Heart and Vascular Institute – Cardiac Surgery
Depending on your condition, your options may include surgery, lifestyle changes or medication. The Penn State Heart and Vascular Institute brings together the care and services you need to heal and manage your condition so you can live your best life.
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Our cardiac surgeons are at the top of their field and work with the rest of our heart and vascular team to offer a full range of surgical options for treating cardiovascular disease. Types of cardiac surgery we offer include:
- Arrhythmia surgery
- Coronary artery bypass (CABG) surgery
- Heart valve repairs and replacements
- Reoperative cardiac surgery
- Surgical treatment of adult congenital heart disease
- Thoracic aortic surgery
- Surgical therapy for heart failure
Heart and Vascular Institute cardiac surgeons perform a variety of surgical procedures to treat heart rhythm disorders, including:
- Ventricular tachycardia, a rapid heartbeat that starts in the heart’s lower chambers
- Supraventricular tachycardia, a rapid heartbeat that starts in the upper part of the heart
- Atrial fibrillation, also called flutter, a rapid and irregular heartbeat that can increase risk for stroke. It’s often treated with the MAZE procedure, a surgery that creates scar tissue to block the signals causing irregular heartbeat. The surgery can be open or minimally invasive, depending on your condition and needs.
CABG is commonly called a bypass. This surgery is used when blood flow to the heart is blocked because arteries are clogged with a fatty substance called plaque. The surgeon takes a healthy piece of vein from the leg or artery from the chest or wrist. Then the surgeon attaches it to the coronary artery, just above or the below blocked area. This allows blood to go around the blockage. Our experienced surgeons offer multiple approaches to this surgery including:
- On pump
- Off pump
- Arterial conduits
- Endoscopic harvesting of saphenous veins and radial artery conduits
Heart valves control blood flow through the blood vessels. When a heart valve is diseased or damaged, it can block blood flow or cause leakage. The cardiothoracic team works with you to find the best solution for you. Our surgeons are skilled in heart valve repair and replacement procedures, including the:
- Open, standard technique, often used when a valve repair or replacement is performed along with bypass surgery.
- Minimally invasive technique, which does not require cutting open the chest. This option can offer a shorter hospital stay, quicker recovery, less pain and a smaller incision.
- Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), using a flexible tube called a catheter to place the new valve inside of the existing valve. This option is for those who have aortic stenosis (narrowing of the aorta) and who are high risk for open surgery. Our surgeons, interventional cardiologists, imaging cardiologist and a nurse coordinator will work together to decide whether you need this procedure. (link back to TAVR section of structural heart content)
If you’ve already had cardiac surgery, another one can bring new risks and challenges. Our team has the experience and knowledge to face these challenges, reduce risks and help you heal properly.
Cardiac surgeons work closely with cardiologists in the care and treatment of adults who are living with congenital heart disease. Adult congenital heart conditions that are typically treated surgically include:
- Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, thickening of the heart muscle. Surgery to remove part of the muscle is called myectomy.
- Atrial septal defect, a problem with the wall between the heart’s upper chamber and left and right atrium. Repair can often be minimally invasive, but open surgery may be needed.
Aneurysms (bulges), valve problems and other complex aortic conditions can be repaired through thoracic (chest) aortic surgery, such as:
- Aortic root replacement, replacing a section of the aorta and the valve
- Aortic arch replacement, replacing the bent section that connects the ascending and descending aorta
- Valve-sparing aortic root replacement, removing a section of the aorta and reconnecting the rest of it to the valve
- Descending aortic repairs, to treat problems in the part of the aorta that goes down toward your lower body
Our heart failure team is skilled and experienced in surgical options for end-stage heart failure, including:
- Heart transplantation. Our heart transplant team is skilled and respected, and Penn State offers services to help you and your family cope with the challenges of the surgery and life after transplant.
- Left ventricular assist devices (LVADs) as destination therapy (long-term treatment), as well as bridge-to-transplant. Devices available for implant include:
- Thoratec® HeartMate II®
- Thoratec® HeartMate 3™
- Syncardia Total Artificial Heart