Cardiac Surgery

Our state ranks second-highest in the nation for deaths caused by heart disease, with more than 10,000 Oklahomans losing their lives every year to a disease that, in many cases, is preventable. The significance of this reality gives our team a purpose and a passion in the fight to not only save lives but be part of changing the statistics.

We are leading the way every day with innovative procedures and techniques – and helping pave the way to what’s next with the research and clinical trials that will uncover tomorrow’s cutting edge treatments.

Our surgeons specialize in:

Cardiac Valve Repair and Replacement

Damaged or improperly functioning heart valves can be repaired and/or replaced either through open-heart surgery or a variety of minimally invasive procedures. A heart valve that is not functioning properly will disrupt the flow of blood throughout the body and should be addressed before further damage is caused. Your surgeon will discuss with you the best treatment option based on your age, health, severity of the damage and the overall condition of your heart.

Your care team will make sure you have all information and knowledge necessary, but as a general guideline, here are a few things to be prepared for.

  • If you’re a smoker, there has never been a better time to quit. Not only is it better for your health in general, it will help decrease your chances of developing pulmonary complications such as pneumonia. It is ideal to be smoke-free for at least three weeks prior to surgery.

  • Discuss with your care team prior to surgery every medication you take so any necessary precautions can be taken 

  • If your doctor has given you breathing exercises, be sure to follow the recommended usage to help reduce the risk of complications after surgery.

  • The night before your surgery, organize clothing and any supplies you want to take with you.

  • Have a designated person as your primary contact and provide their information to your care team before surgery.

  • Be sure to eat a healthy diet prior to surgery to help give your body the nutrients it needs to recover well. However, do not eat or drink past midnight the night before surgery.

  • Be aware of your health leading up to surgery. If you develop a fever or cold prior to surgery, contact your doctor as soon as possible for an evaluation.

Coronary Bypass Surgery

Bypass surgery is a procedure in which your surgeon uses veins from your leg and arteries from your chest or arm to bypass narrowed or complete blockages in arteries of your heart, which are there as a result of atherosclerotic coronary artery disease. During the surgery, a more healthy section of vein or artery will be used to bypass the heavily diseased arteries of your heart, providing better blood flow to decrease your risk of heart attack.

Aortic Valve Surgery

Aortic valves are replaced either with mechanical or tissue valves when the native aortic valve is either stenotic (vary narrowed) or regurgitant (leaking). On occasion, the aorta around the aortic valve may be diseased as well, either due to enlargement such as aneurysm, or heavily diseased atherosclerosis. In this case, an aortic root replacement is done, which would replace not only the aortic valve but also the surrounding aorta.

There is also a technique for percutaneous valve replacement. This is a procedure called transaortic valve replacement (TAVR). In this procedure, a new aortic valve is placed typically from the patient’s groin artery and fed through the aorta up into the position in the middle of the heavily diseased aortic valve. It will then be deployed, pushing the old valve up against the wall and deploying a new tissue valve in its place. This procedure is done in many cases to where patients can have the procedure done and literally be awake, talking and taking liquids within an hour or two of the procedure, and often are discharged home within 48 hours of the procedure.

Arrhythmia Surgery

For patients with an irregular heartbeat, it may be necessary to undergo a surgical procedure to implant an electronic device. The most commonly used devices are: pacemakers, which help regulate slow or irregular heartbeats, and defibrillators, which use electronic signals to bring an increased heart rate back down to a normal level.

One of the most common surgical procedures done for arrhythmias is the Cox-MAZE IV procedure. This procedure is done for patients who have atrial fibrillation that is unresponsive to medical treatment. This surgical procedure is sometimes done as a stand-alone procedure, but more often is combined with either valve surgery or coronary bypass surgery in an effort to get patients back into normal sinus rhythm and off medications and anticoagulants, thereby decreasing their risk of stroke.

We also offer a hybrid type of arrhythmia surgery, which is done through small incisions, and a portion of the ablation for atrial fibrillation is done surgically through a small keyhole-type incision just below the breastbone. This procedure often takes about an hour, and patients will ultimately return for the electrophysiologist to do catheter-based ablations and more effectively treat atrial fibrillation and other atrial arrhythmias.

Complex Cardiac Surgery

In addition to very complex adult congenital heart surgery procedures that are done by our adult congenital heart surgeons, we also offer complex aortic root, ascending aortic arch and descending thoracic aortic surgery. These procedures are often performed in an effort to treat aneurysms of the aorta and use artificial materials, such as Dacron, to replace heavily diseased aortas.

We also repair aortas that become torn (aortic dissection) as a result of long-standing hypertension, atherosclerosis or even trauma.

thoracic-cardiovascular-machine-2

Patient Information

Our surgeons provide care at the following locations:

Cardiac
OU Physicians Building
Cardiology, Pulmonary & Vascular Medicine
825 NE 10th Street, 2E
Oklahoma City, OK 73104
405-271-4460

Thoracic
Stephenson Cancer Center
Multidisciplinary Clinic
800 NE 10th Street, Suite 4500
405-271-1632

​Vascular
OU Physicians Building
General Surgery
825 NE 10th Street, 4G
Oklahoma City, OK 73104
405-271-1400

 

Preparing for Surgery

As with most medical procedures, preparation in advance of your cardiovascular or thoracic surgery can help ease anxiety as well as make for a smoother recovery and experience overall. Your care team will make sure you have all information and knowledge necessary, but as a general guideline, here are a few things to be prepared for: 

  • The night before your surgery, organize clothing and any supplies you want to take with you.

  • Have a designated person as your primary contact and provide their information to your care team before surgery.

  • Be sure to eat a healthy diet prior to surgery to help give your body the nutrients it needs to recover well. However, do not eat or drink past midnight the night before surgery.

  • Be aware of your health leading up to surgery. If you develop a fever or cold prior to surgery, contact your doctor as soon as possible for an evaluation.