Published on July 08, 2019

Cardiothoracic surgery: Improving and saving lives

Deon VigilanceSurgery on a beating heart.

Operations that help people with heart disease get back to enjoying their active life. Critical cancer surgeries.

These are just some of the many procedures cardiothoracic surgeons—who operate on the heart, lungs and other chest organs—perform at Mercy Catholic Medical Center – Mercy Fitzgerald Campus.

“Anything requiring chest surgery we can do,” says Deon W. Vigilance, MD, Chief of Cardiology at the Mercy Fitzgerald Campus.

Here’s a glimpse at some of the complex cardiothoracic procedures available at Mercy Fitzgerald:

  • Coronary artery bypass grafting. This reroutes blood around a portion of an artery in the heart that is blocked with plaque. The procedure helps prevent and treat heart attacks and is performed on a beating heart.
  • Heart valve surgery. This surgery is done to repair or replace valves in the heart that have become leaky, scarred or blocked. In many cases, heart valve surgery can relieve symptoms such as fatigue, shortness of breath and chest pain.
  • Other chest surgeries. These include lung and esophageal cancer procedures.

Less is better

Many cardiothoracic surgeries can be performed with minimally invasive techniques. Heart surgery is one example. Surgeons at Mercy Fitzgerald can operate on the heart through small incisions between the ribs instead of through a large, open chest incision.

One advantage? A faster return to your activities.

“Typically you find that these patients have a shorter hospital stay and a quicker overall recovery,” Dr. Vigilance says. “So they can get back to what they enjoy doing sooner.”