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Southcoast Hospitals Group has earned The Joint Commission's Gold Seal of Approval.

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Cardiac Surgery

NEW Impella 5.0

Meet the Southcoast Cardiac Surgery team


Southcoast's comprehensive cardiac surgery program has saved lives — and changed lives — for thousands of area residents.

Our expansive heart surgery program includes conventional coronary bypass, cardiac valve repair and replacement, septal defect repair, and aortic aneurysms surgeries.

The program also provides new minimally invasive approaches for coronary bypass grafts, aortic, mitral and tricuspid valve and off-pump coronary bypass surgeries. Southcoast performed the first open heart surgery in Southeastern Massachusetts in April 2002, bringing the lifesaving procedure to a region with the state's highest incidence of heart disease.

In 2002, Southcoast was the first of three community hospitals approved by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health to offer open heart surgery and elective coronary angioplasty at its Charlton Memorial Hospital site in Fall River.

Since then, the cardiac surgery program has brought unprecedented access to advanced cardiac services to the region and has received exemplary reviews and outstanding patient satisfaction since its inception. In 2013, for two years in a row, Healthgrades awarded Southcoast its Specialty Excellence Awards™ for Cardiac Surgery and named Southcoast as one of Healthgrades America's 100 Best Hospitals for Cardiac SurgeryTM.

We perform more than 300 open heart surgeries each year and since the program's inception in 2002, more than 3,000 patients have benefited from this life-saving surgery.

Southcoast has incorporated the best training techniques with the best technology and information systems from around the nation to build a first-class program with unsurpassed surgical quality and patient satisfaction.

Our Cardiac Surgery Team includes:

  • World-class heart surgeons who have years of experience performing open heart surgery in some of the major teaching hospital in the United States. These surgeons practice full-time in the South Coast region, with patient access in Fall River, New Bedford and Wareham, as well as across Rhode Island.

  • Nurses, perfusionists, physician assistants and other support staff who also have extensive experience and training in cardiac surgery.

  • Highly trained critical care nurses who staff our Cardiac Critical Care Unit at Charlton. This state-of-the-art unit incorporates all of the latest technology and design in post-surgical treatment of open heart surgery patients.

  • A cardiac case manager, who acts as a "personal guide" for each patient and their family, throughout surgery, recovery and afterward.

The entire team works closely with staff cardiologists at Southcoast who are able to care for and follow their patients throughout their surgery and recovery.

About Impella 5.0

The Impella 5.0 catheter is an intravascular microaxial blood pump that delivers up to 5.0 L/min of forward flow blood from the left ventricle to the aorta. This pump is the world's smallest 5.0 L/min blood pump and requires minimal bedside support.

The Impella 5.0 is the first Impella to replace 100% of the hearts function, reducing stress on the heart and allowing other vital organs that can be severely affected by decreased heart function to heal and get stronger in preparation for surgery.

The Impella 5.0 was introduced to the market one year ago. At the time of this patient's treatment, Southcoast was the first in the region to utilize this new technology.

Meet Your Southcoast Heart Surgery Team

James Fingleton, MD
Chief of Cardiovascular Surgery

James Fingleton, MD
Dr. Fingleton is chief of cardiovascular surgery at Southcoast Health System. Before joining Southcoast, he was a cardiothoracic surgeon at Rhode Island Hospital and The Miriam Hospitals, where he practiced for 20 years.

Dr. Fingleton is a graduate of the Temple University School of Medicine in Philadelphia, where he also completed an internship and residency in general surgery. He completed an additional residency in cardiothoracic surgery at Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit, Mich.

He is a clinical assistant professor of surgery at The Warren Alpert School of Medicine at Brown University in Providence, R.I.

Dr. Fingleton is board certified in surgery and thoracic surgery. His clinical interests include multiple arterial grafting, aortic aneurysm surgery and minimally invasive valve repair and replacement.

Iraklis S. Gerogiannis, MD, FACS
Cardiothoracic Surgeon

Iraklis Gerogiannis, MD
Dr. Gerogiannis received his medical degree from the National University of Athens in Greece. He completed his residency in general surgery at the Graduate Hospital, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in Philadelphia and his residency in cardiothoracic surgery at Yale-New Haven Hospital, Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Conn.

He was an Assistant Professor of Surgery at Tufts University, School of Medicine in Boston and an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Surgery at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester, Mass.

Dr. Gerogiannis is board certified in surgery and thoracic surgery. He is a fellow of the American College of Surgeons. Dr. Gerogiannis specializes in robotic cardiothoracic surgery.

