Our cardiothoracic surgeons specialize in the following heart surgeries:
What is A-Fib?
- Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery
- Heart Valve Surgery
- Atrial Fibrillation Surgery
- Aortic Surgery
- Thoracic Surgery
- Thoracic Oncology
Atrial fibrillation, also called A-Fib, is a quivering or irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia) that can lead to blood clots, stroke, heart failure and other heart-related complications. At least 2.7 million Americans are living with A-Fib. Learn the signs and symptoms.
Cardiac and Thoracic Surgery Associates
Cardiac & Thoracic Surgery Associates provides the highest quality care and best outcomes for patients with diseases of the heart, lungs, and chest.
Our vascular specialists have vast expertise and experience in diagnosing and treating common, complex and rare vascular diseases, as well as in traditional open and endovascular procedures.
- Endovascular Aneurysm Surgery
- IVC Filter Placement and Removal
- Open Aneurysm Surgery
- Lower Extremity Arterial Surgery
- Carotid Surgery
- Dialysis Access Surgery
- Varicose Vein Surgery
Southern Colorado Vascular Surgery
Southern Colorado Vascular Surgery is proud to promote the prevention and treatment of vascular disease using the most advanced techniques and technology available.
Specialized Cardiothoracic Procedures
Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR)
A new treatment – transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) – is now available for people with aortic valve stenosis who can’t have surgery, the only other treatment for this condition. Aortic valve stenosis happens when the heart’s aortic valve narrows, blocking blood from flowing through the major artery leading out of the heart and throughout the body.
Shortness of breath and fatigue are the most common symptoms of aortic valve stenosis, which mostly affects people in their 70s and 80s. “Because the symptoms come on very slowly, patients usually just attribute it to aging,” says John Mehall, MD, medical director of cardiothoracic surgery at Penrose-St. Francis Health Services.
Anyone with shortness of breath that interferes with daily activities should see a cardiologist. Aortic valve stenosis also can become severe without any symptoms. Doctors often find it during a physical, when they hear an abnormal heart sound, called a heart murmur.
If left untreated, 50 percent of people with severe aortic stenosis and symptoms die within two years. Replacing the diseased valve is the only treatment. Until recently, patients who were too sick or high risk for open-heart or minimally invasive heart surgery couldn’t be treated. TAVR, available in southern Colorado at Penrose Hospital, changes that.
TAVR is done by threading a long, flexible tube through an artery, usually in the groin, to the heart. The valve is squeezed into a balloon on the end of the catheter and once it’s inside the natural aortic valve, it’s inflated. This opens the valve and restores the blood flow.
Fast relief and recovery
“Patients do remarkably well,” Mehall says. “In most patients, shortness of breath is markedly improved days after the procedure.” Recovery is much easier after TAVR than after open-heart surgery or minimally invasive aortic valve replacement. Patients spend about three days in the hospital and about two weeks recovering after that. That compares to four days in the hospital and four weeks of recovery for minimally invasive aortic valve replacement, or seven days in the hospital and eight weeks of recovery for open-heart repair. Because TAVR is limited to use in patients who cannot tolerate surgery, minimally invasive aortic valve replacement is the best option for younger, healthier patients, notes Mehall.
Who is TAVR Right For?
TAVR is right for people with health issues such as:
TAVR Procedure Animation
- Previous heart surgery
- Diseases (often more than one) such as:
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- Congestive heart failure
- Lung disease
- Kidney disease
For patients who have been deemed inoperable for traditional open-heart surgery, a new procedure called transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) is now available as a treatment option. TAVR is a less invasive alternative to open heart valve replacement surgery.Aortic Valve Stenosis and TAVR
TAVR can relieve the signs and symptoms of aortic valve stenosis and may improve survival in people who can't undergo surgery or have a high risk of surgical complications. Learn more about aortic valve stenosis.
Watchman offers an alternative to the lifelong use of anticoagulants for patients with atrial fibrillation not caused by a heart valve problem (non-valvular atrial fibrillation.) This permanent heart implant effectively reduces risk of stroke without the risk of bleeding that can arise from the long-term use of anticoagulants.
Transcatheter Mitral Valve Repair Utilizing MitraClip
Mitrclip is a less invasive catheter based procedure indicated for patients for reduction of severe mitral regurgitation. It is indicated for patients with degenerative mitral valve disease who have high surgical risk who are not candidates for open heart mitral valve replacement.