Patient travels from Minnesota for Georgia Heart Institute’s first robotic heart surgery

Published: Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Heart surgeries that used to require long incisions and months of recovery can now be performed in Gainesville through tiny 8-millimeter incisions – about the diameter of an ink pen – with much faster recovery times. Georgia Heart Institute’s surgeons at Northeast Georgia Physicians Group (NGPG) Cardiovascular & Thoracic Surgery are now offering minimally-invasive, robotic heart surgery, giving patients in the area more access to much-needed, state-of-the-art procedures.

“I’m excited to announce that we performed our first robotic heart surgery last week at Northeast Georgia Medical Center (NGMC) in Gainesville,” said T. Sloane Guy, MD, a robotic heart surgeon and the director of Minimally Invasive and Robotic Heart Surgery at NGPG. “The surgery went so well that Bill was able to leave the hospital just two days after the surgery, and he’ll be able to fly home to Minnesota after his follow-up appointment this week.”

Bill Mayfield and his wife originally traveled to Georgia last month to visit their son, but Bill started to feel ill. He stopped by NGPG Urgent Care in Dahlonega, where the care team discovered a heart murmur. They quickly referred him to Dr. Guy at NGPG Cardiovascular & Thoracic Surgery.

Bill Mayfield & Dr. Sloane Guy

Dr. Guy explained Bill needed heart surgery, there was a less invasive robotic surgery option and he was an excellent candidate. Bill and his wife were optimistic, but wanted to go back home to Minnesota to do a little research.

“I read that Dr. Guy was one of the best robotic heart surgeons in the country,” recalled Bill. “It made the most sense for us to make the trip back down from Minnesota, and it was definitely worth it. Just two days after the surgery, I was leaving the hospital and feeling great. I can’t believe what the team was able to do through these tiny incisions. I remember when my brother had open heart surgery, and this is a totally different experience.”

“Robotic surgery patients can have a significantly shorter recovery period,” said Dr. Guy. “This means they can get back to their normal activities sooner than open heart surgery patients.”

NGPG Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery is an integral part of Georgia Heart Institute, Northeast Georgia Health System’s (NGHS) comprehensive heart and vascular service line.

“Whether the surgery is done using a minimally invasive approach or an open approach, our primary goal is providing the best possible treatment plan and outcome for each individual patient,” said Clifton Hastings, MD, medical director of NGPG Cardiovascular & Thoracic Surgery. “We’re collaborating with the cardiologists of Georgia Heart Institute to coordinate care across specialties, providing patients a more seamless patient experience.”

To schedule an appointment with NGPG Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery, call 770-219-7099. To schedule an appointment with one of Georgia Heart Institute’s cardiologists, visit or call 770-534-2020.

About Northeast Georgia Physicians Group

Northeast Georgia Physicians Group (NGPG) brings together over 650 talented physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, midwives and other clinical staff at more than 95 locations across North Georgia. As the state’s sixth-largest physician group, we always have a practice nearby to offer you expert care in more than 40 specialties. See the full list of specialties and locations – and meet our providers – at

NGPG is affiliated with Northeast Georgia Health System (NGHS), a non-profit which serves more than 1 million people in 19 counties across the region. As part of NGHS, patients of NGPG have a direct connection to Northeast Georgia Medical Center’s four hospitals in Gainesville, Braselton, Winder and Dahlonega. Learn more at

About Georgia Heart Institute

Georgia Heart Institute is the most forward-thinking heart and vascular program in the state and includes one of the largest cardiology practices in the region, including more than 80 practitioners seeing patients at more than a dozen locations. With a multi-disciplinary team of experts treating nearly every type of heart and vascular disease and participating in leading national research, we’re providing advanced care that ensures lasting heart health for generations. Request an appointment and learn more at

The experts of Georgia Heart Institute also form the core of the cardiac care team at Northeast Georgia Medical Center’s four hospitals in Gainesville, Braselton, Winder and Dahlonega. It’s all part of Northeast Georgia Health System, a non-profit which serves more than 1 million people across the region. Learn more at