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Cardiothoracic Surgery Services: Conditions & Treatments

Our UC Irvine Health cardiothoracic surgery team is dedicated to delivering the most advanced and compassionate care to our patients.

We work closely with our patients and their families to educate them about what to expect during diagnosis, treatment and possible surgery and to carefully address their concerns.

Conditions

Our cardiothoracic surgeons treat the following conditions:
  • Coronary artery disease (artery blockage)
  • Valvular insufficiency (leaking or regurgitation)
  • Valvular stenosis (blocked or narrowed valves)
  • Congestive heart failure (ineffective heart muscle)
  • Myocardial infarction (heart attack)
  • Left ventricular aneurysm (stretched heart muscle)
  • Thoracic aortic aneurysm (stretched aorta in chest)
  • Thoracoabdominal aortic aneurysm
  • Aortic dissection (bleeding in the aorta walls)
  • Aorta transaction (a rupture through nearly all aorta layers from trauma, collisions or falls)
  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Lung cancer
  • Mediastinal tumors
  • Tracheobronchial cancer
  • Tracheal stenosis
  • Esophageal cancer and benign conditions of the esophagus

Treatments

We offer the full range of cardiothoracic treatments, including:

  • Coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG)

In this procedure, arteries or veins from elsewhere in the body are grafted to the coronary arteries to relieve angina and reduce the risk of death from coronary artery disease. The grafts bypass narrowed or blocked passages of the arteries to improve blood supply to the heart muscle.

This procedure can be lifesaving in patients who are not good candidates for percutaneous catheter techniques (angioplasty and coronary stenting) or continued medical therapy. Our cardiothoracic surgeons may also perform minimally invasive and “off pump” (no heart-lung bypass machine) procedures. We adhere to the principles published in the “Appropriateness Criteria for Revascularization” by the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association.

  • Mitral and aortic valve repair and replacement

UC Irvine Health cardiothoracic surgeons are highly skilled at repairing blocked or leaking heart valves. Our first choice is always to preserve native valve, but when a patient’s heart valve is too badly damaged, we use mechanical or tissue prostheses (including the implantation of human donor tissue).

Our surgeons are skilled at minimally invasive valve repair techniques that involve two- to three-inch incisions rather than a major chest incision. For patients, such minimally invasive approaches offer reduced risk of infection, faster recovery times and less blood loss.

Nationally, studies have shown that only 50 percent of potentially repairable mitral valves are repaired instead of replaced. At UC Irvine Health, we achieve successful mitral valve repairs in close to 100% of patients who are appropriate candidates.

  • Left ventricle restoration (Dor procedure)

Our cardiothoracic surgeons can treat heart attacks, congestive heart failure and certain types of aneurysms by reshaping the left ventricle in a procedure named for its creator, Dr. Vincent Dor. It involves removing scarred, dead tissue in this chamber of the heart muscle, improving its ability to pump blood out to the body. This is often done in conjunction with coronary bypass surgery and/or valve repair.

  • Surgical treatment of aortic aneurysms and dissections

The walls of the aorta, the body’s largest blood vessel, can weaken and develop an aneurysm (a dilatation or pouching), which can rupture or lead to a separation—also called a dissection—of the vessel walls. Either can be a life-threatening emergency.

When an aneurysm or dissection is detected in a chest X-ray, an echocardiogram or computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, surgeons repair the damaged section with a graft (also called a stent) of special woven material. At UC Irvine Health, many of these procedures can be performed using endovascular techniques without surgical incisions.

  • Cardiac Support Devices

Our surgeons sometimes install external devices that can help maintain blood circulation either before or after surgery. The TandemHeart implantable pump also can be used in patients undergoing high-risk percutaneous coronary interventions (angioplasty or coronary stent). This small, semi-portable device can be placed in an artery through the groin or at the time of open heart surgery.

Such implantable devices are in various stages of development and trials, but they are shown to offer temporary support of heart function and are often life-saving.

  • Lung and esophageal resection

Both the esophagus and lungs can be affected by either benign or malignant diseases, necessitating surgical removal of the damaged tissue. Many of these procedures can be performed with small incisions that are less painful and can speed recovery time.

  • Radiofrequency ablation for atrial fibrillation 

Atrial fibrillation is a common but abnormal heart rhythm that can lead to rapid, irregular heartbeats. These heartbeats can cause discomfort, dizziness and shortness of breath. Left untreated, patients are at greatly increased risk for stroke.

While some patients can be treated with medications or catheter procedures, others are resistant to these interventions. UC Irvine Health cardiothoracic surgeons perform minimally invasive surgery with small incisions to direct radiofrequency waves (modified electrical energy) on the surface of the heart, creating precise scar lines to block the erratic electrical impulses causing the irregular heartbeat.

  • Evaluation and treatment of mediastinal tumors

Mediastinal tumors are abnormal tissue growths in the chest cavity between the lungs. These tumors can be benign or malignant (cancer) and they occur across all age groups. Surgical treatment may include thoracotomy, a procedure performed through an incision in the chest, as well as with minimally invasive approaches, including thoracoscopy and mediastinoscopy.

For more information or to schedule a consultation, please contact us at 714-456-3634.

Make an Appointment

714-456-3634