Valley Heart & Vascular Institute - Cardiac Surgery Procedures/Techniques
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Minimally Invasive Cardiac Surgery

Traditional heart bypass surgery calls for surgeons to stop a beating heart and rely on a heart-lung machine for the duration of the surgery.

At The Valley Hospital, we have a better technique.

It’s called Off-Pump surgery, or Beating Heart Surgery. We don’t stop the heart and we don’t use a heart-lung machine.

And that’s better for you. Why?

In 2008 at The Valley Hospital, 94.3% of patients needing bypass surgery were operated on in this way - with zero mortality. This figure result rivals the best cardiac surgery programs in the nation.

Beating Heart Surgery is minimally invasive.  Potential benefits include:

  • a shorter hospital stay
  • less bleeding
  • less chance for infection
  • less risk of an irregular heartbeat

Most patients also experience:

  • a shorter recovery time
  • reduced need for blood transfusions
  • reduced risk of bleeding, stroke and kidney failure.

High-risk patients with additional diseases like lung disease, kidney failure and peripheral vascular disease may benefit from this technique as well.

Contact us for more information: 201-447-8377 or

More About Off-Pump Bypass Surgery (Beating Heart Surgery)

Thanks to recent advancements, heart bypass surgery can be performed in a minimally invasive manner in a procedure called Off-Pump Coronary Artery Bypass (OPCAB), also known as off-pump surgery, or beating heart surgery. In tradtional bypass surgery (on-pump surgery), the heart is stopped and doctors utilize a heart-lung machine to stabilize the patient. But during the OPCAB, the heart continues to beat and surgeons can perform bypass surgery on all areas of the heart.

Click here to see a video of an off-pump procedure. A short movie will play showing a surgeon creating an anastomosis, or connection, between a vein and an artery. Please note: The video is of an actual surgery taking place and may not be suitable for some individuals. You will need Flash Player 8 or higher to see the video. If the video does not play, click on the "Video requires..." line at the bottom of the window to install an updated Flash Player.

CABG and OPCAB: A Quick Comparison



Can treat multiple blockages

Can treat multiple blockages

Cannot be performed on the frail or elderly, patients with kidney disease or lung disease or those at high risk for stroke

Can be performed on high-risk patients with multiple blockages

Long vertical incision through breastbone

Long vertical incision through breastbone

Heart must be cooled and stilled; heart-lung machine used

Performed on a beating heart,
without heart-lung machine

General anesthesia required

General anesthesia required

Hospital stay: 7 days

Hospital stay: 4–6 days

Convalescence: 6–8 weeks

Convalescence: 4–6 weeks

Valve Surgery

The most common valve procedures are valve repair and valve replacement, both done minimally at the Valley Medical Group. While most hospitals simply choose to replace valves, Valley’s surgeons have great skill in repairing the heart’s own valves. Both valve repair and replacement surgeries are performed by making a three to four inch incision in the sternum or on the side of the chest. Specialized instruments are used to reach the heart.

Video Assisted Thoracic Surgery (VATS)

Video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS) is a technique that involves three small incisions between the ribs. Physicians insert a laparoscope and other instruments through the incisions. While the scope magnifies and projects structures within the chest cavity onto a video monitor, surgeons complete the operation.

This minimally invasive procedure presents a sharp contrast to traditional open chest surgery, which involves a large incision, hospital stay of seven to 12 days, and months of recovery. VATS eliminates the need for large incisions, making it a kinder, gentler approach. Patients endure less trauma to the chest wall, experience far less pain, and require much less pain medication.

For more information, please call the Valley Medical Group at 201-447-8377.

Surgical procedures performed in minimally invasive ways are distinguished by the small incision and specialized instruments and technology used to treat the heart. Incisions are 3 to 4 inches on average, about half that of traditional surgery. Smaller incisions mean quicker recovery and reduced scarring. Many patients also experience less pain, fewer medical complications, and a reduced need for post-surgical pain medication.

The surgeons of the Valley Medical Group are highly experienced in minimally invasive procedures and look forward to caring for you or your loved one. Please call us today at 201-447-8377 to learn how we can help you.

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