Patient Care & Services

Patient Care & Services

Cardiothoracic surgery encompasses the operative, perioperative and critical care of patients with pathologic conditions within the chest. It includes: surgical management of coronary artery disease, cancers of the lung, esophagus and chest wall, abnormalities of the great vessels and heart valves, congenital anomalies of the chest and heart; tumors of the mediastinum, diseases of the diaphragm and management of airway and injuries of the chest.

Physicians in the division are among the world’s leaders in performing the latest procedures and techniques and are always on the cutting-edge of technology, they also train other surgeons in the latest techniques.

Areas of Expertise

Assist Devices

Cardiothoracic surgeons are able to insert a variety of different devices, and are involved in clinical trials that implant assist devices instead of heart transplantation. The ultimate goal of the program is the total replacement of the heart with assist devices, or an artificial heart because there will never be enough heart donors for everyone who needs a heart transplant.

Atrial Fibrillation Surgery

Patients who develop atrial fibrillation must take long-term anticoagulants. Our surgeons are developing a variety of procedures that allow the patient to return to sinus rhythm. Some of these can be done without a heart/lung machine. This is of great importance for patients on long-term anticoagulants or those in atrial fibrillation who are scheduled to have concomitant valve surgery.

Beating Heart Coronary Artery Surgery

Our physicians are among the world’s leaders in coronary artery surgery without the use of a heart/lung machine. Perfected by our surgeons, this technique is the complete revascularization of the heart without a heart/lung machine. As a result, considerable risks and complications are decreased and the hospital stay is shortened. Patients can return to an active lifestyle soon after surgery. Depending on the needs of the patient, a variety of approaches can be considered, such as left thoracotomy, subxiphoid approach, and others. Beating heart coronary artery surgery is particularly suitable for redo operations, high risk patients, the elderly and patients with other systemic diseases.

Beating Heart Valve Surgery

This novel approach for valvular surgery is a major advance and is used extensively at our Medical Center. Valve and other complex procedures with the heart beating and the lungs ventilated and perfused. This avoids the deleterious effects of ischemia of the heart and the lungs, minimizing complications. When combined valve and coronary artery bypasses are needed, the bypasses are done off pump, followed by the valve replacement. This is beneficial to the patient because it decreases the amount of time on the heart/lung machine. Our team initially developed Warm Heart Surgery, a technique in which the patient and the heart are not cooled.

Bloodless Surgery

Most cardiothoracic procedures can be performed safely with little or no blood transfusions. We are also the center for bloodless surgery, offering patients, and in particular, Jehovah Witness patients, complex cardiothoracic surgery without blood.


Our Faculty introduced the Batista Operation to North America. Our team uses this as well as other procedures for end-stage heart disease with operations ranging from remodeling to replacement, included are the Batista operation, the D’Orr operation, left ventricular aneurysm repair, and others. This is a very large program that also includes heart and lung transplantation.

Extensive Renal Tumors

Together with Dr. Gaetano Ciancio and Dr. Livingstone, the cardiac surgeons have participated in these rather complex procedures, which require a combined approached of urologic, oncologic and cardiothoracic surgeon to treat these tumors. This program is a top program in this country, offering procedures who are otherwise declared inoperable in other center. We serve as a referral center for the Region.

Major Aortic Surgery

All cardiothoracic surgeons perform all types of complex aortic procedures, such as repair of aortic dissection, aneurysms of the ascending and descending aorta, traumatic injuries and others.

Minimally invasive Valve Surgery

Traditionally, cardiac surgery requires exposure of the heart through dividing the breastbone (median sternotomy) and use of the heart lung machine (cardiopulmonary bypass). A minimally invasive approach allows access to the heart without the use of the large breastbone incision and may not require the use of the cardiopulmonary bypass. Instead of having a 2-month recovery in most cases within 3 weeks the patient is back to their normal routine.

Pediatric Cardiac Surgery

Pediatric cardiac surgeons at the Children’s Heart Center perform the entire spectrum of cardiac surgical procedures in neonates, infants, children, and adults with congenital heart defects, including cardiac transplantation.

Percutaneous aortic valve procedures

Our cardiothoracic surgeons are involved with our cardiologist colleagues in clinical trials for the two percutaneous aortic valves available at this time, namely the Sapien valve from Edwards, and the Core Valve for Medtronic. This allows treatment of very ill patients, in need of aortic valve replacement, to receive the procedure via a catheter, without the need for the heart lung machine. This is safer, shortens the hospital stay, is more comfortable for the patient, with immediate improvement in symptoms.

Thoracic Surgery

Cardiothoracic surgeons are experts in the modern treatment of a variety of diseases of the lung, such as cancer of the lung, and other diseases of the chest.

Valve Surgery

The Cardiothoracic surgeons perform a variety of innovative procedures on valves, including repair, annuloplasty, replacement, complex reconstructions, homografts, autografts and others. These can be performed via the minimally invasive approach, minimizing pain and shortening the recovery period. Mitral valve reconstructions are routinely performed with excellent outcomes.