What services do we provide?
Thoracic surgery focuses on treatment for diseases of the chest (thorax), including coronary artery disease and heart valve and vessel abnormalities. Cardiac and thoracic surgery specialists diagnose and treat a variety of conditions. Common procedures include:
- Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery
- Heart Valve Replacement & Repair
- Thoracic Surgery
- Mitral Valve Surgery
Contact the Mercy Heart and Vascular Institute: 641-494-5300
Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery
Coronary artery bypass surgery is performed on over half a million Americans each year to circumvent atherosclerotic (fat- and cholesterol clogged) arteries that are failing to supply the heart with sufficient oxygen and nutrients. When blocked arteries reduce or cut off blood supply to the heart, a condition known as ischemic heart disease, or coronary artery disease (CAD), develops and can result in chest pain or a heart attack. Bypass surgery creates a new route around the blocked vessel or vessels to maintain the proper flow of blood and prevent these problems.
Risks and complications of bypass surgery include reactions to anesthesia, post-pericardiotomy syndrome involving treatable fever and chest pain (30% of surgeries), heart attack (5%), stroke (5%), blood clots, infection (1-4%) and death (1-2%). Normal post-surgical discomfort may take the form of itching, soreness, numbness, bruising, swelling, memory loss and bleeding.
Heart Valve Replacement & Repair
Close to one million heart valve operations are performed in the United States each year and nearly all of these operations are done to repair or replace heart valves. The success rate of heart valve replacement/repair is very high and advances in surgical treatment of diseased heart valves can pinpoint with great accuracy the location, type and extent of valve disease.
What is heart valve replacement/repair?
Valve repair can be done by using a ring to support a person’s diseased valve, using tissue patches to cover holes or tears in the valve, or removing calcium buildup from the valve. An artificial valve may be mechanical or biological. Sometimes a patient’s own tissue can be used for heart valve replacement.
The average time required for heart valve surgery is four hours. Your heart valve surgery will be performed by a specialized team. In traditional heart valve replacement/repair surgery, the patient’s vital functions will be fully supported by a cardiopulmonary bypass pump (or a “heart-lung machine”), which takes over the function of the heart and lungs, blood circulation and oxygen content of the body.
You can expect to stay in the hospital for about a week, including at least 1 to 3 days in the Intensive Care Unit (lCU) to monitor your heart, blood pressure, respiration and other bodily functions. Necessary medication will be prescribed by your physician and post-operative care, including incision care, nutrition, exercise, and diet, will be discussed at length. It is important that patients take an active role in educating themselves about the limitations, if any, that heart valve replacement/repair will place on their unique lives.
Thoracic surgery is the surgical treatment for diseases of the chest (thorax), including coronary artery disease; cancers of the lung, esophagus and chest wall; heart valve and vessel abnormalities; birth defects; tumors and transplants. It can cure diseases, minimize symptoms or reconstruct injured or traumatized organs.
Types of Surgery
Thoracic surgery includes all surgeries of the chest, including the heart, lungs, esophagus and chest wall. Some of the most common procedures and treatments are:
- Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery (CABG)
- Pulmonary Embolism
- Heart Valve Replacement
- Lung Cancer
- Aortic Aneurysm
- Esophageal Cancer
Candidates for Thoracic Surgery
While the need for thoracic surgery greatly varies, there are several important qualifications required to undergo this major surgery. In cases of an emergency, thoracic surgery can be performed without the following screening. Patients with blood-clotting problems may not be good candidates.
After Thoracic Surgery
Thoracic surgery is a major surgical procedure with many side effects and a long recovery period. Post-surgical care is extremely important for the success and completion of the procedure. A normal recovery allows patients to return to light work after 6 to 12 weeks. A cardiac rehabilitation program is utilized in order to help patients return to their daily activities.
Mitral Valve Surgery
Mitral valve surgery is an open heart procedure used to correct defects of the mitral valve, the opening between the upper and lower left chambers of the heart that lets blood flow through and keeps it from leaking back into the lungs. The valve opens and closes with the help of two flaps, or leaflets.
Mitral valve surgery aims to either repair or replace the damaged valve, depending on the severity of the condition. Repair is preferred over replacement because it offers longer-lasting results, lower risk of complications, maintains a higher level of functioning and eliminates the need for lifelong blood thinning medication. Both surgeries are open heart procedures that require a large incision in the chest to reach the heart. Minimally invasive techniques are available, but not recommended for all patients. These procedures require a hospital stay and a full recovery time of several weeks.
Board-certified in both General Surgery and Thoracic/Cardiovascular Surgery, our specialist has over 25 years of experience and extensive medical training, providing patients at Mason City Clinic with state-of-the-art care for their comprehensive surgical needs. He completed a fellowship in Cardiac Surgery at the prestigious Cleveland Clinic Foundation and has held several leadership positions within MCC’s Mercy Heart Center and in the Iowa Society of Thoracic Surgeons. He delivers compassionate, patient-centered care and convenience right here in Mason City.
To learn more about our Cardiac and Thoracic Services, please call 641-494-5300 today to schedule an appointment. Our cardiac and thoracic surgery patients come to us from New Hampton, Charles City, Mason City, Algona and Iowa Falls.