Bellingham Cardiologist Performs Life-Saving Heart Procedure Featured in the American Heart Journal 

William Lombardi, MD, a world-recognized heart doctor (cardiologist), is the Associate Medical Director of Interventional Cardiology & STEMI at PeaceHealth St. Joseph Cardiovascular Center, as well as an adjunct assistant clinical professor of cardiovascular medicine at Stanford University. He is ranked No. 1 in the U.S. (2008, 2009, 2010) for the total number of chronic total occlusion (CTO) procedures performed.

The CTO procedure is an alternative to traditional bypass surgery. Bypass surgeries create an artificial passage to allow for blood flow when an identified artery is closed or blocked. Using the CTO procedure, an interventional cardiologist can go through a completely clogged artery and insert a stent (small tube that holds an artery open), opening the clogged artery. This may be especially important for patients who have been refused surgery.

Dr. Lombardi is well known for his work in chronic totally occluded coronary arteries. He performs more of these procedures than any other operator in the United States, and he is currently an in-demand training resource for physicians worldwide who want to learn more about these complex procedures; he has trained over 150 other cardiologists in the CTO method. Dr. Lombardi is a passionate advocate for advancing medical care and ensuring that patients are offered the most current guideline based therapies. He continues to actively participate in multiple research protocols and enjoys helping develop innovative therapies to improve every individual’s quality of life and longevity. 

The American Heart Journal featured an article on this procedure, which found that successful CTO procedures appear to be associated with a reduced number of deaths and a reduction in the need for additional surgeries.

What Others are Saying

Dr. Lombardi’s superior skill in CTO percutaneous intervention (CTO-PCI) is recognized by many experienced physicians in the field. Several note his unique passion for training others and using this procedure to help patients around world. Here’s what others are saying: 

“Dr. Lombardi is one of the world’s foremost experts in opening chronically occluded arteries. He has pioneered technique development and standardization of approaches for CTO PCI as well as new device and strategy development to help manage these patients. He is actively engaged in the training of physicians in the United States and worldwide to create a more global impact for patients with occluded arteries.” 
  • Craig A. Thompson, MD Director, Invasive Cardiology and Vascular Medicine Associate Professor of Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine 

“I have been doing antegrade procedures for 10 years, at a rate of about 20 per year, with success rates of about 70%. I turned into a dedicated CTO-PCI after I visited [PeaceHealth St. Joseph Cardiovascular Center] in December 2009, where I spent a full day in the lab with Dr. Lombardi learning tips and tricks for the retrograde approach...Success rates have improved to greater than 90%. [Dr. Lombardi] is clearly a world leader in the field, and a great mentor, who has been teaching and communicating his huge experience and skills with many other physicians around the world. He is probably the fastest CTO operator on earth, and surely the most passionate.”  
  • Stéphane Rinfret, MD, Interventional Cardiology Director, CTO Recanalization Program Quebec Heart and Lung Institute Laval University 

“Dr. Lombardi's unique passion and dedication to treating patients with this most difficult lesion subset percutaneously has re-invigorated the entire interventional community's desire to learn novel techniques that improve the historically dismal success rates of CTO-PCI. After learning from our Japanese colleagues the fundamental techniques of retrograde CTO-PCI, Dr. Lombardi has contributed profoundly to enhancing the technique’s efficiency while maintaining success and safety. 
He has graciously shared this knowledge with anyone interested and will leave as his legacy a generation of North American operators who learned the skill set required to improve success rates from 70% to over 90%. As a result, literally millions of patients in North America will experience relief from their chest pain and avoid more invasive procedures such as bypass surgery and defibrillator implants. I believe, based on the study by Joyal et al., that they will also avoid life-threatening events as a result of these successful procedures.”  
  • J. Aaron Grantham, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine and Director of the Cardiovascular Disease Fellowship Training Program, University of Missouri Kansas City, Consulting Cardiologist, Saint Luke's Health System's Mid America Heart Institute, Kansas City, MO