Two Wellmont Cardiologists To Perform Procedures At Holston Valley As Physicians Watch In New Orleans

Dr. Chris Metzger, who directs the No. 1 carotid artery stenting program in the nation at Holston Valley Medical Center, and his partner, Dr. Rahul Sakhuja, will share their expertise Thursday, June 7, with their colleagues across the country via satellite to New Orleans.

For the third consecutive year, Dr. Metzger will perform procedures in the cardiac catheterization lab at Holston Valley as training for an audience of thousands of physicians watching at New Cardiovascular Horizons, the nation’s largest medical meeting on peripheral artery disease. A moderator and panelists will also watch him and Dr. Sakhuja, who recently joined the Wellmont CVA Heart Institute, work live Thursday afternoon and discuss the cases with them.

Dr. Metzger and Dr. Sakhuja will perform two complex stenting procedures – one to open complex blockages in a patient’s leg in an attempt to save the limb and another to open the carotid artery to a patient’s brain to prevent strokes.

Earlier in the day, the two physicians will be taped performing these types of procedures for use in Dr. Metzger’s educational lectures and as training for other physicians who use the same type of stents.

“This is a tremendous honor for Dr. Metzger to perform procedures again in front of his peers,” said Dr. Jerry Blackwell, the heart institute’s president. “It is reflective of the high-quality cardiovascular care he delivers every day and shows how other extraordinary physicians use the heart institute as a benchmark nationally for superior care.

“My colleagues and I at the heart institute have watched Dr. Metzger perform these procedures for years with utmost skill and innovation and are proud he will be sharing his best practices with physicians he respects so much. It is also marvelous to have Dr. Sakhuja join Dr. Metzger to demonstrate how our program continues to grow and evolve.”

Dr. Metzger said he is grateful to again have such a prominent outlet where he can exchange ideas with his fellow physicians.

“When you consider the honors all of us at the heart institute have achieved, it just reaffirms that patients in the Tri-Cities area have no need to leave the region for their cardiovascular care,” he said. “That’s what is so special about being asked to perform these procedures again this week. It’s recognition that our region has some of the finest physicians in the country, who are committed to better health of their patients.”

Dr. Metzger has performed as many or more carotid artery stents than anyone else in the country during the last five years. In the fall, CareChex, a national ratings agency, selected Holston Valley’s carotid artery stenting program as the best in the nation.

Board-certified in internal medicine, cardiovascular disease and interventional cardiology, Dr. Metzger has set a high standard throughout his medical career and helped establish the heart institute as one of the premier practices in the country. And now, Dr. Sakhuja has joined the heart institute to give it more depth and expand the horizons of care.

Dr. Sakhuja, who joined the heart institute in the fall after training with Dr. Metzger, is board-certified in internal medicine, cardiovascular disease, interventional cardiology, general vascular medicine and endovascular intervention. He said he looks forward to working with Dr. Metzger on these cases.

“It is an honor to be selected among all of the esteemed sites internationally to share our expertise,” Dr. Sakhuja said. “Dr. Metzger has integrity, and the respect his colleagues across the country – and the world – have for him is evident in their selection of Holston Valley as a site to perform live cases that will educate other physicians on how to care for patients with complex vascular disease.”

Dr. Metzger is thrilled Dr. Sakhuja is joining him in the live feeds.

“The heart institute has added one of the brightest young medical minds and a physician with impressive clinical judgment, dexterity and bedside manner,” Dr. Metzger said. “Having him standing with me will add an extra layer of expertise that will enhance the discussion and the learning that will transpire.”

Participating in this conference is the latest example of Dr. Metzger sharing his experience and knowledge. He regularly trains fellows from prestigious universities, such as Harvard Medical School, Ohio State University and Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.

The 13th annual conference begins today, June 6, and runs through Saturday, June 9. The conference’s website,, says the event’s goal is to focus on a team approach to complete cardiovascular care in patients who have peripheral artery disease and critical limb ischemia.

For more information about the heart institute, please visit