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Cardiac Care at Centegra

On Oct. 4, the milestone 1,000th cardiac surgery was performed at Centegra Hospital–McHenry. The cardiac surgery team, led by Thomas J. Hinkamp, MD, an independent board-certified cardiothoracic surgeon on the medical staff at Centegra, performed the surgery on a 72-year-old man from McHenry. “I congratulate Centegra Health System on this major milestone for cardiac care in our community,” Hinkamp said. “The health system has established a heart program that is widely recognized for its excellent patient outcomes and the 1,000th surgery reflects the impact this program has had on people in McHenry County. One thousand patients have received advanced cardiac surgeries close to their homes.”

“We deliver care that is as good as any large metropolitan health system,” says Jamie Hursey, RN, CNOR, manager for cardiac diagnostic, invasive cardiac and robotic services at Centegra Health System. “You do not need to leave McHenry County to receive the highest level of care.” From diagnostic services to emergency treatment and from surgical to non-surgical interventions, Centegra Health System offers advanced care. Our experienced staff provides exceptional care to ensure people do not have to travel outside our community for cardiac treatments.

For some heart patients, the leading-edge treatment begins before they even reach the hospital’s front door. “Many of our emergency medical services personnel have the ability to perform 12-lead EKGs, or electrocardiograms, out in the field,” Hursey says. Using electrodes attached to the skin, this non-invasive diagnostic procedure records 12 different electrical signals produced by the heart. “That allows us to assess the patient before he or she arrives at the hospital.” That early intervention can lead to quicker diagnoses and treatment at the hospital. That is crucial for cardiac patients.

Expert care continues in the emergency departments at Centegra Hospital–McHenry and Centegra Hospital–Woodstock. Both are Chest Pain Centers, accredited by the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care (SCPC). “We’re fully credentialed to care for any needs of cardiac patients experiencing chest pain,” Hursey says. Centegra’s hospitals were the first in the region to earn this distinction and are two of only 11 hospitals in Illinois with SCPC accreditation.


Centegra Health System also offers many diagnostic procedures to detect heart irregularities, including:
Stress testing: Blood pressure and the heart’s electrical activity are measured when the heart is working hard, either while the patient is exercising on a treadmill or after he or she has been given special medication.
Echocardiogram: An ultrasound of the heart that shows the organ’s structures as the heart beats.
Outpatient heart monitoring: A variety of portable devices are used to monitor a patient’s heart rate and rhythm to determine what may be triggering irregularities that can cause palpitations or dizziness.
When test results indicate a need for surgery, Centegra is ready. On average, two to three open heart procedures are performed at Centegra each week, Hursey says. Operations may include coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG, pronounced cabbage), valve repair, valve replacement surgery or other specialized procedures to regulate heart rhythm or clear blocked arteries.


Centegra’s focus on high-quality care has earned a long list of certifications from a number of national organizations. They include:

The Platinum Performance Achievement Award from the National Cardiovascular Data Registry. Centegra Hospital– McHenry is one of about 200 hospitals nationwide to receive this award. It is based on best-practice guidelines set by the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association.
Blue Distinction Center+ designation from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois. Centegra is one of the fi rst hospitals in the nation to receive the award, given for comprehensive cardiac care. “We must demonstrate success in meeting objective measures of patient outcomes set by Blue Cross, including quality, safety and cost effi ciency,” Hursey says. Centegra Hospital–McHenry is the only hospital in a more-than-20-mile radius to receive this award.
Mission: Lifeline Bronze Award from the American Heart Association, which evaluates Centegra’s standard of care for heart attack patients. The bronze is awarded to top-performing hospitals after the first 90 days of participation. After one year of participation, qualifying hospitals are awarded silver and after two years, gold. Additionally, members of the medical staff have gone on to earn advanced specialty certifications. In the catheterization lab, for instance, many have obtained Registered Cardiovascular Invasive Specialist (RCIS) qualification. In the surgical suites, many have earned Certified Nurse, Operating Room (CNOR) designation.

Of course, despite the availability of all the lifesaving expertise at Centegra Health System, it’s wise to do your best to avoid heart problems in the first place. “As a nurse, I would encourage people to not smoke, to watch their diet, to exercise and to do what they can to prevent heart disease,” Hursey says. “But if they need us, we’re here for them.”

For more on prevention and available heart screenings, visit