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Heart Surgery

da Vinci Surgical SystemOpen heart surgery is generally the most effective way to treat these cardiovascular disorders. But traditional open surgery has a number of drawbacks caused primarily by sternotomies, or the splitting of the breastbone and spreading of the ribs to access the chest cavity. In addition to an 8 to 10” scar down the center of the chest, a sternotomy leads to long recovery times.

With minimally invasive techniques, small incisions can be made between the ribs to perform coronary bypass or make repairs to the heart or esophagus by using thoracoscopy – the insertion of a miniaturized video camera between the ribs. But this approach has limitations and is not often appropriate for more complex cardiac procedures.

UofL Health offers multiple minimally invasive options for more advanced cardiothoracic procedures including, but not limited to, the da Vinci® Surgical System, the Stereotaxis GentleTouch™ Magnetic System and Transcatheter Aortic-Valve Replacement. These procedures access the heart through small incisions and avoid opening the chest cavity.

da Vinci Surgical System

The da Vinci Surgical System provides surgeons and patients with what may be the most effective, least invasive treatment option for even the most complex cardiac surgeries. The potential benefits include reduced risk of infection, less blood loss and need for blood transfusions, a shorter hospital stay, less pain and scarring and a faster recovery and return to normal activities.

Stereotaxis GentleTouch System

UofL Hospital - Jewish  is also the only facility in Louisville offering groundbreaking cardiovascular procedures with the Stereotaxis GentleTouch System.

The Stereotaxis GentleTouch System allows doctors the ability to view the inside of the heart, both anatomically and electrically, through computerized catheter-based interventional procedures.

Treating complex cardiovascular procedures requires very precise digital reconstructions, or maps, of the heart. In order to create these maps, the tip of a catheter has to be accurately guided to more than a hundred different locations in a heart chamber.

Stiff manual catheters can “tent” or distort the wall of the heart. In the worst cases, excessive force from the catheter can puncture or perforate the heart wall, a potentially lethal complication. The soft touch of Stereotaxis’ GentleTouch catheters can reconstruct cardiac anatomy precisely without distorting the shape of the heart wall.

Physicians can perform these Stereotaxis image-guided heart procedures with precise remote instrument control, combining robotics and a 3-D mapping system to correct heart conditions more effectively. 

The Stereotaxis technology provides shorter procedure times, less exposure to X-ray radiation, a reduction in contrast dyes injected into blood vessels and the reduced likelihood of referral to heart surgery.

Transcatheter Aortic-Valve Replacement

The transcatheter aortic-valve replacement (TAVR) procedure is a treatment option for some individuals with severe aortic stenosis (also known as narrowing of the aortic valve in the heart).  Most patients will avoid any surgery in their chest. UofL Hospital - Jewish is the first facility in Kentucky to offer this procedure.

During the TAVR procedure, a cardiologist and a cardiothoracic surgeon  work together to implant the new heart valve, called the Edwards SAPIEN valve, which is made from cow tissue and developed by Edwards Lifesciences. The valve is inserted into the body through a small cut in the leg. Once delivered to the site of the patient's diseased valve, the Edwards SAPIEN valve is expanded with a balloon and immediately functions in place of the patient's valve.

The procedure allows for valve replacement without traditional open-heart surgery and while the heart is beating, therefore avoiding cardiopulmonary bypass.  It is the only valve replacement option for patients with severe aortic stenosis who are not well enough to undergo traditional open-heart surgery. 

Not everyone is a candidate for minimally invasive procedures, so please check with your doctor. To see if you are eligible for minimally invasive cardiovascular procedures, please call 1.800.333.2230.