Decades of Compassion and Innovation
We have 20 MDAs (Medical Doctors of Anesthesiology) and over 40 CRNAs (Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists) on staff. Over half of our MDAs are specially trained as Cardiac Anesthesiologists. We also provide clinical training and education of student CRNAs from multiple schools like Midwestern School in Phoenix, AZ and Westminster School in Salt Lake City, Utah.
AZ Heart Anesthesia (AHA) was founded in 1996 by Dr. M. Reza Kharrazi and Dr. Nelson Dyess, primarily to provide anesthesia to patients undergoing cardiac and vascular surgery under the care of world famous cardiac surgeon, Dr. Theodore Deithrich. Initially, AHA was based out of the Humana Hospital on Highway 51 and Thomas Road (which now is the Children’s Hospital).
Dr. Deithrich had the foresight to read the rapidly changing landscape of cardiac and vascular surgery to see that Cardiologists, Cardiac Surgeons, and Cardiac Anesthesiologist would need to work together as a team – going the extra mile for patient care. Dr. Deithrich gathered a team of strongly dedicated physicians, acquiring funding to open a small, boutique hospital that catered to patients with cardiac and vascular diseases – the first of its kind in the Southwest U.S.
Thus, Arizona Heart Hospital opened in 1997 with 60 beds. AHA was the sole provider of anesthesia services at this hospital.
Those were golden years. AHA laid the foundation of hard work, teamwork, and high-quality anesthesia for very sick patients who were refused by other Anesthesiologists. AHA was at the forefront of innovations that took place in cardiac and vascular surgery locally, nationally, and internationally.
- AHA provided anesthesia services to patients undergoing the novel technique of Endoluminal Grafting for Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm. AHA worked side-by-side with Dr. Deithrich and his team for much of the original investigative and experimental work for this surgery in the United States by the late 1990s.
- AHA provided anesthesia for the first case of Endoluminal Grafting of a Descending Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm in the United States. Thus, avoiding an open procedure that had very high mortality rates.
- AHA provided anesthesia for the first case of Endoluminal Grafting of Aneurysm of Arch of Aorta and Aorto-Carotid bypass in Arizona. Thus, avoiding an open procedure that had very high mortality rates.
- AHA provided anesthesia and ICU care for Laser TransMyocardial Revascularization (Laser TMR) surgeries on very high risk patients with Coronary Artery Disease. These patients were not suitable for any form of conventional treatment, and the Arizona Heart Hospital was only center providing such treatment in the southwest.
- AHA provided anesthesia and ICU care for procedures involving Left Ventricle Aneurysm Reduction Myoplasty – the first of their kind in the United States – by visiting world-famous surgeon Dr. Batista from Brazil, who elected to come and work at Arizona Heart Hospital for six months.
- AHA provided anesthesia and ICU care for Lung Volume Reduction Surgery in patients with end-stage Emphysematous Lung disease under the care of visiting surgeon, Dr. John Opie of Canada – the first of its kind in Arizona.
- AHA provided anesthesia for patients undergoing Internal Carotid Artery Stenting for Carotid Artery Restenosis at Arizona Heart Hospital – one of the few centers in the United States where such trials were held. Patients remained awake during these surgeries, so the anesthetic needs were radically different from other surgeries.
- AHA provided anesthesia for Arizona’s first case of closure of Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO) with an Amplatz device by Dr. R. Strumpf, a Cardiologist at Arizona Heart Hospital. This procedure required Transesophageal Echocardiography (TE) guidance which was provided by AZ Heart anesthesiologists. This procedure kept the patient from having open heart surgery and has now become the standard procedure for treatment for patients with PFO.
- AHA provided anesthesia and Transesophageal Echocardiography (TE) assessment to patients at Arizona Heart Hospital who underwent preliminary phase I trials across the United States for implantation of the Watchman device in the left atrial appendage under the care of Dr. V. Swarup (an Electrophysiology Cardiologist) as an alternative treatment for Chronic Atrial Fibrillation.
- AHA provided anesthesia and Transesophageal Echocardiography (TE) study for the first patient in Arizona to undergo minimally invasive Aortic Valve Replacement surgery and minimally invasive Mitral Valve surgery by Dr. R. Kathuria, a Cardiothoracic Surgeon at Banner-Boswell Medical Center.
- AHA is one of few anesthesiology practices in Arizona to provide anesthesia for recently introduced surgery of Transcutaneous Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) for aortic stenosis and Mitral Valve Clip placement for mitral regurgitation in very sick patients who otherwise are not candidates for open procedures.