Vidant Heart & Vascular Care is helping to lead the way in Vidant Health’s effort to provide care closer to home.


In the past, patients with heart and vascular needs may have been sent from Vidant Beaufort Hospital to Vidant Medical Center to receive care. However, with a focus on patient experience and easing the burden of travel, Vidant is bringing care right to the communities we serve.

Dr. Michael Smith, a cardiologist with Vidant, said the increased investment in heart and vascular care in the area will make the care received at Vidant Beaufort Hospital the same quality of care received at Vidant Medical Center.

“The program is trying to expand cardiovascular services at Beaufort to seven days a week, make some changes in infrastructure, add staffing, add equipment and allow those patients to keep their care closer to home,” Dr. Smith said, “which helps the patients. We’re bringing our cardiologists right to them.”

While keeping care close to home is the goal, Vidant also has the resources available to quickly and safely transport patients to Vidant Medical Center in Greenville as needed.

Dr. Smith stressed the importance — and strength — of Vidant EastCare, which transports patients to Vidant hospitals. He used the example of a ST-Elevation Myocardial Infarction (STEMI), a very serious type of heart attack. In this situation more than others, minutes matter.

“Patients that have this type of heart attack, time is of the essence,” Dr. Smith said. “For a patient that might be 100 miles away, 50 miles away, the process occurs very quickly because that patient has a blocked artery. In those situations, it has to be opened up quickly, they have to get here quickly and to have a doctor on sight to get the artery fixed, it’s a pretty impressive process.”

Dr. Smith recognized that without Vidant, patients may have to be taken to the Triangle, which poses a challenge when time is short.