Cardiovascular Surgeon Dr. Jay K. Bhama has joined the heart and vascular team practicing at St. Bernards Medical Center, specializing in complex surgical procedures involving the heart.
Bhama, M.D., a nationally recognized heart surgeon with significant cardiovascular experience, holds a special interest and expertise in complex, heart valve surgeries and mechanical circulatory support.
A thought leader in the field of cardiovascular surgery, Dr. Bhama previously served as Surgical Director of the Heart Center and Cardiovascular Service Line at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) in Little Rock. While there, he practiced as a Cardiovascular Surgeon and taught as a Professor in the Department of Surgery. Dr. Bhama also served as the Surgical Director of the Heart Failure and Transplant Institute at Baptist Health in Little Rock and as the Extra-Corporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) program director at UAMS. He has practiced as a Cardiovascular Surgeon for two decades, including clinical leadership roles at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and the University of Iowa Health Care before coming to Arkansas in 2019.
Dr. Bhama said he sees a common thread throughout his time practicing medicine and surgery.
“Cardiovascular disease does not respect regions, ages, genders or ethnicities,” Dr. Bhama said, “but it has a particular predilection for people in Arkansas and the Mid-South region as a whole, where the incidence of heart failure deaths is steadily rising.”
The most recent CDC data cites nearly 700,000 Americans dying annually from heart disease—the leading cause of deaths nationwide at more than 20 percent. Arkansas, meanwhile, has the fourth-highest mortality rate from heart disease among all 50 states.
“Even more focused, Northeast Arkansas has some of the highest death rates from heart disease in the nation,” Dr. Bhama said. “As a surgeon, we operate at ‘Ground Zero’ in this fight, and we will employ every tool to guide patients toward better cardiovascular health. I’m proud to be part of the formidable team at St. Bernards helping patients here combat cardiovascular disease.”
St. Bernards Interventional Cardiologist Dr. Max Arroyo said Dr. Bhama joins the region’s top-ranked heart and vascular team.
“We talk about St. Bernards offering comprehensive heart and vascular services,” Dr. Arroyo said. “Regardless of the patient’s need, we have a team to meet it. Dr. Bhama has an incredible track record helping patients across the U.S., and we’re honored he chose to practice here.”
Dr. Bhama earned his medical degree from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and completed a General Surgery residency in Baylor’s Michael E. DeBakey Department of Surgery. He completed Cardiothoracic Surgical training at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. and Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. He also completed an Advanced Cardiac Surgery fellowship at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and a fellowship in Cardiothoracic Transplant and Mechanical Circulatory Support at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
Dr. Bhama is double board certified by the American Board of Surgery and the American Board of Thoracic Surgery. He is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons (FACS), the American College of Cardiology (FACC) and the American College of Chest Physicians (FACP). He also holds a patent as a medical device inventor and serves as a reviewer for leading medical journals in his field. Dr. Bhama is Arkansas’ only Cardiothoracic Surgeon member of the nation’s prestigious American Association for Thoracic Surgery.
In his spare time, Dr. Bhama enjoys spending time with his son as well as biking, hiking and other outdoor activities.