New Heart Surgeon Joins Team at FirstHealth
A cardiothoracic surgeon with more than 20 years of experience in advanced cardiac, thoracic and vascular procedures has joined the FirstHealth Cardiovascular and Thoracic Center at FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital.
Before coming to FirstHealth, Dr. Thomas Arthur "Art" Edgerton was associated with Piedmont Medical Center in Rock Hill, S.C., where he started the cardiothoracic surgery program in 1997, building a robust practice and performing 350 surgeries each year. He joins a FirstHealth cardiothoracic team that also includes Dr. John Krahnert Jr. and Peter I. Ellman.
Edgerton and Krahnert, who started FirstHealth's open-heart program 20 years ago, have known each other since medical school at the Bowman Gray School of Medicine in Winston-Salem.
"Art brings with him a tremendous amount of experience, advanced techniques and skills that complement our team," Krahnert says. "He has a reputation as an excellent technical surgeon with great clinical judgment and compassion. As terrific a surgeon as he is, Art is an even better person. He is a team player, and we look forward to working with him on collaborative efforts with cardiology, vascular surgery, pulmonary, oncology and radiation oncology.
"He and his lovely wife, Ann, will be active and contributing members of our community. We are very fortunate to have them join us."
Dr. George Bussey, FirstHealth's chief medical officer, and Dr. David Cowherd, the cardiologist who started FirstHealth's cardiac catheterization program, are equally enthusiastic about the background, experience and skills that Edgerton brings to the cardiothoracic team, especially as FirstHealth prepares to open the Reid Heart Center early next year.
The multi-million-dollar Heart Center will centralize all of Moore Regional's cardiovascular services in one state-of-the-art location while taking the program to new levels of quality and patient care.
"Art is a great surgeon, but more importantly a great person and a real advocate for patients," Bussey says. "He is an asset to our surgical team and will help us solidify our reputation as an excellent place for cardiac surgery. He will be instrumental in helping us create the necessary multidisciplinary team of cardiologists, vascular surgeons, interventional radiologists, cardiac surgeons and others necessary to make the Reid Heart Center an example of collaborative excellence."
"He has a kind and engaging personality," Cowherd says. "He is just the right person to help lead continued growth at FirstHealth's Reid Heart Center."
A native North Carolinian, Edgerton has spent much of his life in the Charlotte area. He received his bachelor's degree in chemistry from Wake Forest University in 1977 and his medical degree from the Bowman Gray (now Wake Forest) School of Medicine in 1981.
He completed his general surgery residency in 1987 and a fellowship in cardiothoracic surgery in 1989, both at the Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center.
After spending a year at Wake Forest in a junior faculty position, Edgerton returned to Charlotte and Charlotte Cardiothoracic Surgical Associates, with privileges in cardiothoracic surgery at Presbyterian Hospital and Carolinas Medical Center-Mercy.
In 1997, he became affiliated with Rock Hill's Piedmont Medical Center and Catawba-Piedmont Cardiothoracic Surgery PA, which was then a two-surgeon practice. He has practiced solo since 2005.
His surgical specialties include coronary artery bypass, valvular heart surgery, lung surgery and carotid endarterectomy. He is certified by the American Board of Surgery and the American Board of Thoracic Surgery.
Edgerton's wife, Ann, is a physician assistant, with a particular interest in fitness and wellness. The Edgertons have a 25-year-old daughter, Anna, a graduate student studying journalism at Columbia University; and a 23-year-old son, Colston, a first-year medical student at Wake Forest.
Like their parents, both of the Edgerton children received their undergraduate degrees from Wake Forest.
Edgerton says he was attracted to FirstHealth's cardiothoracic program for a variety of reasons, foremost among them the opportunity to work with his medical school colleague, Krahnert.
"It was kind of a perfect combination from my perspective to have John there," he says.
He says he also looks forward to working with Ellman, whom he describes as "very well-trained and enthusiastic ... a perfect combination for somebody to work with."
While acknowledging that he comes to FirstHealth at an especially exciting time, Edgerton says that his decision to join the organization exceeds the opportunity to help open the Reid Heart Center.
"The entire FirstHealth organization is top-notch, a quality organization that is very successful and proficient in what it does," he says. "For me, personally, it seemed to be the kind of organization I'd like to join and work with for the balance of my career."
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