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St. Francis Medical Center Appoints Chief of Cardiovascular Surgery

PostonSt. Francis Medical Center has appointed nationally renowned cardiac surgeon Robert Poston, M.D., as its Chief of Cardiovascular Surgery. Dr. Poston is one of only a handful of cardiac surgeons in the nation specialized in robot-assisted minimally invasive coronary bypass surgery.

Dr. Poston comes to St. Francis from the University of Arizona Health Sciences Center, where he was chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery and a Professor at its College of Medicine. Prior to that, Dr. Poston held Professor positions at the University of Chicago School of Medicine, the University of Maryland, and Boston University, serving as its chief of Cardiac Surgery.

“St. Francis is an innovative healthcare leader in New Jersey and we are proud to have Dr. Poston lead our cardiac surgery team,” said Vincent M. Costantino, Chief Administrative Officer at St. Francis Medical Center. “Dr. Poston’s highly specialized expertise in robot-assisted minimally invasive cardiac surgery is a tremendous benefit to our patients. His breadth of experience enhances our array of cardiothoracic surgery, supporting the outstanding care that defines St. Francis Medical Center.”

Dr. Poston’s expertise in the use of robotics for minimally invasive cardiac surgery means that, for many cardiac patients, they do not need to undergo the conventional splitting of the sternum in order to gain access to the heart and perform operations. The advantages of sternal-sparing cardiac surgery include quicker resolution in pain; less blood loss; shorter hospital stay; fewer complications; and a faster return to normal activities. Dr. Poston will use the da Vinci Surgical Robot to perform a variety of sternal-sparing procedures at St. Francis.

Additionally, thanks to a recently expanded partnership between St. Francis Medical Center and Camden-based Lourdes Health System, Dr. Poston is part of a combined cardiothoracic surgery team which is responsible for all cardiac surgical services provided at both Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center and St. Francis Medical Center.

The team, under the guidance of Arthur Martella, MD, FACS, chief of cardiothoracic surgery at Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center, includes Dr. Poston at St. Francis and nationally renowned physician Atiq Rehman, MD, FACS, at Lourdes. Like Dr. Poston, Dr. Rehman, the director of Minimally Invasive Cardiac Surgery at Lourdes, is well-known for his highly specialized expertise in the use of robotics for minimally invasive sternal-sparing surgery. Together, these surgeons create one of the most experienced minimally invasive CT surgery teams in the U.S.

“Thanks to the unmatched expertise of our cardiac surgery team, we are uniquely positioned to offer patients a regional center of cardiac excellence, offering the highest quality cardiovascular care,” said Reginald Blaber, MD, Executive Director of the Lourdes Cardiovascular Institute and Vice President of Cardiac Services. “Combined, we are the largest  cardiac surgery program in the entire southern half of New Jersey  and  the  most extensive minimally invasive cardiac surgery program in  the region, enabling us to care and manage the most complex cases.”

St. Francis is the only hospital in Mercer County that provides cardiac surgery, and offers a state-of-the-art hybrid surgical suite that allows for interventional and surgical procedures to be performed in the same operating room, truly making it a destination hospital for cardiac care.

St. Francis Medical Center has an outstanding record in patient safety, receiving an “A” in the 2014 Fall Leapfrog Hospital Survey. It was recognized as a Top Performer for the key quality measures of Heart Attack, Heart Failure, Pneumonia and Surgical Care by The Joint Commission. St. Francis was  named a Top Hospital in New Jersey by Castle Connolly and a  2015 Top Hospital for  Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery by Inside Jersey magazine.

Board-certified in surgery and cardiothoracic surgery, Dr. Poston earned his medical degree at Johns Hopkins University Medical School and graduated near the top of his class. He performed his general surgery residency at the University of California and cardiothoracic residencies at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and Stanford University School of Medicine.

Dr. Poston is a member of multiple medical societies, including the American Heart Association and the Society of Thoracic Surgeons. The award-winning surgeon has authored more than 100 scientific papers and abstracts and is invited routinely to present his research at national medical conferences.

About St. Francis Medical Center

St. Francis Medical Center, a member of Trinity Health System, is an acute care teaching hospital recognized as a Top Performer on Key Quality Measures from The Joint Commission. Most noted for its cardiac surgery program and the first accredited stroke center in Mercer County, St. Francis features regional services including its Heart Hospital, Sleep Disorder Center and an extensive community outreach program.

St. Francis’ partners in care include LIFE St. Francis (Living Independently For Elders) and LifeCare Physicians, PC, which includes Primary Care and Surgery throughout the region, as well as Lourdes Health System (also a part of Trinity Health).


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