Brody Wehman, MD, a cardiac surgeon, joined our ministry right out of residency four years ago and has been making a big impact ever since.
With advanced training in structural heart procedures and robotic heart surgery, he has performed many firsts at Bon Secours Memorial Regional Medical Center. And recently, Dr. Wehman had another first, but this time, in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
In March of 2022, Dr. Wehman became the first provider in the state to perform a procedure utilizing the EnCompass clamp. We spoke to him about his journey to become a cardiac surgeon and why it’s important to keep innovation at the forefront of health care for our patients.
Q: What inspired you to pursue a career in medicine and become a cardiac surgeon?
A: In high school I had a serious skiing accident where I spent several weeks in the hospital. I was in awe of the surgeons, intensive care unit doctors and nurses that basically put me back together. From that point on, I knew I wanted to be able to do that for other people. As for why cardiac surgery, I found it to be the most challenging, but also the most rewarding specialty in medicine.
Q: How has the improvement of technology changed cardiac surgery since you first began practicing medicine?
A: The most dramatic innovation since I began residency has been the launch of catheter-based valve replacements as a safe and viable option for patients. At the start of my residency, these procedures were only just beginning to be performed. Throughout my residency, the procedure and the technology continued to evolve and become more refined to the point where these catheter-based options are now commonplace and available for low-risk patients.
In fact, since I started at Bon Secours, we have opened a new site for the Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) procedure at Memorial Regional Medical Center. I’ve seen TAVR come full circle, from a new procedure to a routine procedure performed at my own community hospital, in a span of 10 years.
Q: Tell us about this new tool, the EnCompass clamp. What is it?
A: The EnCompass clamp allows us, as surgeons, to perform a more complete ablation procedure for atrial fibrillation at the time of other open heart surgery procedures.
Q: What is it about this new procedure that may be a better fit for certain patients?
A: Many patients undergoing heart surgery also have atrial fibrillation. The EnCompass clamp allows for the most advanced, state-of-the-art method to treat atrial fibrillation in the operating room at the same time as other planned heart surgery. Previously, the ablation we would perform was much more limited. The EnCompass clamp allows us to increase the amount of atrium that receives an ablation, thereby improving its efficacy and with no further risk to the patient.
Q: How does our focus on innovation set us apart from our competitors?
A: We are proud that Memorial Regional Medical Center is the first hospital in the state of Virginia to use this clamp. Being able to provide the latest technology that is also, and importantly, safe is in line with a culture of excellence and commitment to innovation. I believe patients, family members and referring physicians can sense this and appreciate our dedication to providing the best care possible.
Learn more about heart and vascular care services offered by Bon Secours in your area.