It wasn’t until 1952 that the first successful open heart surgery was performed, to close a hole in heart of a little girl in Minnesota. Soon after, Deborah Heart and Lung Center in southern New Jersey was one of the first facilities on the East Coast to perform successful heart surgery and pioneered some of the initial procedures.
In the years since, medical science has blessed many cardiac patients with minimally-invasive techniques to address heart problems without having to open the chest cavity, instead guiding whisker-fine catheters through arteries to correct a problem.
But heart surgery is still often the best, if not the only option, for many patients for whom a non-surgical intervention just isn’t appropriate, according to Dr. Lynn McGrath, Chair of Surgery and Vice President of Medical Affairs at Deborah. Until recently, patients undergoing heart surgery were put on cardio-pulmonary bypass, whereby their blood is oxygenated by a heart-lung machine that allows the surgeon to operate on a non-beating heart.
One of the most exciting developments in the area of heart surgery over the last decade is performing some heart surgeries without stopping the heart. It avoids the potential side effects and complications of the heart-lung machine such as stroke, mental confusion, bleeding, fever, and fluid accumulation; but Dr. McGrath stresses it requires superior speed and efficiency from the heart surgeon and his/her entire surgical team.
Dr. McGrath has performed some 12,000 heart surgeries. While 30% of heart surgeries in New Jersey are now performed “off-pump,” Dr. McGrath performs 90% of his heart surgeries with the heart still beating. As a result, Deborah Heart and Lung Center routinely grants a new lease on life to patients with lower complications and better survival rates.
In two podcasts, KYW’s Rasa Kaye talks with Dr. McGrath about open heart surgery at Deborah.
To learn more, visit Deborah.org »