Cardiothoracic surgery is a term used to describe procedures performed on organs inside the chest (thorax). These organs include the heart, lungs, oesophagus, and major blood vessels inside the chest.
Cardiothoracic surgery is performed by a cardiothoracic surgeon, a specialist who covers two specialities at once i.e. cardio surgery and thoracic surgery (heart surgery and chest organs surgery respectively).
The Cardiothoracic Surgery Unit at King’s College Hospital London Dubai provides comprehensive cardiothoracic critical care and recovery services, which includes diagnosing, treating and managing conditions that affect the chest organs. The unit comes with state-of-the-art equipment, and is led by US and European trained cardiothoracic surgeons with a wealth of experience in a long list of cardiothoracic surgeries and procedures.
Cardiothoracic Surgeries and Procedures
Common cardiothoracic procedures performed at the Cardiothoracic Unit include:
Open-heart surgery: This is a procedure that treats a myriad of problems affecting the heart including heart valve problems, coronary artery blockages, heart rhythms and heart defects problems.
Coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG): Pronounced at ‘cabbage’, this is a common open-heart surgical procedure whereby an artery harvested from the arm or chest wall, or a vein from the leg, is used to bypass a blocked or narrowed coronary artery.
Angioplasty: This is a procedure that reopens narrowed or blocked arteries to allow healthy blood flow to the heart.
Heart transplant: This is a surgical procedure that replaces a diseased heart with a completely healthy one from a human donor.
Heart valve repair: This is an open-heart surgical procedure whereby a damaged heart valve (which may strain the heart) is either repaired or replaced with a new one in order to restore its normal functions.
Carotid surgery: Also known as carotid endarterectomy, this is a surgical procedure that gets rid of plaque from the carotid artery (the artery that supplies blood to the brain).
Stent placement: This is a procedure that places stents on narrowed arteries in order to open them up again and keep them open.
Implant of ventricular assist devices: This is a procedure that implants a ventricular assist device (heart pump) in order to treat heart failure.
Heart ablation: This procedure targets a very small part of the heart muscle and destroys it, as a way of treating arrhythmias or abnormal heart rates.
Lobectomy: This an open procedure of the chest that removes a large section of the lung including the nodules in order to treat lung cancer.
Pleurectomy: This is a procedure used for the removal of the chest cavity’s inner lining.
Pneumonectomy: This procedure removes the entire lung and lymph nodes in order to treat lung cancer.
Wedge resection: This is a surgical procedure that is used to diagnose or treat lung nodules. The procedure is also used to remove tissue portions that are wedge-shaped from the lungs.
Thoracentesis: The procedure is used to drain pleural effusions (excess fluid that builds up between the outside layer of the lungs and the inside chest cavity). The drained fluid may be analyzed to find out the underlying cause of the pleural effusions.
Conditions Treated by a Cardiothoracic Surgeon
Some of the conditions treated by a cardiothoracic surgeon include:
- Heart conditions
- Congestive heart failure
- Heart valve disease
- Heart arrhythmia
- Heart attack
- Heart defects (congenital or otherwise)
- Coronary artery disease
- Ventricular aneurism
- Heart valve disease
- Lung conditions
- Lung cancer
- Lung transplant
- Congestive Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
- Esophageal conditions
- Esophageal cancer
- Esophageal disease
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- Chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (CTEPH)
- Hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating)
- Thoracic aortic aneurysms
- Thoracic trauma
- Tracheobronchial cancer
- Tracheal stenosis
- Aortic dissections
Consultation with a Cardiothoracic Surgeon – What Happens
During your consultation with the Thoracic Surgeon, he/she will review your medical history and go over the symptoms you may be experiencing. You can also expect:
- To undergo a physical exam
- Tests including echocardiogram, chest x-ray, or EKG
- The risks presented by your condition
- Recommended treatment options for your condition including how to prepare, risks involved, duration as well as downtime
- A detailed explanation of what happens during recovery after treatment
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