SLU Announces new Center for Comprehensive Cardiovascular Care 

Saint Louis University Hospital Announces “C4” – the new Center for Comprehensive Cardiovascular Care at SLU Hospital

ST. LOUIS, October 31, 2012 – Saint Louis University Hospital announced the creation of the Center for Comprehensive Cardiovascular Care– the “C4” – offering patients an individualized approach to care through collaboration between cardiologists and surgeons.

The new patient-focused center will be housed on the hospital’s main campus and is highlighted by the return of one of St. Louis’ most prominent cardiac surgeons -- Richard Lee, MD -- as well as plans for a remodeled cardiac catheterization lab and a new hybrid operating room, combining cardiac surgery and intervention.

“This center starts with the patient and ends with the patient because we believe they should have choices,” says Michael Lim, MD, cardiology director and co-director of the center. “Every patient at Saint Louis University Hospital will have an option for the best possible treatment unique to their individual case.”

Joining Dr. Lim to launch the new “C4” is cardiac surgeon Richard Lee, MD, who returns to Saint Louis University Hospital as center co-director, professor, and vice-chairman of the department of surgery.

Dr. Lee returns to Saint Louis University after spending the past five years as attending cardiac surgeon at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and the surgical director for the Center of Heart Rhythm Disorders at the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute. Prior to that, Dr. Lee was assistant professor of surgery at Saint Louis University from 2003-2007. He completed his cardiothoracic surgery residency at Washington University and received advanced training in adult cardiac surgery and heart transplantation at the Cleveland Clinic in the surgical treatment of atrial fibrillation and heart failure.

“The reason I came to join Dr. Lim is the opportunity to fuse cardiology and cardiac surgery,” says Dr. Lee. “For these patients, we will be able to offer new procedures to the region as well as improvements of traditional ones.”

For example, in treating the heart rhythm problem atrial fibrillation or AFIB, Dr. Lim, Dr. Lee and Ali Mehdirad, MD, electrophysiology director at Saint Louis University Hospital, will partner in offering the full spectrum of procedures and therapies customized to the patient’s circumstances.

Dr. Lee pioneered the Hybrid Maze Procedure for atrial fibrillation at Northwestern, a minimally invasive option performed in two stages. In the first stage, Dr. Lee creates a “maze” or scar on a beating heart without opening a patient’s chest and in the second stage, Dr. Mehdirad will perform catheter ablation to create more scars inside the heart. This cures a patient’s AFIB by putting it back into rhythm, all without a sternotomy and offering quicker recovery.

“When we talk about the fusion of specialties, the hybrid procedure is a perfect example,” says Dr. Lee. “We will combine minimally-invasive surgery with catheter based techniques to offer patients better outcomes and improved recovery time.”

“From catheterization, open surgery, thoracoscopic surgery, medical therapy, ablation, all while reducing a patient’s stroke risk, we will work together to make these care decisions with the patient,” says Dr. Lim. “That is not common at centers throughout the country.”

For more information about the Center for Comprehensive Cardiovascular Care at Saint Louis University Hospital, visit


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About Saint Louis University Hospital
Saint Louis University Hospital is a 356-licensed bed quaternary/tertiary referral center located in the heart of the city of St. Louis. Approximately 75 percent of patients are drawn from a 150-mile radius. Through affiliation as the teaching hospital for Saint Louis University, the hospital provides patients and their families with an environment of medical innovation. Working in this endeavor are the hospital’s medical staff partners, SLUCare, the physicians of Saint Louis University. The hospital admits more than 17,000 patients annually, performs more than 200 organ transplants a year and is a Level I Trauma Center that treats more than 2,000 major trauma cases a year.


Jason Merrill