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Cardiothoracic Surgery

In general, heart surgery is needed when normal heart function is compromised by coronary artery disease, heart valve disease and heart defects. Mercyhealth’s board certified cardiothoracic surgeons are adept at a wide variety of procedures including:

Aneurysm surgery

Sometimes a heart attack leaves behind a bulging of the heart muscle, also known as an aneurysm, that reduces the heart’s strength and efficiency, and can cause pain, shortness of breath and/or an irregular heartbeat. This surgery restores normal heart function by removing or patching the bulge.


This procedure allows your doctor to look at your airway through a thin viewing instrument called a bronchoscope. During a bronchoscopy, your doctor will examine your throat, larynx, trachea and lower airways.

Coronary artery bypass surgery

Bypass surgery is needed when there is a severe blockage in one or more arteries that supply blood to the heart. To bypass these blocked arteries, the surgeon removes a blood vessel from another area of the patient’s body—often a leg vein—or reroutes an artery in the chest, and uses these to reroute the blood flow around the blocked artery. Bypass surgery often involves multiple bypasses of several blocked arteries.

Heart valve surgery

A damaged or diseased heart valve that either cannot open or shut properly makes the heart work harder to pump blood to the body, which can ultimately lead to heart failure. If the valve cannot be repaired, it must be replaced with artificial tissue or a mechanical valve. Either option relieves pressure on the heart muscle, in some cases immediately.

Lung surgery

Mercyhealth’s cardiothoracic surgeons perform a variety of surgical procedures on the lungs, including biopsies for asbestosis (asbestos-related disease), removal of infected portions of the lung, and cancer operations.

Lung volume reduction surgery

In certain cases of emphysema, when the lungs have over-expanded as much as possible and the breathing muscles of the patient no longer can mechanically move the lungs to properly breath, surgical procedures can reduce the volume of lung to be ventilated by reducing the amount of inefficient or useless lung. This leads to a better mechanical expansion to move air in and out of the lungs.

Off-pump coronary artery bypass

Unlike traditional bypass surgery, off-pump coronary bypass surgery (OPCAB) doesn’t require the patient to be put on a heart-lung machine. Instead, a special device stabilizes the heart and immobilizes the small area where the surgeon operates, allowing him to work on a beating heart. This less-invasive procedure generally means faster recovery, fewer side effects and a shorter hospital stay.

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