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Journey from Nursing to Cardiothoracic Surgery

Heart surgeon’s calling serves patients in Monroe County

When Kelly M. Wanamaker MD, began college, medicine wasn’t even on her radar. “I set out to become a math teacher,” Wanamaker says. “Quickly, I began to realize that interacting with people is what interested me most.” She switched majors from mathematics to psychiatry and eventually to nursing, graduating with a bachelor’s of science in nursing (BSN) from Old Dominion University.

A heart for heart medicine

Wanamaker worked as a cardiac surgery intensive care unit (ICU) nurse. “Caring for very sick and complex heart surgery patients was very rewarding,” she says. “I found myself wanting to do more and that led to my decision to return to school.”

Wanamaker went on to earn her medical degree at Drexel University and complete a cardiac surgery fellowship at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. “Having built upon the foundation as a cardiac surgery nurse, I provide patient care from a very unique point of view.”

Her skills benefit your heart

Wanamaker specializes in coronary artery bypass grafting procedures. These procedures involve open-heart surgery and improve blood flow to the heart. She is joined by another heart surgeon – John E. Anderson, MD – at Lehigh Valley Hospital–Pocono, the only hospital you can have emergency or elective heart surgery without leaving Monroe County. Wanamaker also practices at Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest and Lehigh Valley Hospital-Muhlenberg

“Lehigh Valley Heart Institute offers access to a variety of minimally invasive treatments, including valve repair and replacement and endovascular surgery,” Wanamaker says. “Newer and smaller heart assist devices are getting better and we have more tools than ever to improve a patient’s quality and length of life.”

Facets of Kelly M. Wanamaker, MD

  • Marathon runner

  • Former competitive cheerleader

  • World traveler

Learn about the Lehigh Valley Heart Institute and how it can improve your heart care.

Visit LVHN.org/heartinstitute or call 888-402-LVHN (5846)