An ablation procedure is performed to eliminate abnormal electrical pathways in the heart. These abnormal pathways can cause rhythm disorders. An ablation can be done in operating room or in the cardiac catheterization laboratory. If the procedure is performed in the OR, it is called a Maze or Mini-Maze. When the procedure is done in the cath lab, it is called a “trans-catheter ablation.”
An aneurysm occurs when the wall of a blood vessel becomes weak and stretches out of normal shape. The resulting bulge is called an aneurysm. Aneurysms can be genetic (present at birth) or may develop as a result of vessel disease, such as Coronary Artery Disease. Surgical repair of an aneurysm may involve a bypass graft or the placement of a stent, depending upon the individual patient.
A procedure that may be done during cardiac catheterization to open a partially blocked coronary artery. Once the catheter reaches the narrowed portion of the artery, a cutting device, a whirling blade (such as a rotoblade), or a laser beam is used to remove the plaque.
This procedure involves guiding a catheter, which is a thin, hollow, flexible plastic tube, into the coronary arteries through a small incision in the groin or arm. The cardiologist can visualize the arteries and heart using X-rays to determine if there is heart or valve disease or blockages in the coronary arteries. If appropriate, the cardiologist can treat these blockages using angioplasty. Sometimes, stents are placed to hold the artery open after the blockage is cleared.
This is a surgical procedure in which plaque buildup is removed from the carotid arteries (the main vessels supplying blood to the brain). A carotid endarterectomy may be performed if you have recently suffered a mini-stroke (transient ischemic attack) or other signs and symptoms of blocked carotid arteries.
Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (CABG)
This is one of the most common surgeries performed in the U.S. to treat heart disease. Traditional bypass surgery involves stopping the heart, clamping the aorta and connecting the patient to a heart-lung machine. This creates a bloodless, motionless heart on which the surgeon attaches bypass grafts (arteries or veins taken from the chest or legs) to reroute blood flow around a blocked artery. However, a newer bypass surgery, called “beating heart” or off-pump bypass, is performed while the heart is still beating, and the patient is not attached to a heart-lung machine. The surgeon stabilizes the portion of the heart that is being worked on, while the remainder of the heart continues to beat. Kentucky Heart Institute surgeons were the first to perform this surgery in the region.
Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator
The ICD is an electronic device that is bigger than a pacemaker, about the size of a beeper. The ICD performs several functions: it monitors heart rhythm continuously; it paces the heart when it’s too slow; it can deliver rapid electrical pulses to stop an arrhythmia, or it can deliver a shock to a heart that has suddenly stopped.
The Maze Procedure is used to treat individuals suffering from atrial fibrillation. During the procedure, surgeons burn or freeze lines on the heart surface to block abnormal electrical pathways that cause the rhythm disorder. The procedure may be performed in conjunction with bypass or valve surgeries. When performed alone, a minimally invasive technique with small incisions may be used. This is frequently referred to as a mini-maze.
A pacemaker is a small electronic device that is used to control the heart rate when the heart is unable to beat fast enough to meet the needs of the body. There are several types of pacemakers. These are typically implanted in the cardiac catheterization lab, but may also be implanted as part of a heart surgery, depending upon the needs of the patient.
Usually done along with angioplasty, stents are small wire tubes that are inserted into the artery to hold it open once a blockage has been cleared. Reclosure of the artery is less likely to occur after angioplasty followed by stenting than after angioplasty alone. New drug-coated stents release medicines inside the artery that reduce inflammation and tissue growth so there’s less chance of reblockage.
This operation may be needed when the valves of the heart do not close properly, causing blood to leak backward. Surgeons can repair a valve, or, when necessary, replace a valve with mechanical or tissue substitute. New minimally invasive approaches to valve repair and replacement are being performed today by the surgeons of Cardiothoracic Surgeons of Kentucky.