Expert Cardiothoracic Surgeons at The Heart Hospital
A dedicated and specially trained group of cardiothoracic surgeons at The Heart Hospital perform more open-heart procedures on an annual basis than any other health system in Southeast Georgia.
Recent research studies indicate that patients whose surgeons have more experience performing life-saving procedures are less likely to experience complications and more likely to have improved outcomes. With recent technological changes, cardiothoracic surgeons can select different surgical approaches and techniques to accomplish revascularization of the heart muscle.
Heart Valve Repair and Replacement with TAVR
At The Heart Hospital, our cardiothoracic surgeons and interventional cardiologists are now able to offer Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) – a minimally invasive procedureeor high risk patients with severe aortic stenosis. These patients are typically unable to undergo traditional open valve surgery based on their age, frailty or other known conditions. A new, innovative solution, TAVR offers these patients a treatment option that can relieve their symptoms by restoring blood flow into the aorta and out to the rest of the body.
Heart valves may either be repaired or replaced to restore them to normal function. A heart valve replacement is necessary when the valve is diseased beyond repair. The old valve is removed and replaced with a new valve mechanism-either biological (tissue) or mechanical (artificial). Biological valves are made from animal tissue. Mechanical valves are constructed from metal and cloth.
Coronary Artery Bypass for Severe Coronary Heart Disease
The most common surgical treatment for coronary artery disease is a procedure known as coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG). CABG redirects blood in the heart using small sections of the patient's own arteries or veins. During this procedure, the surgeon makes an incision down to the center of the breastbone to gain access to the heart. The heart is stopped and the patient continues to receive oxygen-rich blood from a heart-lung machine, used temporarily as a substitute for the beating heart. A blood vessel is then taken from the tissues of the chest, arms or legs and placed in areas of narrowing in the heart to restore circulation.
Off-Pump Minimally Invasive Surgical Technique
Off-pump surgery seeks to avoid using the heart-lung machine. It is a minimally invasive technique that enables the surgeon to perform CABG surgery on multiple vessels within the beating heart. During the procedure, a mechanical stabilizing device is used to restrict heart movement so the surgeon can operate while it is beating. Patients may be given a drug to slow the heart rate, but the heart maintains its own rhythm without the assistance of the heart-lung machine. The benefits of off-pump surgery include shorter hospital and recovery time, less bleeding, less potential for infection and less trauma.
For a physician referral to The Heart Hospital, call St. Joseph's/Candler CareCall at (800) 622-6877.