Cardiothoracic surgeons perform procedures within the realm of both cardiac (heart, valves, and great vessels) and thoracic (chest and esophagus) surgery. While cardiac and thoracic surgery are separate specialties, they are frequently grouped together as cardiothoracic surgery. One of the most common cardiothoracic surgeries treats heart blockages caused by coronary heart disease. During the coronary artery bypass procedure (CABG), the surgeon will remove a healthy vessel from somewhere within the patient’s body, then graft one side of the vessel to the aorta and the other side to an artery below the blockage. This procedure is also known as “bypass surgery,” as the new vessel “bypasses” the blocked artery.
Cardiothoracic surgeons perform extensive and complex open heart and lung procedures, such as heart valve replacements. They also perform cutting edge, minimally invasive cardiothoracic surgeries using intricate robotic techniques and minute catheters, such as trans catheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), the Ross procedure for open heart surgeries, transmyocardial laser revascularization (TMR/TMLR), and endoscopic vein harvesting (EVH).
A physician must undergo years of medical education and training to become a cardiothoracic surgeon. After medical school, cardiothoracic surgical candidates complete a general surgery residency, followed by a cardiothoracic surgery fellowship.
Our Cardiothoracic Surgeons
At Covenant Health, the cardiothoracic surgeons of East Tennessee Cardiovascular Surgery Group perform open heart and thoracic surgeries, and have performed more than 30,000 successful open heart surgeries. Click here to learn more about East Tennessee Cardiovascular Surgery Group and the cardiothoracic surgeons of Covenant Health.