Cardiothoracic surgery is the field of medicine involved in the surgical treatment of organs inside the thorax (the chest)—generally the treatment of conditions of the heart (heart disease) and lungs (lung disease). In most countries, cardiac surgery (involving the heart and great vessels) and thoracic surgery (involving the lungs) are separate surgical specialties; the exceptions are the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and some EU countries, such as the United Kingdom and Portugal.
The earliest operations on the pericardium (the sac that surrounds the heart) took place in the 19th century and were performed by Francisco Romero (1801) Dominique Jean Larrey, Henry Dalton, and Daniel Hale Williams. The first surgery on the heart itself was performed by Norwegian surgeon Axel Cappelen on 4 September 1895 at Rikshospitalet in Kristiania, now Oslo. He ligated a bleeding coronary artery in a 24-year-old man who had been stabbed in the left axilla and was in deep shock upon arrival. Access was through a left thoracotomy. The patient awoke and seemed fine for 24 hours, but became ill with increasing temperature and he ultimately died from what the post-mortem proved to be mediastinitis on the third postoperative day. The first successful surgery of the heart, performed without any complications, was by Ludwig Rehn of Frankfurt, Germany, who repaired a stab wound to the right ventricle on September 7, 1896.
Surgery in great vessels (aortic coarctation repair, Blalock-Taussig shunt creation, closure of patent ductus arteriosus) became common after the turn of the century and falls in the domain of cardiac surgery, but technically cannot be considered heart surgery. One of the more commonly known cardiac surgery procedures is the coronary artery bypass graft (CABG), also known as “bypass surgery.” In this procedure, vessels from elsewhere in the patient’s body are most commonly harvested using a procedure known as EVH, and grafted to the coronary arteries to bypass blockages and improve the blood supply to the heart muscle.
Brijlal Hospital offers the following key surgeries:
- Beating Heart Surgery
- Awake Open Heart Surgery
- Redo CABG