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Cardiac Surgery

Automatic Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillator (ICD)

Internal Cardiac Defibrillators (ICDs) -- An automatic ICD is a device that monitors a person's heart rate. It can be used to monitor and treat tachycardia (when the heart beats too fast), brachycardia (when the heart beats too slowly). They do also act as pacemakers to treat rhythms that are too slow also if needed

The device is programmed to either speed up or slow down the heart, depending on the patient's heart rate. The automatic ICD gives the heart a shock if the patient starts having life-threatening arrhythmias (abnormal heart beat) or an abnormally high heart rate.

There are different kinds of automatic ICD systems, but they all have two parts -- electrodes (thin, flexible wires) and a generator. The electrodes, or leads, monitor or sense the heart's electrical activity. The generator is the battery power source. It is a small metal can about 1/2 the size of a deck of cards.

The generator stores information about any arrhythmias the patient may have, and tracks how often a shock is needed.

About the procedure: Typical surgical implantation of an automatic ICD system is done with moderate to deep sedation. The surgery usually takes between 1 and two hours.

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Cardiac Surgery

Our cardiac surgery program offers a broad range of cardiac surgical options which may include:

  • Open heart (coronary artery bypass, or CABG) surgery is performed in order to reroute, or "bypass," blood around blocked arteries, thereby improving the supply of oxygen-rich blood to the heart. Surgeons usually use an artery from the chest wall to construct the "detour" around the blocked part of the artery. Veins from the legs are also used.
  • Off-pump bypass surgery is possible for some open heart surgery patients. While standard open heart surgery requires the use of a mechanical heart-lung machine during the procedure, this reduces the risk of some complications and shortens recovery time.
  • Valve repair or replacement is performed when a heart valve is leaking, or when the opening is too small to allow sufficient blood to flow. Surgeons try first to repair a valve. When replacement is necessary, either a mechanical (artificial) or biological (human or animal) valve is used.
  • Repair of structural heart defects are performed to correct defects in the structures of the heart that are the result of a congenital birth defect or acquired as a result of other cardiac diseases.
  • Cardiac trauma surgery is performed when the heart is damaged or involved in a traumatic injury.


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Carotid Endarterectomy

Every year, more than 300,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with blockages, or plaques, in their carotid artery. If left untreated, these blockages can slow or even stop blood flow to the brain, causing a potentially disabling stroke, also known as a "brain attack."

Carotid Endarterectomy(CEA) - a carotid endarterectomy is a surgical procedure to open or clean the carotid artery with the goal of stroke prevention. Endarterectomy involves physically removing plaque from inside the carotid artery. A surgeon makes an incision in the neck to expose the artery, clamps the artery, then opens it lengthwise in the region of the narrowing. After scraping the fatty plaque out of the artery, the surgeon enlarges the artery with a diamond-shaped patch, stitches the artery together, then closes the skin of the neck.

Cardiac Clinical Trials - Some hospitals are participating in cardiac clinical trials of new procedures that also help unblock the carotid artery.

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Sometimes patients with abnormally slow heart rhythms, or congestive heart failure require the use of a pacemaker. This device helps to coordinate the pumping action of the heart by sending electrical signals, allowing the heart to pump more effectively.

Pacemakers may also be used to stop the heart from triggering impulses or from sending extra impulses. These are called cardioverter defibillators.

A pacemaker is a small, implantable device. It is made up of two parts -- a pulse generator, which includes the battery and several electronic circuits, and leads, which are wires that are attached to the heart wall. Depending on the type of pacemaker to be used, there may be one, two or three leads.

About the procedure: Most pacemaker surgery is done under anesthesia. The patient is typically asleep during the procedure, which usually takes between one and three hours.

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