HOUMA— Louisiana is known to have one of the highest death rates caused by heart disease in the United States. However, statistics from the Center for Disease Control have shown that over the past 35 years, Louisiana’s heart disease death rates have dropped significantly in the areas served by CIS.
On August 15, 2018, Cardiovascular Institute of the South (CIS) will celebrate its 35th anniversary of providing complete cardiovascular care to communities in south Louisiana. Beginning as a one-man practice under the leadership of Dr. Craig Walker in Houma, La., CIS has grown to become a world-renowned practice with nearly 60 physicians and 750 team members with 22 locations, eight of which offer telemedicine services, across three states, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Since its start in 1983, CIS has made a dramatic impact on the number of hearts, limbs and lives saved in our communities.
“Our greatest accomplishment has been that we have dramatically improved cardiovascular outcomes in each of the areas where we have established practices, and this is confirmed by national statistics,” said Dr. Craig Walker, interventional cardiologist and Founder, President and Medical Director at CIS. “We have now treated patients from every inhabited continent and from every U.S. state which is far beyond our early dreams.”
Dr. Walker began CIS with the intent to provide state-of-the-art cardiac and peripheral vascular care to south central Louisiana. Throughout the years, CIS has pioneered many “firsts” including participating in the first peripheral stent trial in 1988 and the first coronary stent trial in 1989. These are just examples of the many “firsts” that CIS continues to pioneer, which have earned CIS international acclaim as a leader of research and development in cardiovascular care.
In putting patients first, CIS has contributed significantly to the advancement and development of non-surgical treatments for cardiovascular disease. These interventional procedures are minimally-invasive, involving a much lower risk for our patients and less recovery time than surgery. “From the beginning, we sought out new techniques and helped to develop techniques to better care for our patients,” said Dr. Walker.
Dedicating his life to peripheral arterial disease (PAD) prevention and limb salvage, Dr. Craig Walker also founded New Cardiovascular Horizons, a multispecialty conference focusing on limb salvage and amputation prevention techniques for patients suffering from PAD and critical limb ischemia (CLI). The conference attracts world authorities and international attendees with one common goal—to improve care for patients through the use of cutting-edge technology and techniques.
“PAD affects 20 million Americans—which is far more than breast cancer—and it is associated with a higher mortality rate,” explained Dr. Walker. “We must raise awareness for prevention and treatment to profoundly lessen the need for amputations, and we need to improve the level of care we provide for our patients—both locally and internationally.” In line with this mission, Dr. Walker has visited China annually for the past nine years to offer physician training on interventional treatments for PAD and limb salvage.
Leading the region in technological advancements, CIS has also recently established a Virtual Care Center, which enhances care options for our patients by providing unique programs such as the CIS OnDemand call center, Telecardiology, Cardio@Home remote patient monitoring and CardioConnect, a mobile app and patient portal. These programs feature state-of-the-art technology, increasing access to care, improving outcomes and enhancing communication between the patient and the provider.
CIS continues to grow and expand to multiple locations to make the most advanced cardiovascular care accessible to more communities. “I take great pride in the fact that CIS has grown into one of the largest and most comprehensive cardiovascular programs anywhere in the world,” said Dr. Walker.