Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson had a big smile and a brief greeting (“I’m back”)
for “700 Club” viewers as he opened the Sept. 8, 2009, telecast of his long-running talk show.
Pronouncing himself “as strong as ever,” the founder and chair of the Virginia-based Christian Broadcasting
Network (CBN) chatted with co-host Kristi Watts as he explained the reason for his recent extended absence
from the show: a stay in FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital in Pinehurst for a procedure to correct his atrial
Telling his audience that he had suffered for years with the condition that afflicts an estimated 5 million
Americans, Robertson said he had tried medication and two ablations to address the problem, but nothing had
Then he heard about Moore Regional Hospital
and the Convergent Procedure performed
by cardiothoracic surgeon Andy Kiser, M.D.,
and cardiologist Mark Landers, M.D., and
decided to “give it a go.”
“I tell you, my hat’s off to those guys,” Robertson
told his CBN audience.
Intrigued by the procedure’s 90 percent success
rate, Robertson entered Moore Regional in
late-summer 2009 in the care of Drs. Kiser and
Landers, who combined their skills as surgeon
and cardiologist/electrophysiologist to address
his condition. During the procedure, they discovered
and Dr. Kiser removed an abnormally
enlarged left appendage on Robertson’s heart
that apparently was the source of his problem.
Robertson spent 10 days in the hospital and
within weeks was telling his story to millions of
“700 Club” faithful.
The September telecast marking Robertson’s
return to the airways included a videotaped feature
explaining how the Convergent Procedure
works as it told the story of another Convergent
success, Montgomery County resident Carolyn
Thompson. During the broadcast, the 79-yearold
Robertson repeatedly praised Dr. Kiser and
“I’m thankful for Andy Kiser and his associate,
Mark Landers,” he said. “These are very,
very skilled people.”
Cardiothoracic surgeon Andy Kiser and cardiologist Mark Landers have continued to monitor the progress of Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson by participating in videoconferences and telephone consultations with Robertson and his personal cardiologist in Virginia.
“He’s doing great,” Dr. Kiser says of his famous patient.
When Andy Kiser, M.D., a cardiothoracic surgeon at
FirstHealth Moore Regional, performed the first Ex-Maze
surgery in the United States, it was a concomitant (associated)
procedure done in conjunction with a traditional open-chest,
stopped-heart coronary bypass. Soon, he was partnering with
heart specialists in Europe to develop an Ex-Maze procedure
that could be done as a minimally invasive surgery performed on
a beating heart and through several small incisions instead of the
In June 2007, Dr. Kiser, in collaboration with Polish and
German heart surgeons, performed the world’s first minimally
invasive Ex-Maze on a patient in Krakow, Poland.
Dr. Kiser began offering the minimally invasive Ex-Maze at
Moore Regional shortly thereafter. Soon surgeons from such metropolitan
locations as Chicago, St. Louis and Sacramento adopted
the surgery that cauterizes the heart muscle with heat generated
by radio frequency to create a pattern of scar tissue that controls
the errant electrical impulses that cause atrial fibrillation.
Continued improvements to the procedure eventually led to
an even more effective atrial fibrillation treatment. In January
2009, Dr. Kiser and cardiologist/electrophysiologist
Mark Landers, M.D., assembled an international
team of surgeons and cardiologists, again in Krakow,
to explore a new technique. The resulting surgery
combined the skills and expertise of the cardiac
surgeon with those of the electrophysiologist so
that, in January 2009, a 55-year-old Idaho man
could travel to Pinehurst and Moore Regional and
become the first patient in the United States to have
the Convergent Ex-Maze.
In its various forms, each an improvement over the
other, the atrial fibrillation technique has been performed
more than 200 times worldwide. The current
procedure, called the Convergent Procedure, has been done
40 to 50 times internationally. More than 30 of those surgeries
have been performed at Moore Regional Hospital by Dr. Kiser
in collaboration with either Dr. Landers or a second Moore
Regional electrophysiologist, Ker Boyce, M.D.
Dr. Kiser calls the Convergent “a more comprehensive
procedure,” one that addresses the erratic, atrial fibrillationcausing
electrical impulses on the inside as well as the surface
of the heart.
“I do the surface, and Dr. Landers or Dr. Boyce does the
inside,” he says. “We look for areas that are problems, we test
for problems, and then we go back and do more. We’ve started
to see a merger of the technology and technique. The biggest
improvement has been the integration of these systems.”
Outcomes, he says, “are fantastic” with
the most recent three-month data
showing a success rate of about
|Ker Boyce, M.D.
||Andy C. Kiser, M.D.
||Mark Landers, M.D.
The FirstHealth Arrhythmia Center offers comprehensive treatment for patients with atrial fibrillation. Once
considered a harmless annoyance, atrial fibrillation is now recognized as a dangerous condition that can double
the risk of death. Patients with atrial fibrillation are five to seven times more likely to have a stroke, and the
disease can also cause congestive heart failure and uncomfortable symptoms related to a rapid heart rate.
The FirstHealth Arrhythmia Center offers a unique new treatment for atrial fibrillation called the Convergent
Procedure, which combines the minimally invasive Ex-Maze procedure with a catheter ablation. The co-disciplinary
treatment was developed by Andy C. Kiser, M.D., a cardiothoracic surgeon and Arrhythmia Center medical director,
and Mark Landers, M.D., a cardiologist specializing in electrophysiology.
As demand for the procedure increased, an additional FirstHealth electrophysiologist, Ker Boyce, M.D., has
also joined the team.
Atrial fibrillation treatment begins with services provided by a cardiologist but can ultimately require a surgical
procedure. Treatment options include medications, electric shock cardioversion, pacemaker therapy and
catheter ablation as well as the Convergent Procedure. All are offered at FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital.