The James Family Heart Center

Turn to The James Family Heart Center at Yavapai Regional Medical Center (YRMC) West for a complete range of programs and services focused on heart health. At the Heart Center, diagnosis, treatment, surgery, rehabilitation and education come together for a program that is comprehensive in scope yet personalized in approach.

At YRMC, we call this creating a Total Healing Environment. Our Heart Center team – cardiothoracic (heart and lung) surgeons, cardiologists, interventional radiologists, registered nurses, technologists and other medical professionals – is committed to this YRMC philosophy of caring. Putting this philosophy into action means we strive to improve the heart health of our patients as well as work to enrich the quality of their lives.

Our Heart Center team is led by nationally acclaimed cardiothoracic surgeon Pierre Tibi, MD. Thanks to the generous support of the Harold James Family Trust and Prescott-area philanthropist, Ron James, since 2007 our community has had access to world-class heart care close to home. 

Come explore the exceptional programs and services offered at The James Family Heart Center at YRMC.

Adult Cardiothoracic Surgery

    Our premier heart team performs this lifesaving surgery, which restores normal blood flow to the heart by using a graft to bypass one or more blocked arteries. Coronary artery bypass surgery promotes:

    • Enhanced blood flow to the heart
    • Fewer symptoms related to coronary artery disease
    • Better quality of life when combined with a heart-healthy lifestyle

    Among the finest in the nation, YRMC’s hybrid operating room is an excellent addition to YRMC’s extensive surgical suites and interventional facilities. The hybrid operating room allows physicians to diagnose patients using permanently integrated imaging equipment. In the same state-of-the-art hybrid operating room, patients may then immediately undergo a procedure to correct their condition. The hybrid operating room – combined with YRMC’s multi- disciplinary team of heart specialists – offers many advantages.

    Instead of placing the patient on a heart-lung machine, our Heart Center surgeons perform this procedure while the heart is still beating, While not suitable for all patients, this method can reduce recovery time following coronary artery bypass surgery.

    Major chest surgery may be recommended to treat lung conditions such as infection, cancer or emphysema. Some of these procedures can be performed using minimally invasive techniques.

    This procedure is used to treat atrial fibrillation (rapid and disorganized heartbeat) by interrupting abnormal impulses between the upper chambers of the heart and allowing a return to a normal heartbeat.

    YRMC’s Patient Blood Management (PBM) program offers an alternative to blood transfusion as well as a team approach to assess a patient's blood management needs. The team develops a plan of care that uses pharmaceuticals, technology and techniques to decrease blood loss and to enhance blood cell production. This approach reduces or eliminates the need for a blood transfusion. The hospital’s PBM program is one of approximately 60 accredited PBM programs in the country. The Society for the Advancement of Blood Management accredits PBM programs.

    The heart’s four chambers have the important job of ensuring blood flows in and out of the heart through its valves. During heart valve surgery, our surgeons repair or replace diseased heart valves so the valves can continue their important function in the heart.

Diagnostic and Interventional Cardiology

    Cardiac catheterization (also called cardiac cath or coronary angiogram) is an imaging procedure that tests for heart disease by allowing your doctor to “see” how well your heart is functioning. During the test, a long, narrow tube called a catheter is inserted into an artery or vein in your arm or leg. The catheter is then guided to your heart with the aid of a special X-ray machine. Contrast dye is injected through the catheter so that “movies” of your valves, coronary arteries and heart chambers can be created.

    A stent is a small mesh tube heart specialists use to open blocked arteries and restore blood flow during angioplasty procedures. Our team uses top quality stents – both bioresorbable (dissolving) and metal – to open blocked coronary arteries and reduce your chance of heart attack.

    YRMC was among the first hospitals in Arizona to offer bioresorbable stents for eligible heart patients. Made of a naturally dissolving material, bioresorbable stents are placed in the heart to open clogged arteries. In approximately three years, these stents resorb into the body, much like dissolving sutures. Talk to your doctor about which type of stent is best for you.

