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Heart Surgery Division

G-CMC’s Heart Surgery Division performs more than 350 major cardiac procedures annually using state-of-the-art technology, including minimally invasive and laser-guided procedures. Our comprehensive adult cardiac surgical care is provided by some of the best  board-certified heart surgeons in Pennsylvania.

    Heart Surgery Services We Perform:

    Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting (CABG) - During a coronary artery bypass graft (CABG), blood flow is rerouted through a new artery or vein that is grafted around diseased sections of your coronary arteries to increase blood flow to the heart muscle tissue.

    Endoscopic Saphenous Vein Procurement for CABG - The saphenous vein, which runs inside the leg from the ankle to the groin, can be harvested for use in coronary artery bypass graft surgery as a detour around arterial blockages. Removal of this large vein will not adversely affect the leg, although swelling can occur. There are two ways to harvest the vein. Endoscopic harvesting is the most commonly used approach because it is minimally invasive compared with traditional open harvesting, which requires a long incision. Endoscopic harvesting reduces postoperative pain and infection and shortens the hospital stay.

    Valve Replacement (Mechanical & Bioprosthetic) - There are two main types of prosthetic heart valves. Tissue (bioprosthetic) valves made primarily from animal tissue [i.e., bovine pericardium (the sac surrounding a cow's heart), a pig's aortic (porcine) valve or human valves from cadavers] and mechanical valves created from synthetic (man-made) materials.

    Mitral & Tricuspid Valve Repair -

    MitralMitral valve repair is an open heart procedure performed by cardiothoracic surgeons to treat narrowing or leakage of the mitral valve. The mitral valve is the “inflow valve” for the left side of the heart. Blood flows from the lungs, where it picks up oxygen, and into the left atrium. When it opens, the mitral valve allows blood to flow from the left atrium to the heart’s main pumping chamber called the left ventricle. It then closes to keep blood from leaking back into the lungs when the ventricle contracts (squeezes) to push blood out to the body.

    Tricuspid: Tricuspid valve repair surgery involves repairing a damaged or malfunctioning tricuspid valve, which lies between the right atrium and right ventricle, to make the valve open and close properly.

    Surgical Treatment of Atrial Fibrillation (Maze Procedure) - The maze procedure is a surgical treatment for atrial fibrillation. The surgeon can use small incisions, radio waves, freezing, or microwave or ultrasound energy to create scar tissue. The scar tissue, which does not conduct electrical activity, blocks the abnormal electrical signals causing the arrhythmia. The scar tissue directs electric signals through a controlled path, or maze, to the lower heart chambers (ventricles).

    Surgical Management of Endocarditis - The endocardium is the inner lining of the heart muscle, which also covers the heart valves. When the endocardium becomes damaged, bacteria from the blood stream can become lodged on the heart valves or heart lining. The resulting infection is known as endocarditis. Surgical cases of congestive heart failure, recurring emboli, infection that doesn’t respond to treatment, poorly functioning heart valves, and endocarditis involving prosthetic (artificial) valves. The most common surgical treatment involves cutting away (debriding) damaged tissue and replacing the damaged valve.

    Repair of Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm or Aortic Dissection - Aortic dissection is a rare, but potentially fatal, condition in which blood passes through the inner lining and between the layers of the aorta. The dissecting aorta usually does not burst, but has an abnormal second channel within it. In surgery, damaged sections of the aorta are removed and a synthetic graft is often used to reconstruct the damaged vessel.

    Repair of Adult Congenital Heart Lesions - Classification best describes lesions by the amount of pulmonary blood flow (increased or decreased pulmonary blood flow) or the presence of an obstruction to blood flow. Surgical procedures include arterial switch, Damus-Kaye-Stansel procedure, Fontan procedure, Ross procedure, shunt procedure, and venous switch or intra-atrial baffle.

    Management of Thoracic Trauma (Heart, Lungs, Aorta …) - Chest trauma (or thoracic trauma) is a serious injury of the chest. Thoracic trauma is a common cause of significant disability and mortality, the leading cause of death from physical trauma after head and spinal cord injury.

