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Heart surgery

Your trusted source for heart surgery

When you need heart surgery, knowing you are receiving care from an expert team can make all the difference. Our cardiologists, surgeons, vascular specialists, nurses and other healthcare professionals use an integrated approach and the latest technology to deliver the most advanced care. Our cardiac surgery programs in Charlotte and Winston-Salem are ranked among the highest in the nation with a 3-star rating from the Society of Thoracic Surgeons. Only 13.5 percent of all cardiac surgery hospitals in the U.S. received this top ranking. With Novant Health Heart & Vascular Institute, you can rest easy knowing that you are placing your trust in an experienced, dedicated team.

Below are a few of the heart surgeries we provide.

  • Heart bypass surgery
  • What is heart bypass surgery?


    Heart bypass surgery, or coronary artery bypass grafting, is used to provide new paths for blood to reach your heart. If you have significant blockage in the arteries that supply blood to your heart muscle, you are at serious risk of having a heart attack. If angioplasty and stent treatment in the cardiac catheterization lab are not appropriate for you, your Novant Health cardiologist may recommend a heart bypass operation, more accurately known as a coronary artery bypass graft because it bypasses the blockage. By using veins or arteries, mostly commonly from the inside of your leg or from the underside of your breastbone, we bypass the blockage in the coronary artery and restore blood flow to the heart. Your Novant Health heart surgeon may be able to use endoscopic vein harvesting, an advanced technique that involves just one or two small incisions and allows for easier recovery, less scarring and a smaller risk of infection.

    This surgery is used to help relieve pain and may prolong your life, but it does not eliminate the heart disease causing the blockages. New blockages can occur in other arteries of the heart and in the bypasses themselves. We might recommend that you go through a cardiac rehabilitation program where you will learn how to maintain your blood pressure, cholesterol levels and overall heart health through diet and exercise.

  • Valve surgery
  • What is valve surgery?


    If the valves of your heart collect calcium deposits or no longer close properly, you may need valve repair or replacement. After a thorough evaluation, a Novant Health cardiac care team will recommend the best course of treatment. There are two general types of replacement valves now available:

      • Mechanical replacement valves – allow blood to travel in one direction and prevent it from going backward.
      • Bioprosthetic replacement valves – made from animal tissue and usually have a lower risk of blood clot formation.
  • Minimally invasive valve repair
  • How does minimally invasive valve repair work?


    Our physicians use minimally invasive, valve replacement surgery whenever possible because it results in fewer complications and speeds recovery time. You will be tested to determine if you are a candidate for this type of surgery. Our skilled cardiac surgeons can often repair the problem with a minimally invasive robotic surgery procedure.

    Unlike in traditional heart surgeries, the chest does not have to be opened. Your surgeon operates from a special computer console that controls highly-precise robotic surgical tools. This leading-edge technology uses smaller incisions compared to traditional valve surgeries.

  • Transcatheter aortic valve replacement
  • What is a transcatheter aortic valve replacement?


    Novant Health was among the first in the country approved to offer transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), a non-surgical treatment that inserts a wire mesh valve into the heart through an artery in the leg. We offer two different approaches to TAVR at Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center in Charlotte and Novant Health Forsyth Medical Center in Winston-Salem – transfemorally, through a small incision in the groin, and transapically, through a small incision in the left lower chest.

    TAVR is appropriate for people who have severe aortic stenosis, or narrowing of the heart valve, which restricts blood flow to the heart; they cannot endure the traditional surgical approach of open-heart surgery.

  • Minimally invasive cardiac surgery
  • How does a minimally invasive cardiac surgery work?


    Our heart surgeons are on the cutting-edge of advanced treatment options such as minimally invasive cardiac surgery – performed through a small incision using specialized instruments. The incision with minimally invasive surgery is about two to four inches rather than six to eight inches with traditional surgeries.

    Benefits of minimally invasive cardiac surgery include:

      • Reduced pain
      • Reduced blood loss
      • Reduced risk of infection
      • Shorter hospital stay
      • Faster recovery
      • Faster return to work
      • Less scarring and improved appearance after surgery
  • Radio frequency Maze
  • What is a radio frequency Maze?


    Your Novant Health cardiologist may recommend this procedure for treatment of an irregular heartbeat, called atrial fibrillation. Typically, the procedure is done during bypass or valve surgery. Radio frequency energy is used to cut the nerve pathways in the heart that are making the heart beat irregularly.

  • Atrial septal defect surgery
  • What is an atrial septal defect surgery?


    Atrial septal defect is the most common congenital defect seen in adults. The defect is an abnormal opening or hole in the wall that separates the two upper chambers of your heart. This hole allows excessive blood flow to the lungs and, in turn, may cause shortness of breath, fatigue or an irregular heartbeat. Novant Health surgeons correct this defect by sewing or patching the hole in the septum.

  • Ventricular aneurysm surgery
  • What is a ventricular aneurysm surgery?


    A ventricular aneurysm is a scar that results in a ballooning out or bulging of the heart muscle, which causes an inadequate pumping action of your heart. Because the heart is less efficient, you may have heart failure, shortness of breath, fatigue, pain or irregular heartbeats. The surgeon removes the aneurysm and patches or closes the ventricle securely.

  • Laser transmyocardial revascularization
  • What is a laser transmyocardial revascularization?


    Transmyocardial revascularization is an advanced surgical procedure designed to help increase blood flow in damaged areas of your heart. Novant Health surgeons use a laser to create tiny channels in the heart muscle that revascularize, or increase blood flow, to the damaged area of the heart, usually lessening the risk of heart attack.

Novant Health is a leader in cardiovascular technology and innovation, with minimally invasive procedures and state-of-the-art endovascular (through the blood vessels) operating capability. Our heart and vascular surgeons perform a wide array of heart and vascular treatments, including heart valve replacement, coronary artery bypass and aneurysm repair. Our heart surgery programs include dedicated operating suites, intensive care and intermediate care units, along with critical care nurses specially trained in caring for cardiac surgery patients. At Novant Health, you can be confident that you will have the most advanced cardiac and vascular treatments, along with teams of caring professionals who are with you before, during and after your surgery to ensure you receive the best care possible.