    Cardiac electrophysiology is a subspecialty branch of cardiology. These physicians diagnose and treat heart rhythm disorders, also called arrhythmia.

    Peripheral arterial disease is caused by arteries that are narrowed or blocked by plaque. Our cardiologists open blocked arteries with a balloon catheter, implanting a stent (a small metal mesh tube) to ensure the area remains open.

    TAVR is a heart valve replacement procedure for patients with severe aortic valve stenosis who have been determined to be high risk or too sick for open-heart surgery. This less invasive procedure allows a prosthetic valve to be inserted into the diseased valve.

Arrhythmia Program

    An arrhythmia is an irregular heartbeat: slow or fast. Bradycardia – a slow heart rate – is defined as below 60 beats per minute. A fast heart rate is called tachycardia and refers to a heart rate of 100 beats per minute or more. The Heart Center’s Arrhythmia Program helps get your heart back to a normal rate.

    A permanent pacemaker is implanted under the skin in order to maintain a normal heart rate. Permanent pacemakers send electrical impulses to the heart muscle to correct a heart rate that is too slow. Pacemakers have other heart-rate functions that your physician will review with you.

    Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy (CRT) is used to improve the heart’s rhythm and the symptoms associated with the arrhythmia. An internal cardiac defibrillator – a sophisticated electronic device – is implanted under the skin primarily to treat ventricular tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation.

    CRT or bi-ventricular pacing is used to improve heart failure symptoms. This small device sends impulses to the heart’s upper and lower chambers to help them be in a more synchronized pattern. This helps to improve blood flow and oxygenation to the body.

Interventional Radiology

    YRMC’s excellent interventional radiology team uses diagnostic angiography to detect abnormalities or blockages in the blood vessels. These interventional radiologists study blood vessels by:
    • Guiding a tube through an artery or vein
    • Injecting a special dye
    • Gathering images of the blood vessels in order to make a diagnosis

    Peripheral arterial disease is caused by arteries that are narrowed or blocked by plaque. Our interventional radiologists open blocked arteries with a balloon catheter, implanting a stent (a small metal mesh tube) to ensure the area remains open.

    An abdominal aortic aneurysm is a weakening in the aorta, the major blood vessel that runs from the heart through the center of your chest and abdomen. Using a minimally invasive catheter, YRMC’s interventional radiologists implant stent grafts that reduce the pressure on the aneurysm, provide a new pathway for blood flow, and prevent life-threatening complications.


    An echocardiogram uses ultrasound to take pictures of the heart. Images are visible on a monitor and recorded to determine how well the heart is working. For more information about these and other tests, visit YRMC’s Cardiopulmonary Laboratory.

    This exam reveals how well your heart works when you are exercising on either a treadmill or stationary bike. Even people who can’t exercise can participate in this test with medication that raises their heart rate without physical activity. Learn about other services and procedures available at YRMC’s Cardiopulmonary Laboratory.

    During a nuclear cardiac study, the patient receives a small amount of radioactive tracer. A specially designed camera – which takes images of the heart – shows the location of the tracer. The results of these studies are reviewed by physicians to diagnose blockages. Learn more about other heart tests performed by the team at YRMC’s Cardiopulmonary Laboratory.

Critical Care Services

    Our CVICU team specializes in caring for the surgical heart patient and their family members. Our CVICU health professionals use advanced monitoring and evidence-based guidelines to help patients and their families along a healing path to recovery.

    Our ICU healthcare professionals care for medical heart patients and their family members. They utilize advanced monitoring and evidence-based guidelines to promote the best possible outcomes for patients.

    Enhancing the road to recovery for patients and their families, medical professionals in the PCU specialize in preparing patients and their families for the new challenges facing them on their path to wellness.

Cardiac Rehabilitation and Preventive Medicine

    Patients of The James Family Heart Center at YRMC have access to services that promote continued heart health through diet, fitness, health education and health-living strategies. Our Heart Center team collaborates with YRMC health professionals from Preventive Medicine and Wellness to ensure continued quality of life for people following heart surgery as well as any cardiac event or procedure.