When heart disease progresses to needing intervention, our team of cardiac surgeons and interventional cardiologists can offer patients the full range of cardiac surgery procedures. With access to the latest surgical techniques, technology and devices, we can often provide patients access to minimally invasive, or less invasive procedures, that are not widely available.
Our team takes a collaborative approach to patient care, working together to determine the best option for patients, opting for the least invasive technique to deliver the best possible outcome for each patient.
Cardiovascular Surgery Options
Our cardiac surgeons and interventional cardiologists are nationally recognized for delivering innovative cardiac care with exceptional outcomes. We offer some of the most advanced treatment options available, including:
- Coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) — CABG is a procedure to treat coronary artery disease that has reduced blood flow to the heart. Our team is skilled in many approaches to CABG, allowing us to individualize our treatment recommendation based on the severity of coronary artery disease.
- Heart valve surgery — Our team of cardiovascular specialists provides advanced treatment for all four of the heart’s valves. Given our experience in heart valve surgery, we often will offer valve repair when others may only recommend replacement. We provide patients access to the latest treatments, including the latest devices and minimally invasive techniques.
- Aortic surgery — Our team is highly skilled in treating both emergent aorta repair, as well as aneurysms that have been monitored over a period of time. Techniques included minimally invasive and open surgical repair.
- Arrhythmia (atrial fibrillation, AFib) surgery — While arrhythmias can often be managed long-term with medication, for some patients surgical intervention may be recommended to reduce symptoms and risk of stroke. Our team provides patients access to latest devices, including WATCHMAN FLX™ device, a device that can reduce the risk of stroke for some patients, and expertise in minimally maze procedures, which alleviate symptoms completely.
- Ventricular assist device and total artificial heart placement — We take a comprehensive approach to heart failure and offer patients the full scope of treatment. If heart failure progresses to needing surgical intervention we have access to the latest devices, including ventricular assist devices and total artificial hearts. Depending on the patients condition, these devices can be used as destination therapy or a bridge to transplant. Our VAD Program is recognized by The Joint Commission as an Adult VAD Destination Therapy Program.
- Heart transplantation — Our team of cardiothoracic surgeons includes some of the most experienced heart transplant surgeons in the nation. Our program have delivered exceptional outcomes for patients for more than 30 years.
- Surgery for adults with congenital heart disease — Patients with congenital heart disease may benefit from a number of treatments performed by our team, including valve surgery or arrhythmia management. In addition, we offer specialty expertise for atrial septal defects and patent foraman ovale.
Traditionally, heart surgery has been performed using a long incision through the sternum (breastbone) to reach the heart. Today, select patients can benefit from minimally invasive cardiac surgery to treat many heart conditions including mitral valve disease, aortic valve stenosis and atrial fibrillation.
In minimally invasive heart surgery, our team uses small incisions to reach the heart. Using thin instruments and tiny cameras, surgeons perform procedures that offer many benefits over traditional heart surgery, including:
- Smaller incisions with minimal scarring
- Less pain
- Shorter hospital stays and faster return to normal activities
- Minimal blood loss and less need for transfusion
- Reduced risk for infection and complications
Our multidisciplinary team — including cardiothoracic surgeons, interventional cardiologists and imaging experts — works together to determine who is a candidate for minimally invasive heart surgery. Determining the best treatment approach for you is based on several factors — age, medical history and lifestyle. Before recommending a surgical approach our team may also opt for additional cardiac testing.
Our team will always opt for the least invasive option that provides the safest and most successful outcome for you. This means, in some cases, traditional surgery will still be recommended.
Minimally Invasive Heart Procedures
Our team of interventional cardiologists and cardiac surgeons has a high level of experience in minimally invasive heart procedures, including procedures not always performed elsewhere. Minimally invasive heart procedures performed by our team include:
- Coronary bypass surgery — Possible when only one or two bypass grafts is needed.
- ASD/PFO closure — Closes a hole in the septum (wall) between the atria (the two upper chambers of the heart). This hole — an atrial septal defect (ASD) or a patent foramen ovale (PFO) — is a congenital defect.
- Maze procedures for atrial fibrillation (arrhythmia) — Corrects an abnormal heart rhythm.
- Mitral valve surgery — Repairs or replaces the mitral valve. These less invasive options include transcatheter mitral valve repair using MitraClip.
- Aortic valve surgery — Repairs or replaces the aortic valve. Our team of surgeons is home to one of the fastest-growing transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) programs in the country.
In addition, as academic physicians, our specialists are involved in researching new ways to treat heart disease. They often take part in national clinical trials, giving our patients access to breakthrough treatment options not available at other area health systems. Learn more about current clinical trials we participate in.
Robotic-Assisted Heart Surgery
Robotic-assisted cardiac surgery, using the da Vinci® Robotic Surgical System, provides surgeons increased visual magnification that facilitates precise, complicated procedures through small incisions. Similar to other minimally invasive procedures, the benefits to patients undergoing a robotic-assisted procedure include reduced scarring, less pain, quicker recovery and shorter length of time in the hospital. Procedures we offer include:
- Ablation procedures for atrial fibrillation
- Left atrial appendage exclusion procedures
- Pacemaker lead placement
Advanced Cardiac Diagnostics
As part of an academic medical center, our cardiovascular physicians are at the forefront of diagnosing cardiac diseases. This includes diagnostic catheterization procedures, cardiac MRI, echocardiograms and electrocardiograms.
Cardiac Second Opinion Program
If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with cardiac disease and intervention has been recommended, we offer a Cardiac Second Opinion Program that allows you to learn more about your disease, confirm your diagnosis and explore treatment options. To request a second opinion, call 800-272-3666.
As the only academic medical center in eastern Wisconsin, our physicians are involved in cutting-edge research and participate in local and national clinical trials that can provide patients treatment options that may not be available elsewhere.