The vascular experts at Cavanagh Heart Center specialize in treating aortic conditions to make sure people can live healthy, active lives.
Cavanagh Heart Center is located at Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center, ranked one of America’s Best Hospitals for “Heart & Heart Surgery” by U.S. News & World Report.
Why would someone need aortic surgery?
The aorta is the largest artery in the body and when it is damaged, the amount of blood flow is reduced.
The board-certified, fellowship-trained physicians at Cavanagh Heart Center provide the most up-to-date treatments for all aortic conditions, including abdominal aortic aneurysm and thoracic aortic aneurysm. Some of the main reasons for surgery include:
- Atherosclerosis - A thickening of the aortic wall as a result of cholesterol buildup after years of hypertension and high cholesterol.
- Aortic coarctation - A genetic condition that causes the aorta to narrow where it connects to the ductus arteriosus, an area that connects the pulmonary artery to the aorta.
- Ehlers-Danlos syndrome - A genetic condition that affects the body’s connective tissues particularly in terms of elasticity. This makes the arteries more prone to tearing and rupture.
- Marfan syndrome - A genetic disorder that affects the body’s connective tissue thereby altering how a person’s body grows and develops. It can cause complications with the aorta most often resulting in an aortic aneurysm.
- Traumatic aortic injury - Occurs when the aorta is torn or ruptured during a traumatic event such as a car accident or blunt trauma to the chest.
What are the different kinds of aortic surgery?
Depending on the condition that needs treatment, there are a variety of surgical techniques used by the Cavanagh Heart Center vascular surgeons to save lives.
Aortic dissection repair - This surgery is performed when a patient has a tear in the wall of the aorta, typically in an emergency situation. Once a tear occurs, if it is not repaired quickly, the person looses blood rapidly. During this procedure, the surgeon repairs the torn portion of the aorta to stop the bleeding, using grafts and/or replacing the aortic valve depending on the tear's location and severity. The patient will stay in the hospital for several days following surgery with at least one to two of those days spent in the Intensive Care unit.
Minimally invasive valve surgery - Cavanagh Heart Center surgeons can perform minimally invasive valve surgery to replace or repair the aortic valve in a patient’s heart. This can be used to treat conditions such as aortic stenosis but is typically not used in traumatic or emergency surgeries. The surgeon makes a two-inch to three-inch long incision in the patient’s chest to reach the damaged valve and then repairs the valve or replaces it with a new one using endoscopic techniques, so the patient's breastbone does not have to be cut nor does the patient have to be on the heart-lung bypass machine. Patients will stay in the hospital for three to seven days with a few hours in the Intensive Care Unit immediately following surgery.
Open aortic valve surgery - This is typically done with an open-heart surgery. The surgeon makes a large incision in the breastbone to reach the patient’s heart. Usually the patient is put on the heart-lung bypass machine while the surgeon either repairs the valve or replaces it with a new one. When everything is working well, the patient is removed from the heart-lung machine and sewn back up. They can expect to stay in the hospital for five to seven days with at least one to two of those days spent in the Intensive Care unit.
For More Vascular Information
Ask our concierge, (602) 839-2400