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Heart and Vascular Services - McLaren Flint

Location Information

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Heart and Vascular Services - McLaren Flint 401 S Ballenger
Flint, MI 48532

Hours of Operation
24 Hours

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About Us

McLaren Flint has five cardiac catheterization labs that feature advanced technology. Three labs are also specialized for electrophysiology studies. In the O.R. two rooms are dedicated to cardiac surgical procedures. McLaren Flint was also the first area hospital to offer a Hybrid Operating Room. This specialized surgical suite offers clinical advantages for both surgeons and patients. The room is equipped to make it possible for surgeons to go from performing a minimally invasive procedure to an open procedure in minutes. It is equipped for use by vascular surgeons, cardiothoracic surgeons and interventional cardiologists.

Treatments & Procedures

Tests & Screenings

How Can We Help You?


March, 2017

Bill needed to find a cardiologist
Bill Kehoe needed to find a cardiologist

Even people who are doing all they can to live a healthy lifestyle can have heart disease. Just ask Bill Kehoe, age 73, of Grand Blanc. Bill loves to run. He is a 33-year participant in the Crim 10 mile. For the past 15 years he has also volunteered to be a Crim trainer and he usually runs in four marathons each year. What he loves about running (being outside, clearing his mind and pushing his body to its limits) started to subtly change in early 2016.

Bill started experiencing a bit of difficulty running up a hill he had gone up thousands of times before. As the months went by, eventually he would have to walk the hill, then go back to running once he reached the top. He knew something was not right.

“I would get a burning sensation in the center of my chest and some shortness of breath,” states Bill. “I thought it was my lungs.”

Finally, a member of his running group who happens to work in the medical field, had a conversation with him because he was concerned that something was wrong. He offered to help Bill find a cardiologist, and referred him to Wilfredo Rivera, MD, an interventional cardiologist at McLaren Flint. Dr. Rivera evaluated Bill and did some testing in his office that revealed a blockage. He was scheduled for a heart catheterization. This procedure revealed that the blockage was much worse than the initial tests indicated. Bill needed to be seen by a cardiothoracic surgeon, and an appointment was scheduled.

Bill started running again as soon as both Dr. Rivera and Dr. Habib said he could

Bill was evaluated by Omar Habib, MD, a cardiothoracic surgeon at Cardiac and Thoracic Surgery, Michigan Heart Valve Institute at McLaren Flint. Dr. Habib determined Bill was in need of bypass surgery. Coronary bypass surgery improves blood flow to the heart muscle by creating a new pathway to the heart. During coronary bypass surgery, a healthy blood vessel is taken from a patient’s leg, arm or chest and connected to the other arteries in the heart so that blood bypasses the diseased or blocked area. Bill’s surgery was scheduled for September 22, 2016, a month before the annual Crim Festival of Races. Bill participated in the event that means so much to him, however he did have to walk most of the way, and his surgery was still performed on schedule.

“The care and people at McLaren Flint were really good,” states Bill. “One of the nurses on the floor who was in my Crim training group in 2016 came and checked on me a couple of times even though I was not her patient.”

Not one to embrace a treadmill or sit still for long, Bill started running again as soon as both Dr. Rivera and Dr. Habib said he could. He settled for lots of walking before that. A year after his body started telling him something was wrong, the winter of 2017 had him back to early morning runs with his running group and looking forward to his next marathon and 34th year as a devoted Crim participant.


March, 2017

Heart disease does not have to be as dramatic as chest pains or even a heart attack, just ask Mike Farrell, age 74, of Lapeer. For Mike it was much more subtle and slow as it crept up on him. Mike was aware that he had high blood pressure but it was being medically monitored by his doctor. He was also told approximately five years ago that he had a heart murmur caused by a valve in his heart that was slowly shrinking; it too was being monitored. What started to change was his breathing. He simply started getting short of breath when walking. It continued to grow worse over the course of almost eight months before he made an appointment to see his cardiologist, Majed Nounou, MD, FACC, RPVI.

“I can’t say I had a particular episode of any kind,” states Mike. “But I knew my breathing was not getting any better and I needed to see a doctor. When I met with Dr. Nounou he scheduled me for a heart cath and discovered I had some arteries that were very narrowed because of too much plaque. With those findings, and my damaged valve, Dr. Nounou said I needed to see a cardiothoracic surgeon.”

Mike was referred to Omar Habib, MD, cardiothoracic surgeon, who sees patients at McLaren Flint. Dr. Habib determined Mike needed both his aortic valve replaced because of the narrowing, and coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG). He was scheduled for surgery on December 8, 2016.

“The heart is divided into four main chambers,” states Dr. Habib. “The aortic valve separates the pumping chamber of the heart from the rest of the body. With every heartbeat, the valve opens and closes to ensure that blood travels in only one direction. In Mike’s case, the valve was narrowed and not opening enough to allow blood to leave the heart and perfuse the rest of the body. As a result, he started to feel more and more short of breath. This condition is called aortic stenosis. Mike also had three arteries in his heart which were blocked. Unfortunately, placement of a stent to open them up was not an option. He needed bypass surgery as well. This is when we take a piece of vein or artery from the body and use it to graft around the blocked portion of the artery. We are essentially creating a new path for blood to flow to the heart.”

Mike’s continued recovery is cardiac rehabilitation
Bill Kehoe needed to find a cardiologist

If this sounds like a major surgery, it is. Mike spent a week in the hospital during his initial recovery stage. As is normal, he went home with temporary lifting restrictions and no driving for a few weeks.  He continues to feel better and better each week and is back to driving again.

“I really appreciate the way Dr. Habib spoke to me and took the time to explain everything before and after surgery,” states Mike. “Amy, the nurse who works with Dr. Habib really knows what she is doing, she was also good about explaining things to me, and the nurses on the 12th floor took really good care of me when I was in the hospital. I am also grateful for the support of my wife and family. Two of my daughters and both of my sisters came from out-of-state to be with me.”

An important part of Mike’s continued recovery is cardiac rehabilitation which he began January 25 at McLaren Flint’s sister hospital McLaren Lapeer Region. There he will spend time three times per week, for a total of 12 weeks, getting his body and muscles back in shape. He will also have discussions with the staff regarding the medications he is on and about eating a heart healthy diet. Mike has already lost 20 pounds since his operation and is looking forward to losing even more weight.

His cardiac rehab should wrap up shortly after spring begins, allowing him to start taking walks through the woods again with his English Setter Sara. For Mike, that will surely be a healthy breath of fresh air.


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