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Cardiothoracic Surgery

Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting (CABG)

Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting is a type of heart surgery. It's sometimes called CABG ("cabbage"). The surgery reroutes, or "bypasses," blood around clogged arteries to improve blood flow and oxygen to the heart. Surgeons take a segment of a healthy blood vessel from another part of the body and make a detour around the blocked part of the coronary artery.

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Heart Valve Surgery

Operations to replace poorly functioning heart valves are common procedures. They're done to improve the health and vigor of people with heart valve diseases. The surgeon who'll perform the operation is the best person to talk to about specific questions or concerns. He or she can best explain the details of the surgical procedure and recovery period. A replacement valve may be taken from another human heart (cadaver valve) or pig (porcine valve) or it can be a mechanical one.

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MAZE Procedures

The MAZE Procedure is performed by cardiothoracic surgeons on the left and right atrium for the treatment of atrial fibrillation, an abnormality of the electrical system of the heart. Normally, the heartbeat is triggered by an electrical impulse that starts in the Sinoatrial (SA) node. This structure resides in the right atrium and is the normal "pacemaker" of the heart. The electrical signal to contract starts in the SA node and normally moves evenly across the atrium, triggering it to contract all at once. The impulse then travels across the atrioventricular (AV) node and triggers the ventricles (the main pumping chambers of the heart) to contract. This is called sinus rhythm. Atrial fibrillation occurs when this electrical impulse no longer travels from SA node to the AV node in the normal manner. Instead of the impulse traveling evenly across the atrium straight from the SA node to the AV node, the impulse is "side-tracked" such that the atrium is no longer triggered evenly and in synchrony, but is triggered one small region at a time. The atrium no longer contracts in a coordinated manner, but instead it fibrillates irregularly. The electrical signal to ventricle through the AV node is therefore irregular and hence the heartbeat is irregular. There are also minimally invasive surgical procedures, called minimize.

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Transmyocardial Revascularization (TMR)

Transmyocardial revascularization or TMR is a procedure used to relieve severe angina or chest pain in very ill patients who aren't candidates for bypass surgery or angioplasty. In this procedure, a surgeon makes an incision on the left breast to expose the heart. Then, using a laser, the surgeon drills a series of holes from the outside of the heart into the heart's pumping chamber. From 20 to 40 mm laser channels are placed during the procedure. Bleeding from the laser channels on the outside of the heart stops after a few minutes of pressure from the surgeon's finger.

In some patients TMR is combined with bypass surgery. In those cases an incision through the breastbone is used.

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Thoracic Surgery

Thoracic surgery is any surgery performed in the chest (thorax). The purpose of thoracic surgery is to treat diseased or injured organs in the thorax, including the esophagus (muscular tube that passes food to the stomach), trachea (windpipe that branches to form the right bronchus and the left bronchus), pleura (membranes that cover and protect the lung), mediastinum (area separating the left and right lungs), chest wall, diaphragm, heart, and lungs.