Cardiovascular surgeons in Middle Tennessee
If you have a heart condition that requires surgery, our cardiovascular surgeons specialize in complex valve procedures and have many years of experience performing traditional open-heart surgery, as well as other techniques for heart valve and bypass surgeries.
For more information about our heart and vascular surgery services, please call (800) 242-5662.
Heart valve surgery
If you have a common heart condition like aortic stenosis or mitral regurgitation, heart valve surgery can repair or replace damaged valves to restore normal heart function. Our specialists in cardiac care administer advanced treatments for even the most complex procedures, including:
- Aortic valve repair/replacement
- Aortic homograft, stentless aortic valve replacement
- Artificial heart valves (homograft valve replacement, Ross procedure)
- Aortic root enlargement
- Mitral valve repair/replacement
- Standard (sutured) aortic valve replacement
- Sutureless aortic valve replacement
- Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR)
- Tricuspid valve repair/replacement
Heart bypass surgery
If you have blocked or damaged coronary arteries, a coronary artery bypass (CABG) could be the most effective option to restore blood flow to the heart. This procedure uses blood vessels from other parts of the body to make a new route for blood to flow around blocked coronary (heart) arteries.
Our heart surgeons are able to perform traditional open-heart surgery and other techniques for heart bypass surgery, including:
- Arrested heart coronary bypass: This procedure is performed while the heart is stopped and connected to a heart-lung machine.
- On-pump beating heart bypass: This procedure is performed on the heart while it is beating. The heart will not be stopped during surgery. The heart and lungs will continue to perform in surgery and a heart-lung machine may not be needed.
- Off-pump bypass: This procedure is performed without a heart-lung machine.
- Minimally invasive bypass: This minimally invasive approach allows bypass surgery on the heart through small incisions without separating the breastbone (sternum).
Reasons for bypass surgery
Atherosclerosis is a buildup of cholesterol that is inappropriately deposited into your arteries. When the buildup becomes severe, it restricts blood flow. This could happen with or without myocardial infarction (heart attack). Restricted blood flow also causes chest pain or angina. When the blockage gets too severe, CABG is needed to re-establish blood supply to the heart muscle.
What to expect before heart surgery
Before your surgery is scheduled, you will undergo some or all of the following tests:
- Blood and urine tests
- Chest X-ray
- Coronary angiogram (cardiac catheterization)
- Echocardiogram (ECHO)
- Electrocardiogram (EKG)
- Physical exam
- Pulmonary function tests if you have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
You may need to stop taking certain medications for one week before cardiac surgery, such as:
- Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors
- Aspirin or other anti-inflammatory drugs
What to expect the day of heart surgery
Please bring any Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) forms or insurance paperwork that needs to be filled out to the hospital with you. Before your procedure, an anesthesiologist will meet with you to answer questions and explain the process.
For your surgery, you will be placed under general anesthesia—a combination of IV medications and inhaled gases that put you to sleep. The anesthesiologist will monitor your brain waves to ensure you remain asleep throughout the procedure and will not feel any pain.
Recovering from heart surgery
At TriStar Medical Group, we support you during your recovery from heart surgery. Our care team works closely with your cardiologist and primary care physician to help you get back to your life as quickly and safely as possible.
Sometimes after surgery, you may need additional rehabilitation in a facility or home health assistance. Our team works with you to determine what is best for your condition, including what medications you may need. Occasionally, you may require oxygen or other medical devices. If you need this, our team helps you set it up before you leave for home. We also provide detailed instructions and information for any new medications you may need.
There are also guidelines and restrictions you should follow while recovering from heart surgery, such as:
- Avoid people with flu-like symptoms.
- Do not smoke or be around others who are smoking.
- Do not lift anything heavier than 3 pounds for eight weeks. Do not lift anything more than 20 pounds for an additional four weeks.
- Do not take any over-the-counter medications without checking with your doctor first.
- Eat a nutritious diet as described in your discharge packet. Avoid empty calories from foods like candy and chips. If you're a diabetic or on a special diet before surgery, stick to your diet during your recovery.
- Pain medications should be used as needed.
- Prioritize daily exercise. The first day at home, take at least three short walks up to 10 minutes each. You may also take the stairs, taking one at a time until you're ready. Do not walk outdoors if the temperature is greater than 85 F or less than 45 F.
- Shower every day with an antibacterial soap. Do not soak in a tub, hot tub or swim in a pool. Do not apply any antibiotic creams or lotions unless instructed to do so by your doctor.
Call your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following:
- Cough, shortness of breath or chest pain
- Fever greater than 101.5 F
- Nausea and/or vomiting you can't control with medication or lasts longer than expected
- Pain or burning during urination, urgent or frequent urination or persistent blood in the urine
- Pain and/or swelling in your feet, calves or legs
- Redness, swelling, tenderness or drainage
In case of an emergency, call 911 immediately or go to your nearest emergency room (ER).
When you are discharged from the hospital, you will be given an appointment to follow up with your doctor. After your doctor releases you from care, it is important to also visit your cardiologist. You can begin cardiac rehabilitation soon after you visit your surgeon.
You may experience emotional side effects such as depression. If you feel like your progress isn't fast enough, talk with your spouse, family or close friends. Exercise will also help you manage depression. Feelings tend to subside as you begin to resume normal activity. Although you are not permitted to drive, you are not confined to your home. As you are able, it is important to try to avoid any stressful situations.
The average length of time before returning to work is eight to 12 weeks. We are happy to provide you with a return-to-work notice after your follow-up visit with your doctor.