Open Heart Surgery

Open heart surgery involves splitting the breastbone, known as a sternotomy, and connecting the patient to a heart-lung machine which takes over the flow of blood in the body while the heart is stopped to operate on it. Open heart surgery has been performed successfully since the 1960s to treat blocked coronary arteries, diseased heart valves and problems with the aorta. Open heart surgery is the most common major surgery performed worldwide and saves millions of lives.
Dr Bassin on Open Heart Surgery

Coronary Bypass Surgery

Coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) is used to treat blocked coronary arteries. When there is a narrowing or blockage in the coronary arteries the heart is starved of oxygen and this can result in chest tightness (angina), shortness of breath or a heart attack. Coronary artery bypass surgery involves bypassing these blockages with other veins or arteries from the chest, arm or leg to give the heart a new blood supply.

Mitral Valve Surgery

The heart is a complex pump with 4 one-way valves. The mitral valve is located between the left atrium and the left ventricle. Valves cease to function appropriately when the valve fails to open properly limiting the blood flow (mitral stenosis) or when the valve fails to close causing a large backwards leak (mitral regurgitation). Mitral regurgitation (MR) or a leaking mitral valve is most commonly caused by mitral valve prolapse where a section of the valve does not close properly. This is the most common cause of mitral valve disease in Australia.

Aortic Valve Replacement

The aorta is the main artery which transports all of the blood from the heart and distributes it throughout the body. The aortic valve is situated at the base of the aorta and controls the flow of blood out of the heart. Surgery is required if the aortic valve fails to open (aortic stenosis) or close properly (aortic regurgitation), or if the aorta is enlarged (aortic aneurysm).

Aortic Aneurysm Surgery

The aorta is the main artery coming out of the heart and it distributes the blood and oxygen throughout the body. If the aorta is sufficiently enlarged it is termed an aneurysm and may require surgery. This is because as the aorta grows in size there is a risk of rupture with catastrophic consequences. Aortic aneurysms are often picked up as incidental findings on CT scans or in someone who is being assessed for other cardiac surgery.