Open heart surgery

The UofL Health - Rudd Heart & Lung Center is one of the leading centers in the U.S. for comprehensive cardiovascular care. Our surgeons and professional staff have been working as a team for more than 40 years.

UofL Health - Jewish Hospital was the site of the world's first and second AbioCorĀ® Implantable Replacement Heart, as well as the world's first successful heart transplant following the use of a Thoratec ventricular assist device. In Kentucky alone, Jewish Hospital was the first to perform open-heart surgery, heart transplant, first implantation of the HeartMate II ventricular assist device, and much more.

For patients with end-stage heart failure, UofL Health offers many alternatives to heart transplantation, including the use of Ventricular Assist Devices (VAD), so if the heart can recover on its own, it can heal without the need of a transplant. Heart surgery remains an effective treatment for many conditions of the heart that cannot be corrected by medication or lifestyle changes to manage heart attack risks.

Open heart surgery is any surgery where the chest is opened and surgery is performed on the heart muscle, valves, arteries, or other heart structures. The term "open" refers to the chest, not the heart itself. The heart may or may not be opened, depending on the type of surgery.

Because the heart is constantly beating, heart surgery has challenges that no other type of surgery has. Not only does it move, but it also cannot be stopped for more than a few minutes without causing brain damage.

A heart-lung machine, or a cardiopulmonary bypass machine, is usually used during conventional open-heart surgery to help provide oxygen-rich blood to the brain and other vital organs while the heart is stopped. Body cooling techniques are also used to slow the need for oxygen to the heart and allow more time for surgery without causing brain damage. This in turn enables surgeons to work on the heart for two to four hours without damaging the heart tissue.

In the instance where a heart cannot continue beating without assistance, ventricular assist devices are used as bridges to heart transplants, myocardial recovery, rescue surgeries, destination therapy, or permanent use of the device for patients that are not transplant-eligible.  

Averaging more than 1,500 open-heart surgeries annually, UofL Health - Jewish Hospital offers the most technologically advanced, complete open-heart surgery care in the region. Why would you choose anywhere else?

Complex Surgery of Aorta

The aorta is the main artery of the body, supplying oxygen-rich blood to the body. It starts from the left ventricle of the heart and runs down in front of the backbone. There are many conditions and diseases that can cause the aorta to dilate or tear, increasing your risk for potentially life-threatening situations. A primary cause for surgery of the aorta is when the aorta weakens and the wall abnormally bulges. The bulging is called an aortic aneurysm and can be very serious. Complex aortic procedures treat patients with aneurysms that need replacement of the aorta from the aortic valve down to the aortic bifurcation.

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