Treatment

Surgery
If your cardiologist recommends surgery to treat your heart condition, you can trust the experienced cardiovascular surgeons at St. Vincent Healthcare. In addition to sitting down and getting to know you, answering your questions and providing information, our surgeons will also meet with your physician to review your medical history, lifestyle and activity goals. This assures you are comfortable in every respect throughout the process and optimizes opportunities for a positive outcome.

You will also work with an exceptional team of nurses, therapists and other specialists who have the extensive training and experience you want when it comes to your medical care. In addition, you will have the services of a Cardiovascular Care Coordinator who will be there for you throughout the process, from your pre-op appointments to after you return home.

The goal of any cardiac surgical procedure is to allow oxygen-rich blood to flow properly into the heart muscle and to allow the heart to work as efficiently and effectively as possible. Two of the most common cardiac procedures are a Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (CABG) and valve repair or replacement.

Using a healthy artery or vein from your body, CABG surgery creates new routes around arteries which have become narrowed or blocked due to a buildup of plaque. If left unchecked, this buildup can lead to a blockage of the artery, reducing the blood going into your heart and ultimately causing angina, a heart attack and even death. CABG improves blood flow to the heart and may help prevent heart attack and heart failure.

The valves of your heart may become defective due to a number of reasons, including congenital defects, changes that come with aging, and certain infections, disorders and diseases. Damaged valves allow blood to flow improperly through the heart; as such, a valve repair or replacement is important to reduce long-term damage and improve quality of life.

Diagnosis
Before considering surgery, your cardiologist will likely recommend that you undergo a physical examination and testing to determine the underlying cause of your symptoms. This may include non-invasive testing such as an EKG, Echocardiogram and/or chest x-rays. A cardiac catheterization may also be ordered to allow physicians to obtain a closer view of the lining of your coronary arteries.

For the convenience of our patients, all testing may be completed in our outpatient departments.

Your treatment plan will be created based on your diagnosis, medical history and activity goals. Working closely with you, your cardiologist may suggest treating your condition by utilizing medication or through lifestyle changes. If surgery is an option, he or she will provide all the information you need to make the right choice for you.

To learn more about heart surgery at St. Vincent Healthcare, visit Heart Surgery FAQs.