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Northwestern Medicine Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute Expands at Northwestern Medicine Palos Hospital

With the goal of providing specialized patient care closer to where people live and work, Northwestern Medicine Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute is announcing a new leadership team to guide expansion of clinical programs and cardiovascular services at Northwestern Medicine Palos Hospital and into the southwest suburbs.

R. Kannan Mutharasan, MD, cardiology, has been named medical director of Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute at Northwestern Medicine Palos Hospital. Dr. Mutharasan will oversee the operation of clinical services and execute a strategic plan for ongoing growth in the region. Before assuming this role, Dr. Mutharasan led the development of the Heart Failure Bridge and Transition Team at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, which served as a model to improve care transitions and reduce heart failure readmissions. These efforts resulted in recognition by Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services for Northwestern Memorial Hospital as top 10 in the nation for heart failure survival.

Surendra B. Avula, MD, interventional cardiology, is the new medical director of the Cardiac Catheterization Lab at Northwestern Medicine Palos Hospital. Dr. Avula’s immediate focus will be expanding the interventional and structural heart disease programs. Dr. Avula has been in practice in the south suburbs of Chicago for more than 25 years and had served as director of the catheterization lab at Advocate Christ Medical Center since 2006.

Albert C. Lin, MD, is the new director of electrophysiology (EP) network development. Dr. Lin will collaborate with regional EP lab directors and regional medical and administrative directors to achieve uniformity in EP services and quality, and ease further adoption of new technologies to drive growth and research expansion. Dr. Lin has played an integral role in expanding EP services across Northwestern Medicine, particularly with breakthrough ablation technology and left atrial appendage closure.

Vera H. Rigolin, MD, director of echocardiography quality at Northwestern Medicine, will lead the alignment and standardization of echocardiography across the health system to ensure high quality imaging studies and expert interpretations for patients and referring physicians. Dr. Rigolin is a past-president of the American Society of Echocardiography and has served as medical director of the echocardiography laboratory at Northwestern Memorial Hospital for more than 15 years. Her research interests include the use of imaging to assess diagnosis, treatment and outcomes of patients with valvular heart disease.

Anny Sandoval, MSN, RN, MBA, has also joined Northwestern Medicine Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute at Northwestern Medicine Palos Hospital as administrative director of Operations of Cardiovascular Services. A leader at Northwestern Medicine since 2008, Sandoval has extensive experience in managing clinical operations and building teams.

“We want people in the community to know they now have easy access to nationally ranked Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute physicians, who work in partnership with local physician groups sharing the Northwestern Medicine patients first mission,” said Dr. Mutharasan.

Along with the expansion of clinical services, construction is underway to create a new Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute Outpatient Clinic on the first floor of Northwestern Medicine Palos Hospital. The clinic will include 16 exam rooms, a waiting area, expanded diagnostic testing and dedicated workrooms for physicians and staff. Additional plans include a remodel and upgrade of one of the Cardiac Catheterization Labs and an MRI replacement improving access to advanced cardiac imaging.

“We are excited to expand cardiovascular care services in the southwest suburbs,” said Patrick M. McCarthy, MD, executive director of Northwestern Medicine Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute, and a Palos Park native. “The new outpatient clinic, along with assembling an outstanding team, supports our Patients First mission. We already have seen major advancements by achieving 100% guideline compliance with rapid response to patients having a heart attack.”

With 425 licensed beds, Northwestern Medicine Palos Hospital is the second‐largest Northwestern Medicine hospital. Northwestern Medicine is anchored by Northwestern Memorial Hospital, nationally ranked by U.S. News & World Report, 2021 – 2022, in 10 clinical specialties, including Cardiology and Heart Surgery (No. 12), Neurology and Neurosurgery (No. 9), and Cancer (No. 6).