Doctor Guru's Featured Cardiothoracic Surgeons in Singapore
Understanding the Basics of Cardiothoracic Surgery
Cardiothoracic surgery is also known simply as heart surgery, and offers a variety of procedures that can correct damage caused by disease, strokes, and heart attack. The term cardio refers to the heart, and thoracic refers to the chest cavity. Therefore, cardiothoracic surgery also includes any type of procedure that can widen a narrowed artery, install a pacemaker, as well as procedures that increase blood and oxygen supply to the heart muscle.
Some of the most common cardiothoracic surgery procedures include but are not limited to:
- Heart valve replacement surgery
- Coronary artery bypass
- Pacemaker procedures
- Heart transplants
Heart valve surgery repairs or replaces a malfunctioning or diseased heart valve. A cardiologist can determine severity of valve damage through diagnostic imaging as well as cardiac or heart function tests. Mechanical or prosthetic heart valves are most commonly use to replace a faulty valve.
Angioplasty (also known as balloon angioplasty) is a relatively common minimally invasive cardiac procedure. The procedure is used on those whose cardiac or pulmonary arteries are narrowed, damaged or blocked by plaque buildup. The procedure is utilized to restore blood flow in a damaged artery. Angioplasty involves the insertion of a long, thin tube through an artery in the extremities (most commonly the upper arm or upper thigh), and carefully threaded into the damaged artery providing blood supply to the heart. With the tube in its proper place, the cardiologist can then inflate a small balloon attached to the end of the tube, which breaks up or pushes the built-up plaque through the vessel, increasing and restoring blood flow. In some situations, a mesh stent is placed in the damaged area to help strengthen and support the artery wall.
Coronary artery bypass surgery involves replacement of one or more coronary arteries that serve the heart muscle. This procedure is often necessary for those whose blood vessels have become hardened or narrowed due to high blood pressure, smoking, or high cholesterol levels. Sections of vein or artery are taken from the patient's leg to replace a damaged section of artery above and below the blocked area of the heart vessel. The new section of vein or artery literally bypasses the damaged area. Individuals can undergo one or several artery bypasses during the same surgery event.
A pacemaker is a battery-operated or electronic device placed under the skin in the chest or abdomen. The device is designed to restore normal heart rhythm through electrical currents produced in the pacemaker itself. Individuals with abnormal heart rhythms that are too fast, too slow, or irregular often benefit from a pacemaker. Wires leading from the pacemaker and inserted in locations throughout the heart generate electrical impulses to the heart muscle, forcing it to expand or contract adequately enough to promote a regular and effective heartbeat.
Heart transplantation is a "last resort" attempt to maintain or restore improved quality of life in a person whose heart has been severely damaged due to injury or disease. A heart transplant procedure replaces the entire heart muscle. The donor heart typically comes from a recently deceased individual whose blood type most closely matches that of the recipient.
About Your Cardiologist
A cardiologist is a heart specialist with special training and skills in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of heart disease as well as blood vessels that service the heart muscle. A cardiologist is trained and experienced in numerous forms of diagnostic imagery and procedures, including but not limited to ECGs (echocardiograms) and cardiac catheterization. In most cases, a cardiologist has undergone approximately ten plus years of training; four years of medical school, three or four years of general internal medicine, followed by three or four years of specialized training in the cardiology field.