Click here for more information about the Southcoast Cardiothoracic Surgery practice, part of Southcoast Physicians Group

Larry F. Thiesen, MD
Chief of Cardiothoracic Anesthesia

Education/Training: MD from St. Georges University in Grenada, West Indies, and BS from California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, Calif.; Residency in anesthesia at Albany Medical Center Hospital in Albany, N.Y., and fellowship in cardiothoracic anesthesia at Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland.

Professional Background: Prior to joining Southcoast, Dr. Thiesen was chief cardiothoracic anesthesiologist at The Miriam Hospital in Providence, R.I. He is certified in perioperative transesophageal echocardiography by the Society of Cardiovascular Anesthesiologists as well as the newly formed National Board of Echocardiography. He is trained in the care of the patient undergoing cardiac surgery utilizing the Heartport technique.

Donald R. Cappadona, MD
Cardiothoracic Anesthesiologist

Education/Training: MD from Tufts University School of Medicine and BS from Southeastern Massachusetts University (now University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth) in North Dartmouth, Mass.

Professional Background: Prior to joining Southcoast, Dr. Cappadona was director of cardiac anesthesia at Lahey Clinic Medical Center in Burlington, Mass. He previously served as chief of anesthesia services for the 831st Medical Group at George Air Force Base in California and was a consultant anesthesiologist to the Tactical Air Command Surgeon General of the U.S. Air Force. He was assistant clinical professor of anesthesiology at Tufts University School of Medicine from 1996 to 2002. He is board certified in anesthesiology.

Debra Santilli, BSN, MBA, RN, NE-BC
Director of Cardiac Surgical Services

Responsibilities: Responsible for the admimistrative oversight for the cardiac surgical intensive care unit, cardiovascular step down unit and cardiothoracic surgery operating room.

Education/Training: Diploma in nursing, New England Deaconess Hospital; BSN, University of Phoenix; MBA, University of Phoenix .

Professional Background: Rhode Island Hospital in Providence, R.I., where she served as Associate Director of Nursing overseeing a 719-bed, Level I trauma center. While at Rhode Island Hospital she also served as the Assistant Clinical Manager of the cardiothoracic units. In addition to New England Deaconess Hospital, Santilli gained her experience from renowned medical institutions across the country including Yale-New Haven Hospital in New Haven, Conn., and California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco.

Judith M. Baulier, RN
Team Leader, CVOR

Responsibilities: Provide coordination of care for the CVOR, clinical problem solving and quality monitoring. Provide direct patient care and perform other clinical functions of the RN role.

Education/Training: Associates Degree, Bristol Community College; BSN, University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth.

Professional Background: Baulier served as a staff nurse at Roger Williams Medical Center in Providence, R.I. She later worked at The Miriam Hospital in Providence, R.I., as a staff nurse on the OR cardiac team. Baulier worked at Brigham & Women's Hospital in Boston as staff nurse on the OR cardiac team before accepting her current position at Southcoast.

Kolleen DeAndrade, PA
Chief Physician Assistant

Responsibilities: Administrative oversight for the PA group. First assistant to surgeon in operating room, which includes endoscopic vein and artery harvesting. Providing cardiac surgery patient care in all areas.

Education/Training: BS, Physician Assistant Certificate: King's College, Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

Professional Background: DeAndrade has served as a physician assistant in the Cardiothoracic Surgery Department at Boston Medical Center.

Eric Gustafson, BS, CCP
Chief Perfusionist

Responsibilities: Administrative oversight for the Perfusion Department. Full clinical responsibilities associated with cardiopulmonary bypass.

Education/Training: Bachelors Degree: University of Connecticut, Storrs Campus, Perfusion Certificate: Quinnipiac University

Professional Background: Served as a staff perfusionist for ten years at The Miriam Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island. He was the Chief of Perfusion Services for The Miriam Hospital and Rhode Island Hospital for twenty years. He also has special procedure perfusion privileges at Roger Williams Medical Center and Landmark Medical Center. He is board certified by The American Board of Cardiothoracic Perfusion.

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Southcoast Heart Center

Charlton Memorial Hospital
363 Highland Avenue
Fall River, MA 02720

St. Luke's Hospital
101 Page Street
New Bedford, MA 02740

Atrial Fibrillation Wellness Program
Cardiac Catheterization
Cardiac Rehabilitation
Electrophysiology & Heart Rhythm Services
Open Heart Surgery
Structural Heart/Valve Clinic
Vascular Surgery and Endovascular Services

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