Boulder Community Health (BCH) has appointed Dr. Bryan Mahan as its new director of thoracic and cardiovascular surgery. With Dr. Mahan’s arrival, BCH patients now have access to two minimally invasive treatment options not previously available in Boulder County – one for atrial fibrillation (or a-fib, an irregular heartbeat that increases the risk of stroke and heart failure) and the other for aortic aneurysms (a bulge in part of the aorta, the body’s main artery).

Dr. Mahan is one of a handful of heart surgeons in the state to perform what is known as a hybrid ablation for a-fib. Intended for patients for whom other treatments have failed, a hybrid ablation is performed by a heart surgeon and an electrophysiologist (a cardiologist who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of heart rhythm disorders) working together. The heart surgeon creates scar tissue on the outside of the heart, while the electrophysiologist does the same on the inside. This scar tissue blocks the damaged electrical pathways causing the irregular heartbeat characteristic of a-fib. The procedure involves only three small incisions in the chest and a few small punctures in the groin. Patients generally go home after only one or two nights in the hospital.

Dr. Mahan also has brought to BCH a minimally invasive procedure known as Thoracic Endovascular Aortic Repair (TEVAR). Used to treat aortic aneurysms, TEVAR repairs the aorta using a stent-graft – a flexible metal coil that seals off the weak part of the aorta, protecting it from growing any larger. Since TEVAR only requires small groin incisions, it typically leads to shorter hospital stays and quicker recovery times vs. traditional surgical approaches.

“I am honored and excited to serve as Boulder Heart’s director of thoracic and cardiovascular surgery,” said Dr. Mahan. “BCH has an outstanding reputation as a health care system dedicated to meeting the evolving needs of the community and providing access to high quality medical care. I look forward to continuing that tradition.”

Prior to his arrival in Boulder, Dr. Mahan spent 16 years at Memorial Hospital in Colorado Springs, 12 of those as director of cardiovascular and thoracic surgery. He also practiced at McLaren Northern Michigan Hospital in Petoskey, Mich., for 11 years, nine of those as director of thoracic and cardiac surgery.

Dr. Mahan received his medical degree from Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine and completed his residency in cardiovascular and thoracic surgery at Detroit Osteopathic Hospital. He also completed a senior fellowship in cardiac surgery at Cleveland Clinic.