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MCSA surgeon sets ‘Record’ in heart surgeries

Posted on February 14, 2017

Published by El Dorado News Times

Kaitlyn Rigdon

Staff Writer

EL DORADO — Dr. Nicky L. Pipkin, M.D., FACS, FPPC, is a cardiothoracic surgeon and a member of the cardiac team at the Medical Center of South Arkansas Heart and Vascular Institute in El Dorado.

Pipkin discussed heart and lung surgery at the Rotary Club meeting on Monday.

Pipkin is board certified in general and thoracic surgery. He has performed 433 open heart procedures to date. “I personally hold the world record of open heart surgeries in El Dorado,” Pipkin said.

Pipkin is a fellow of the American College of Surgeons, a fellow of the American College of Chest Physicians and a member of the Society of Thoracic Surgeons. He is also a member of the Society of Cardiovascular Computed Tomography. Pipkin received his medical degree from Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University in 1983.

He held his residency at Charlotte Memorial Hospital in Charlotte, N.C., and The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.

Pipkin has been in practice for over 23 years and is currently licensed to practice medicine in Arkansas, North Carolina and Alabama.

He has won numerous awards in his medical career as a cardiothoracic surgeon and authored articles for various medical journal publications.

In 2004, the desire for a local complete cardiac care program solidified in El Dorado with the Share Foundation, Triad Hospital Corporation and Murphy oil as interested parties, Pipkin said.

The first heart case in El Dorado was in March 2006 with a 64-year-old male who had dissection of an ascending aortic aneurysm. The surgery required total cooling of the body and a complete halt of all blood flow. “This is the most dreaded operation a heart surgeon does,” Pipkin said. “I’m honored to follow in those footsteps.”

Pipkin has been working in El Dorado for eight years with his first case being in July of 2009. His surgical staff includes two cardiac anesthesiologists, two cardiac nurse anesthetists, two perfusionists, three scrub personnel, two circulating nurses and a certified first assistant.

The anesthesiologists help put the patients to sleep and manage the medicine that is used, he said. The circulating nurses help hand the surgeons their equipment and the certified first assistant helps harvest veins for bypasses.

Pipkin described the operating room at the medical center and showed photos to the Rotary Club members. Most of the equipment is hanging from the ceiling, including lights and monitors, so the floor doesn’t get cluttered.

“Our infection rate is exceedingly low. I’ve been here going on eight years and we have so few infections, I could tell you their names,” Pipkin said. “We have so few returning to surgery for bleeding that I have nurses in ICU that have never seen it, which is good.”

Pipkin displayed photo examples of normal and abnormal chest X-rays and CAT scans. “If you’re a smoker, stop,” he said. “If you’re a smoker and haven’t had a chest X-ray in over a year, please come see us today. It’s out there and people don’t even know they have it.”

The most exciting new technology they are using is Endobronchial Ultrasounds (EBUS), he said. EBUS is used in the diagnosis of lung cancer, lung infections and other diseases that cause enlarged lymph nodes. It is a minimally invasive procedure that he can complete without making any incisions.

The Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery Department at the Medical Center of South Arkansas offers a wide range of surgical services in support of their cardiology colleagues and independent procedures.

“We stand ready and willing to offer highly capable, personal care to the citizens of El Dorado and surrounding areas,” Pipkin said.

The Rotary Club approved donations on Monday of $250 to the Power of the Purse, the Dolly Parton Imagination Library Foundation and $500 to the Boys and Girls Club for their baseball program. The Rotary Club will not meet on Feb. 20 due to President’s Day.