    Pacemaker & Defibrillator Placement -

    Pacemaker: A pacemaker is a surgically implanted electronic device that regulates a cardiac arrhythmia.

    Defribrillator: Defibrillation is a process in which an electrical device called a defibrillator sends an electric shock to the heart to stop an arrhythmia resulting in the return of a productive heart rhythm.

    Ischemic Heart Disease - Ischemic heart disease occurs when the heart is not sufficiently supplied with blood causing damage to the heart muscle. Subsequently the heart muscle functions ineffectively. The restriction of blood flow is initiated by the deposits of fat that build up within the coronary arteries which progressively results in the narrowing of the arteries.

    Multiple Arterial Bypasses - Sometimes several arteries are blocked, and several bypasses are needed. If, for example, there were blockages in all three coronary arteries and one branch, a person would get four bypasses. This is called quadruple bypass surgery. People who need several bypasses aren’t necessarily at higher risk than those who need just one. It is not the number of bypasses that dictates a patient’s risk. The risk is more dependent on the general condition of the patient, whether the patient has other conditions, such as kidney disease or diabetes, and the condition of the heart muscle itself. So if the patient’s condition is good, the number of bypasses may mean a longer surgery but not significantly greater risk.

    Redo Bypass Surgery - A redo by pass surgery is the same except that it is being done after one by-pass surgery has already been performed in the past. The difference is that a redo by-pass surgery is harder. Now there are lesser places to connect the artery — old grafts that you have used cannot be used again, one has to come up with new grafts. Performing a redo by-pass surgery requires far more skill. It is a more challenging and demanding surgery when it is a second time.

    Transmyocardial Laser Revascularization - This surgery uses a laser beam to improve blood flow to the heart. It is not common but may be done to reach areas of the heart where bypass grafting does not work as well.

    Frequently Asked Questions:

    How long will the heart surgery take?
    On average, Open Heart Surgery takes 4-5 hours, however, each person is an individual with unique and special needs which may require extra time.

    Where will my family wait?

    Your family will meet with the surgeon after your surgery is complete. The surgeon will look for your family in the Intensive Care Unit waiting room on the second floor of the hospital. This waiting room serves the families of both the Intensive Care Unit and the Cardiothoracic Intensive Care Unit.

    Where will I go after surgery?
    After your Open Heart Surgery, you will be taken from the Operating Room directly to our Cardiothoracic Intensive Care Unit where our specially trained Open Heart Team will take care of you. These individuals are specialized in the care of Open-Heart Surgery patients and will be with you through your most critical recovery.

    Can my family see me after my surgery?
    Your family will see you as soon as you have been assessed and settled into your room in the Cardiothoracic Intensive Care Unit. This is usually about an hour after your family has met with the surgeon. After their initial visit, the visiting hours are: 10:00 – 10:30 AM, 2:00 – 2:30 PM, 6:00 – 6:30 PM, 9:00 – 9:30 PM.
    (There are exceptions to these hours) Families are encouraged to call the Cardiothoracic Intensive Care Unit at any time to inquire about their loved ones.

    How long will I be in the Cardiothoracic Intensive Care Unit?
    Patients usually stay 1 – 2 days in the Cardiothoracic Intensive Care Unit.

    Where will I go after I leave the Cardiothoracic Intensive Care Unit?
    All patients who have Open Heart Surgery are transferred from the Cardiothoracic Intensive Care Unit to the Intermediate Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit on the 8th Floor. Patients stay on this specialty unit until they are discharged. The nursing staff work together with the rest of the healthcare team to prepare patients for their discharge.

    Will I have pain?
    The surgeons and staff are experts at pain relief. Of course, as with all surgery, there is some degree of pain, but the staff pride themselves in early recognition and control of postoperative pain.

    How long will I be in the hospital?
    Patients are usually discharged on the 5th postoperative day, depending on their overall health condition. At times, patients are discharged to a skilled nursing facility if they may require some additional time in order to be able to be on their own.