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Cardiac, Vascular & Thoracic Surgery:
Top Surgeons to Operate Exclusively at Virginia Hospital Center

John R. Garrett, MD, FACS started the Cardiac, Vascular & Thoracic Surgery Program at Virginia Hospital Center over 20 years ago, and since 1995, John W. Rhee, MD, FACS has worked with Dr. Garrett to maintain this state-of-the-art program. Although it is common for surgeons to operate at multiple medical facilities, having surgeons dedicated to one program at one hospital creates consistency, reliability, and a highly skilled program leading to better patient outcomes. In a shared vision to provide each patient with high quality, compassionate care, Dr. Garrett and Dr. Rhee have officially reunited as partners in a new practice to work exclusively with the Cardiac, Vascular & Thoracic Surgery Program at Virginia Hospital Center.


Drs. Garrett and Rhee provide comprehensive and full-service cardiac, vascular and thoracic surgery, performing hundreds of surgeries per year. Their combined quality data exceeds national benchmarks for mortality, infection and other complications. Those benchmarks are key indicators of top-notch care delivered by a dedicated team of surgeons and clinicians all in one location. Since the mid-1990s, the field of cardiovascular surgery has seen tremendous innovation. Both surgeons and the clinical support team continue to embrace the latest techniques and medical technologies in their field by constantly taking on new projects with the best patient outcomes top of mind. Patient satisfaction surveys confirm that. The program’s patient satisfaction rates are consistently in the 99th percentile. “Dr. Rhee is a gifted surgeon,” says Dr. Garrett. “His constancy here will allow us to expand our program to better serve the growing needs of our community.”


Similar to aviation, heart surgery requires an entire team to operate under tight protocols and procedures for safety. With an average tenure of more than 10 years, the program’s team of physicians, profusionists, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, OR nurses, unit nurses and other support staff follow these protocols and procedures the same way. Like a pilot and co-pilot, the surgeons and clinical care team consistently perform together to achieve the best outcomes. This constant and controlled repetition translates to pre-operative efficiency, safety in the OR, and tightly controlled post-operative care as a standardization of practice. “When you have the surgeon just in one location, the team can be more focused,” Dr. Rhee says. “When surgeons are dedicated at one place, the team becomes better oiled. I can’t emphasize enough about the benefits of safety and outcomes when we’re in surgery with the same team every time.”


The program’s operating rooms, Intensive Care and Stepdown Units are dedicated to cardiac, vascular and thoracic surgery, and are equipped with cutting-edge technology to handle the most complex cases. Everyone on the team works with the surgeons and everyone on the team works with one another. “I know the skill set of the members of my team and they know the skill set of each other,” said Dr. Garrett.” “If everybody knows who has special talents that support and meet the needs of our patients, then you foster a culture of compassion, confidence and trust amongst our highly skilled and trained team.”


The program has been developed to keep patients well educated and families well informed throughout the entire patient experience. Communication before, during and after surgery is key. “We give a patient’s family hourly updates during surgery so no one is wondering whether or not everything is ok,” Dr. Garrett explains. The offices of Drs. Garrett and Rhee are located right on the Unit and are literally steps away from the patient. This ease of access is better for the surgeons, as well as patients and their families. The Cardiac, Vascular & Thoracic Surgery Program has continually put patient care first, which translates to the best medical technology, the best surgeons and the best care team. From beginning to middle to end, the patient can feel confident that they are getting top quality care.

To learn more about scheduling an appointment with the Cardiac, Vascular & Thoracic Program at Virginia Hospital Center, please call 703.558.6491.

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