Trident Medical Center Cuts Ribbon to Celebrate Completion of $15 million Cardiac Expansion

Trident Medical Center celebrated the completion of a $15 million cardiac care expansion with a ribbon cutting. Cardiologist Frederick Funke, MD, who is the hospital’s medical director of cardiology said, “The expansion provides more access to cardiac services that are critical in the fight against heart disease.”

Key components of the expansion include:

  • 16-bed Cardiac Procedure Recovery Unit
  • New Cath Lab
  • New Electrophysiology Lab

The need for the expansion, say physicians, are the increasing number of Lowcountry residents with heart disease and Trident Medical Center’s preparation to care for a generation of new residents who’ve moved into the region in the past five years.

Cardiothoracic surgeon Karen Gersch, MD, with Palmetto Cardiovascular and Thoracic Associates, explained, “The alarming trend in heart disease is it’s affecting younger adults. It’s no longer a senior adult disease. This should serve as a wake up call for people to know their risk factors for heart disease.”

Heart disease is the number one killer of men and women in the United States. Cardiologist Monique Sandhu, MD said women should be aware of their risks, “Heart Disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States. It’s responsible for nearly one out of every five deaths among women in the country. If you’re a woman and don’t know your blood pressure please do so today. It’s critically important to your heart health.”

Contributing to the risk factors associated with heart disease is the number of South Carolinians who still smoke, according to cardiothoracic and vascular surgeon James Benner, MD, with Palmetto Cardiovascular and Thoracic Associates, “I’ve been a heart surgeon for more than 20 years. For a non-smoker the number one priority for heart health is having a primary care physician. The annual check ups are invaluable in catching risk factors early while they can be managed easily. For smokers -stop smoking.”

According to the 2018 South Carolina State Health Assessment many residents have opportunities to improve preventable risk factors that lead to heart disease such as obesity, diabetes, poor diet and lack of exercise. For electrophysiologist Frank Cuoco, MD, with Charleston Heart Specialists, “It’s always important to stay active. You can start with walking and go a little longer every day. You may find after a few months of regular walking that you’ll be able to do more exercise that is good for your heart.

Understanding the risk factors that contribute to heart disease and having a primary care physician are important first steps stated Darren Sidney, MD, an electrophysiologist who practices at Charleston Heart Specialists. “With the exception of people who have a genetic predisposition, it’s possible to limit the risk of heart disease. Lifestyle modification helps. Avoid smoking and eliminate fast food! Diet and exercise are great places to start.”

To help residents find a primary care physician or a specialist Trident Health has a free resource, Find A Doctor, that provides a directory of physicians online at or by phone at (843) 797-3463.

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