist and results in better care for our patients.

When you come to Jersey City Medical Center for heart care or any RWJBarnabas Health facility, you can expect exceptional cardiac expertise provided by a unified team committed to building healthier communities and offering seamless care across the RWJBH continuum.

Your heart doesn’t beat just for you. Get it checked. Schedule an appointment with a cardiac specialist at Jersey City Medical Center or call (888) 724-7123