Services & Specialties February 27, 2014

Open Heart Surgery Has Come a Long Way

February is recognized as “Heart Month,” a time when heart health is in the spotlight. It is important for us to learn more about our risk for heart disease at all times, and to make an effort to speak with our primary care provider about any concerns we may have about our own cardiovascular health.

Many people manage heart disease with the care of a cardiologist through diet, medication or minimally invasive cardiac procedures. However, there are times when a heart issue requires open heart surgery, and patients have many questions about the procedure, and the risk involved in repairing this vitally important organ.

The use of the heart-lung machine was introduced in 1953, when Dr. John H. Gibbon, Jr. MD performed our nation’s first successful open-heart operation. This monumental accomplishment is what has propelled generations of cardiac teams forward with the knowledge needed to successfully operate on millions of human hearts all over the world.

As a cardiac perfusionist for Adena Regional Medical Center, I am responsible for keeping our patients alive during open-heart surgery. This is accomplished by the use of new heart-lung machines that manipulate the blood volume away from the heart and lungs, while stimulating blood oxygenation and generating a blood pressure without the heart or lungs actually beating or breathing. Once bypass is achieved, Adena’s cardiothoracic surgeons are able to operate on a calm, stable surface for a variety of cardiothoracic surgeries.

The world of cardiothoracic surgery has come a long way since the once high-risk procedure, especially here in Ross County. For eight years, the same Adena team of cardiothoracic surgeons, physician assistants, and perfusionists has collaborated and successfully treated patients in our community for a variety of heart-related diseases. A few of these open-heart procedures include: grafting for coronary artery disease (bypass); valve repair/replacement; heart arrhythmia surgery; and aortic aneurysm repairs. In most cases, there is no longer a need to travel to more urban areas for open heart surgery.  These life-saving services are available right here in our hometown.

In addition to a team of talented physicians/surgeons and staff, Adena has state-of-the-art technology and offers our patients a multi-disciplinary care approach, that enables them to become involved in their treatment plan through education, helping the patient make informed choices about their health and care.

- Jennifer White, MS CCP - Cardiac Perfusionist

Adena Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery

Learn more about Adena’s Cardiothoracic Surgery Program.