Daily Reports




Surgical Suites for Open Heart Under Construction at Tanner Medical Center/Carrollton

Construction is underway on two new operating suites that are key to Tanner Health System’s open-heart surgery program at Tanner Medical Center/Carrollton.

The expansion, located on the ground level of Tanner Medical Center/Carrollton, required earth removal and the pouring of a new concrete floor before adding studs for the new operating suite walls.

The 5,620 square feet of new space now under construction will house two state-of-the-art surgical suites where open-heart surgeries — such as coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery — will be performed beginning in January 2023. Construction will be completed this December.

“More than 200,000 CABG procedures are performed nationally each year,” said Shazib Khawaja, MD, chief of interventional cardiology at Tanner Health System and medical operations leader for Tanner’s heart and vascular services. “Instead of sending some patients out of the region for open-heart surgery, starting in January Tanner will provide comprehensive care — including cardiothoracic surgery — at Tanner Heart and Vascular Center in Carrollton. This new service will reduce the time from diagnosis or heart event to surgery — time that is critical for positive patient outcomes.”

The open-heart surgery program is the latest step in Tanner’s growing cardiac program. The health system began offering interventional cardiology, including angioplasty and stenting, at its Carrollton hospital in 2006. In 2008, it opened the four-story Tanner Heart and Vascular Center on the campus of Tanner Medical Center/Carrollton. Interventional heart services were expanded to Tanner Medical Center/Villa Rica in 2015.

Most recently, both hospitals earned accreditations as chest pain centers, with streamlined practices to ensure the fastest possible clinical response from heart attack to treatment.

“Heart disease is the leading cause of death in our region,” said Christopher Arant, MD, an interventional cardiologist with Tanner Heart & Vascular Specialists. “Reducing deaths from heart disease has been a mission for Tanner. It starts with prevention, like the healthy lifestyle classes at Get Healthy, Live Well, and continues to robust treatment programs and aftercare. That’s how we’re making an impact.”

For Loy Howard, Tanner’s president and CEO, the progress toward launching an open-heart surgery program in Carrollton is especially gratifying.

“Building a comprehensive heart care program has long been one of Tanner’s goals,” said Howard. “The availability of open-heart surgery in Carrollton will save the lives of our neighbors in west Georgia and east Alabama and provide them with the same chance of surviving heart disease and thriving as people in Atlanta and Birmingham.”

By providing open-heart surgery in Carrollton, families won’t face the hardship of traveling long distances to hospitals in more densely populated areas to visit their loved ones during a seven- to 10-day hospital stay after surgery for recovery. With a full range of services — from cardiovascular disease diagnosis and treatment to interventional cardiac procedures and open-heart surgery — Tanner Heart Care will help more people survive heart disease close to home.

Tanner offers heart care services in Carrollton, Villa Rica and Bremen, Georgia, and in Wedowee, Alabama. For more information on cardiac care at Tanner, visit


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