Advanced Surgical Treatment

Close-up of surgeons hands.

Temecula Valley Hospital and the University of California San Diego Health System have collaborated to bring the skills and expertise of some of the region's leading cardiothoracic surgeons to Temecula. Area residents can now get surgical treatment for heart, lung, chest and diaphragm conditions close to home, including complex procedures, such as coronary artery bypass surgery and valve repairs and replacements.

The cardiothoracic team at Temecula Valley Hospital consists of surgeons from UC San Diego Health System, a perfusionist, anesthesiologists and operating room nurses, Intensive Care Unit (ICU) nurses and other healthcare professionals.

Coronary Bypass Surgery

Many patients with heart disease have serious blockages in the arteries that supply blood to their heart. When minimally invasive techniques, such as angioplasty, cannot be used to improve their conditions, patients may benefit from coronary artery bypass surgery. Surgeons at Temecula Valley Hospital use advanced strategies and techniques to perform bypass surgery, including conventional procedures using the heart-lung machine and newer “off-pump” techniques.

Traditional Bypass Surgery

When performing traditional bypass surgery, surgeons make an incision down the center of the chest and separate the breastbone to reach the heart. The patient’s heart must be stopped during the procedure, so a heart-lung machine is used to pump blood throughout the body. Surgeons then graft a section of a healthy blood vessel — usually from the leg — onto the affected vessel to reroute blood flow around the blockage.

This procedure can restore blood flow to or “revascularize” the heart. It also may reduce chest pain and lower the risk of heart attack.

Off-pump Bypass Surgery

Surgeons may also employ newer procedures that allow them to perform bypass surgery without stopping the heart. Surgeons at Temecula Valley Hospital are among the only in the surrounding area that routinely perform this particular procedure.

During the procedure, surgeons immobilize a section of the heart with specially designed stabilizers. The rest of the heart continues beating normally so a heart-lung machine is not used during the bypass procedure.

Patients who undergo off-pump procedures may have a reduced risk of developing some of the complications, such as swelling, clotting and neurological problems, that may be associated with the heart-lung machine.

Minimally Invasive Bypass Surgery

Surgeons at the hospital can often perform minimally invasive heart surgery when the patient needs a bypass for only one or two arteries.

Instead of making a large incision in the chest and dividing the breastbone, surgeons make a small incision directly over the artery to be bypassed. Next, they detach an artery from inside the chest and attach it to the clogged artery to bypass the blockage.

Heart Valve Surgery

Some patients are born with defective heart valves that affect blood flow through the heart. In addition, infection, rheumatic fever and the aging process can damage healthy heart valves. The surgeons from UC San Diego Health System at TVH are recognized nationally for their expertise in valvular surgery.

They perform innovative valve repair and replacement procedures using advanced surgical techniques, valve devices and prostheses. Minimally invasive surgery for the aortic valve can be performed through an incision one-third the normal size, splitting only a portion of the breastbone rather than the entire breastbone. Patients recover from this surgery faster than from the aortic valve surgery done through the traditional approach.

Surgery for Congestive Heart Failure

A variety of procedures are available to support patients with serious impairment in their heart functions. These include a range of operations, including bypass surgery, valve repair and removal of non-functioning parts of the heart. In addition, a range of implantable devices can be used to assist the pumping action of the heart, for both acute and long-term heart failure.

Surgery for Atrial Arrhythmias

Using a combination of approaches, including minimally invasive techniques, surgeons can reduce or eliminate the very common electrical irregularity of the heart known as atrial fibrillation. This can be done as a primary treatment for this problem, or in association with valve or bypass surgery.

Thoracic-Abdominal Aortic Surgery

Cardiothoracic surgeons from UC San Diego Health System are leaders in aneurysm surgery performing complex reconstruction in patients with aortic dissections as well as those with ascending, arch and descending aneurysms. Deep hypothermic circulatory arrests, as well as perfusion-assisted techniques are performed. At times, the surgeon may be able to perform the procedure without the use of the heart-lung machine.

When patients need particularly complex procedures, such as ventricular assist devices and transplantation, adult congenital surgeries, pulmonary endarterectomy, as well as minimally invasive and robotic procedures, the surgery will be performed at UC San Diego Sulpizio Cardiovascular Center, one of the nation’s leading institutions in the treatment of heart disease.

UCSD specialists can provide consults on a wide variety of conditions. Patients from this community can benefit from the care provided by world experts on various rare conditions and offer services available only in select few institutions in the country including heart, lung, heart-lung transplantation and mechanical assistance to circulation, even total artificial heart.