There are many different heart conditions and problems that are collectively called heart disease. Some conditions you are born with, some you inherit through a parent's genes and others develop over your lifetime. Irregular heart rhythms, blocked or narrowed arteries, heart attacks, and weakening of the heart muscle are just some examples of conditions for which there are a number of specialized procedures and surgeries, including:
The aorta, the largest artery of the body, supplies blood to the body, including the heart through the main coronary arteries. The coronary arteries can narrow due to a build-up of fatty material within artery walls, which can limit their ability to supply oxygen and nutrients to the heart. This can happen gradually or suddenly, causing a heart attack. Emergency treatment is needed for a heart attack and elective treatment is often needed when medication is ineffective in treating chest pain caused by restricted blood flow to the heart, known as angina. The following options will be considered based on a patient's overall health.
During a cardiac catheterization procedure, blocked or narrowed coronary arteries can be widened and blood flow improved with angioplasty. A very thin, flexible tube called a catheter is inserted within an artery in the wrist or groin and gently guided to the heart. Once in place, the catheter allows your doctor to deliver the needed treatment, such as inflating a small balloon to move fatty material out of the way so blood can flow more freely when the balloon is deflated and removed, and inserting a permanent short wire-mesh tube called a stent to restore blood flow.
Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting (CABG)
The most common type of heart surgery for adults, CABG treats the narrowing of blood vessels by bypassing the blocked portion of a coronary artery with a graft such as a piece of a healthy blood vessel (vein or artery) from elsewhere in your body. Blood can then bypass the blockage to reach the heart. Most often, CABG is a traditional heart surgery, involving a cut in the chest to go through a person's breastbone to access the heart.
Heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias) occur when the electrical signals that coordinate the heart's beats don't work properly, causing the heart to beat too fast, too slow or irregularly.
Cardioversion is a procedure that may be offered to you when you experience an abnormally fast heartbeat that makes you feel tired and unwell. Conditions such as atrial fibrillation and atrial flutter may be the reason why you have been referred to KHSC to have a cardioversion procedure.
During a cardiac catheterization procedure, a wide range of ablation treatments are available for many different types of heart rhythm disorders, including supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) and atrial fibrillation. Catheter ablation involves a thin tube known as a catheter that is inserted through a blood vessel to the heart and by which ablation, hot or cold energy, is delivered to scar abnormal heart tissue and restore proper heart function. Catheter ablation for atrial fibrillation and catheter ablation for SVT are effective treatments for certain patients.
Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillators
An Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD) is a device that will monitor your heart closely for heart rhythm problems. If a life-threatening rhythm should occur, the ICD will 'shock' the heart with a bolt of energy that will restore your normal rhythm immediately. Your specialist may suggest you receive an ICD if you are at risk for a life-threatening, fast heart rhythm disturbance.
A pacemaker is a small device (about the size of a wristwatch) that is implanted under the skin of your chest. A pacemaker may be used if your doctor has determined your heart may beat too slowly or if it has the potential to slow down occasionally.
Heart valves open and close to let blood flow from one area of your heart to another. The valves are thin but strong flaps of tissue that make sure blood moves at the right time and in the right direction. As they open and close, they make two sounds that create the sound of a heartbeat.
Aortic Valve Repair and Replacement
The aortic valve is one of four valves that control blood flow in the heart. A diseased or damaged aortic valve can interfere with blood flow, making the heart work harder to send blood to the rest of the body. Repair or replacement of the valve can be done through traditional heart surgery, which involves a cut in the chest to go through a person's breastbone to access the heart, or through minimally invasive methods. What type of valve surgery is recommended for you depends on your individual situation.
TAVI is a minimally invasive procedure to insert a new artificial aortic valve through a tube known as a catheter. It is primarily for patients with a narrowed aortic valve who are at high risk of complications from having open heart surgery to replace the valve. A team of specialized doctors including surgeons, anesthesiologists and interventional cardiologists are involved in TAVI.
Mitral Valve Repair and Replacement
When the mitral valve, which flaps open and closed to control blood flow between the lower left and upper left heart chambers, isn't working properly, your heart has to work harder to pump blood through the body. This can cause issues such as a serious abnormal heart rhythm or heart failure. Traditional heart surgery may be required to replace the valve or a minimally invasive method may be used to deliver a treatment such as inserting a MitraClip to better align your mitral valve flaps so they can open and close more effectively.