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.

Learn more about our services from Steven Howe, MD:

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

There are four valves in the heart that each play an important role in circulating blood throughout the body. Diseased heart valves may need to be surgically repaired or replaced, especially the aortic valve and mitral valve. The surgeons from UC San Diego Health System at TVH are recognized nationally for their expertise in heart valve surgery.

Aortic Valve Surgery

The aortic valve separates the heart and the aorta, the largest artery of the body. The aortic valve opens up to allow blood to flow out of the heart and then closes to keep it from returning to the heart.

Surgery may be needed if the aortic valve does not close all the way, which allows blood to leak back into the heart. This is a called aortic regurgitation.

Surgery may also be needed if the valve does not open properly and blood flow out of the heart is reduced. This is called aortic stenosis.

Mitral Valve Surgery

The mitral valve keeps blood flowing between two of the heart chambers, the left atrium and left ventricle. If the valve becomes hardened, blood may not be able to move forward through the valve. If the valve is too loose, blood may be able to flow backwards. In either case, surgery may be needed to repair or replace the valve.

Aneurysm Repair

An aneurysm is a widening, or ballooning, of a blood vessel caused by a weakness in the artery walls. The widening can increase to the point of rupture, which can result in death if it happens in a major artery, such as the aorta. The cardiothoracic surgeons from UC San Diego Health System are leaders in aneurysm surgery and perform advanced procedures, including traditional surgery and a minimally invasive procedure called endovascular stent grafting for repairing certain aneurysms that occur in the aorta (abdominal aortic aneurysms).

During surgical repair, an incision is made in the abdomen and the widened portion of the aorta is cut out and replaced with a synthetic graft.

For the minimally invasive procedure, a small incision is made in the groin and a tube is threaded into the femoral artery up to the aneurysm. The synthetic graft is then positioned so that it sits inside the aneurysm and protects the aorta from further expansion.

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.

Patient Story: Gale Hollister

Gale Hollister was the 100th heart surgery patient at TVH. Hear her story:

Find a Cardiothoracic Surgeon

If you need a referral to a physician at Temecula Valley Hospital, call our free referral service at 855-859-5203 or search our online directory >