Get to know Frank Arko, III, MD, chief of vascular and endovascular surgery, and co-director of the Aortic Institute at Carolinas HealthCare System’s Sanger Heart & Vascular Institute.
What inspired you to want to work in healthcare?
My father was a surgeon, and during school I found myself interested in math and science. I studied biomechanical engineering as an undergraduate and went on to medical school in hopes of becoming an orthopedic surgeon.
However, while I was in medical school, I was mentored by two vascular surgeons. They instilled in me a great desire to treat patients like they did, with compassion, integrity, skill and knowledge.
What brought you to Sanger Heart & Vascular Institute?
The system, the teamwork, and the collaborative effort across Carolinas HealthCare System is what brought me here.
What has been your proudest moment while working in healthcare?
My proudest moment has been saving the lives of patients with complex aneurysms who have been turned down at other institutions.
Another extremely proud moment was implanting the first branched stent graft in the world.
What are some of the innovative ways you and your team are improving heart health and care?
We were the first to implant an aortic branch graft in the world. We’re leading multiple trials for vascular disease, often with some of the top enrollment numbers in the world.
We’re leading innovative research, like our recent publications looking at differences in outcomes in patients with aortic dissections based on ethnicity and gender, and looking at ways to improve long-term survival for patients with ruptured aneurysms.
And we have world-class vascular surgeons who trained at some of the most prestigious institutions in the world – right here in Charlotte.
What are your top tips for staying healthy?
Exercise moderately daily, never smoke, and maintain a healthy moderate diet. It sounds simple, but can be hard to do in practice!
A healthy heart lets you stay focused on doing what you love. Learn how Sanger Heart & Vascular Institute can help you keep your heart healthy.