Treatment for cardiac conditions can involve several different therapies, such as medication, lifestyle changes and cardiac surgery. At Tampa General Hospital, heart surgery is an integral part of our Heart & Vascular Institute. Our multidisciplinary approach to care means that our team of surgeons and specialists can treat a high volume of heart patients every year, resulting in a level of surgical expertise and skill that is among the best in the country. In fact, Tampa General Hospital has been named one of America's Best Hospitals for Cardiology & Heart Surgery as well as Best Florida Hospital for Cardiology & Heart Surgery by U.S. News & World Report for 2020-2021. Additionally, we were recognized as a High Performing Hospital for Heart Failure treatment.
What Are Some Types of Heart Surgery?
The cardiac surgeons at TGH have extensive experience in performing many complex cardiac surgeries, including:
Minimally Invasive Heart Surgery
Minimally invasive heart surgery is performed through a small incision, usually about 3 to 4 inches instead of the 6- to 8-inch incisions required for traditional surgery. Specialized surgical instruments are frequently used. Minimally invasive surgery can be used in place of traditional surgery for many procedures.
Aortic Aneurysm Repairs
Repairing an aortic aneurysm—when a balloon-like bulge forms along the aorta— involves inserting a tube-like device called a graft into the weakened blood vessel. This allows blood to flow easily through the vessel and prevents it from rupturing. We work closely with the vascular experts in TGH’s Aorta Program to perform these procedures.
Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (CABG) Surgery
During CABG surgery, surgeons attach a blood vessel taken from another area in the heart, legs or arms and graft it to a blocked artery, creating a detour for blood flow around the blockage.
For some patients, this procedure can be performed off pump, which means the heart is not stopped for surgery and placed on a heart-lung machine as with traditional bypass surgery. Instead, the heart continues to pump but is stabilized in a controlled environment during the procedure. This decreases the risk of mortality and morbidity.
This cardiac procedure is a robotic, minimally invasive option that blends a percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) and CABG procedures. It is typically performed when a patient has several coronary artery blockages that cannot be treated with PCI. The blockages are stented instead and a bypass graft is implanted. This can be performed without stopping the heart and thus results in fewer complications, less pain and a faster recovery for patients.
Implantable Defibrillator Insertion
During this cardiac surgery, a defibrillator is implanted into the chest wall to maintain a normal heart rhythm. The defibrillator works by sending a mild electric charge to the heart muscle when it detects an abnormally fast rhythm.
Pacemaker placement involves placing leads from a pacemaker in an area of the heart to help regulate the heartbeat when the natural rate is too slow to pump enough blood to the body. For patients with bradycardia (a type of heart arrhythmia characterized by an abnormally low heart rate), TGH offers the Micra® Transcatheter Pacing System (TPS), the world’s smallest leadless pacemaker.
Valve Repair or Replacement
This type of cardiac surgery is performed by repairing or replacing valves that are leaking or have narrowed with a new mechanical or tissue valve.
A minimally invasive valve replacement procedure called transcatheter aortic valve replacement, or TAVR, is also performed at TGH. TAVR replaces open surgery by accessing the diseased aortic valve percutaneously, usually through an artery in the leg. A collapsible aortic heart valve replaces the diseased valve without the need for cardiopulmonary bypass.
Ventricular Assist Devices (VADs) Implantation
During this procedure, a VAD, or a small mechanical device that helps an ailing heart pump blood, is implanted. VADs can be used short term while a patient waits for a heart transplant or long term for patients not eligible for transplantation.
Tampa General is one of very few hospitals in the nation that is able to implant VADs without opening the chest wall (sternotomy). The minimally invasive approach, known as lateral thoracotomy, involves placing a VAD on the heart via an incision in a patient’s side, typically through the ribcage just below and to the side of the breast.
Tampa General performed the first successful heart transplant in Florida and is now one of 12 centers nationally to have performed more than 500 heart transplants. Additionally, we're the fifth busiest cardiac transplant center in the U.S.
TGH is also a leader in using beating heart/lung perfusion systems during heart transplantation. These systems can sustain a donor heart with oxygenated blood before it is transplanted. This technology replaces the use of ice while transporting a donor heart, maintaining the condition of the donor heart after procurement and drastically expanding the four-hour window within which a donor heart must normally be procured and transplanted.
World-Class Cardiac Care
Tampa General Hospital provides world-class cardiac care in the Tampa Bay area. Our team has the experience and advanced technology to perform the most complex heart surgeries at high volumes. We participate in clinical trials that advance the treatment landscape, allowing us to produce the best outcomes for our patients.