Cardiac Surgery

Cardiovascular Surgeons in Washington, DC

Skilled cardiac surgeons at GW Hospital perform a comprehensive range of cardiovascular procedures - including innovative coronary artery bypass surgery, other revascularization procedures and valve repairs and replacements - to help patients with advanced heart disease.

Bypass Surgeries

Coronary Bypass Surgery

Many patients with heart disease have serious blockages in the arteries that supply blood to the heart. When minimally invasive techniques, such as angioplasty, can’t be used to improve their conditions, patients may benefit from coronary artery bypass surgery.

Surgeons at GW 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 “revascularize” the heart. It also may reduce chest pain and lower the risk of heart attack.

Off Pump Bypass Surgery

Surgeons at GW Hospital also employ newer procedures that allow them to perform bypass surgery without stopping the heart.

They can immobilize a section of the heart with specially designed stabilizers. The rest of the heart continues beating normally so a heart-lung machine isn’t 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 often can 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.

Congestive Heart Failure

Experienced Cardiac Surgeons in Washington, DC

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.

Atrial Arrhythmias

Washington, DC Heart Surgeons

Using a combination of approaches, including minimally invasive techniques, GW 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

Experienced Cardiothoracic Surgeons in Washington, DC

GW is a regional leader in aneurysm surgery performing complex reconstruction in patients with aortic dissections as well as those with ascending, arch and descending aneurysms. Deep hypothermic circulatory arrest 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.