Our Patient Commitment

photo of Dr. KelemenBringing more than 20 years of experience, Dr. John Kelemen currently serves as Chief of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery at Hilton Head Hospital and is a practicing physician at Cardiovascular & Thoracic Surgery Associates located in Hilton Head, SC.

Dr. Kelemen served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel before entering civilian practice in 2005, and has built his surgical practice upon the foundation of a multidisciplinary heart care team dedicated to a personalized approach ensuring that all of his patients’ needs are met. The collegial and collaborative interaction of the team allows a detailed consideration of all the medical and personal aspects of your situation and enhances communication. Dr. Kelemen directly leads his team and is involved in all aspects of your care. He is strongly committed to developing a personal relationship with you, which he pursues through daily conversations as you progress through treatment.

Leading with compassion is a key element to the success of patient satisfaction and his team’s collaboration. Attention to detail, communication, and outstanding outcomes have solidified his reputation among the leading cardiovascular and thoracic programs in the country. Dr. Kelemen enjoys the many benefits of operating in a boutique hospital as it makes it possible for his team to spend more time with you in order to give more specialized care. He believes it is essential to understand your expectations: “where are you now and where do you want to be.” This is the starting point for the team in determining how to help you achieve your goals symbiotically and comfortably.

While Dr. Kelemen and his team at Hilton Head Hospital humbly regard their successes on a personal level, statistics and data provide a concrete picture of outstanding results. Dr. Kelemen encourages you to research your doctor so that you can make an informed decision about your health. The Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) maintains a national database with public reporting on the internet. In addition to facilitating communication to the public regarding outcomes, the STS data provides a framework for continuous improvement. While all surgeons are concerned about your immediate recovery, Dr. Kelemen, is also very focused on your long-term quality of life and survival.

In coronary surgery, long-term outcomes are correlated with graft patency. It is well-known that the internal thoracic artery has a 90-95% patency at 10 years compared to a 50-60% patency for vein grafts. Surgeons use one internal thoracic artery but very few use two. In fact, only 5% of patients nationally and less than the national average in South Carolina receive a second internal thoracic artery. Dr. Kelemen performs bilateral internal thoracic artery grafting in 60-70% of his patients. This is more than ten times the national average. This demonstrates that Dr. Kelemen cares not only about “your today” but also about “your tomorrow.” Dr. Kelemen knows that bilateral internal thoracic artery grafting is the absolute right thing to do for most people’s long term health and life goals. He is fond of saying “when health gets better, life gets better.” He also believes strongly and takes great precautions in blood conservation, which results in fewer blood transfusions leading to more favorable recoveries.

Dr. Kelemen, while not a South Carolina native, had always intended to move to the Low Country. Initially, he fell in love with it during a trip in college and has since been bringing his family for vacations. He feels fortunate that an auspicious opportunity to continue his medical career brought him to Hilton Head even sooner than he had planned. While not tending to patients, Dr. Kelemen enjoys spending time outdoors with his wife and five adult children. He is active in medical organizations and served as the 2020 Southern Coast Heart Ball President for the American Heart Association.