The Region's Leader in Cardiac Care. Teamwork. Passion. Patient-focused.
Kaweah Delta's open-heart surgery program was established in 1996, and
within three years was named a 100 Top Heart Hospital in the nation. Since that
time, more than 6,000 open-heart surgeries have been performed and the program
has grown to encompass the leadership of two experienced and talented
cardiothoracic surgeons including former Mayo Clinical Associate Sergio
Caminha, MD, and Leheb Araim, MD, who not only trained alongside the first
physician to perform a heart transplant in Kentucky, but was named Kaweah
Delta’s Physician of the Year 2010in his first year in Visalia. The focus of
our program is to enhance the recovery process and improve quality of life for
our heart patients. Kaweah Delta's cardiac surgeons, cardiologists, vascular
surgeons, nurses, perfusionists, and cardiac technicians bring together many
years of experience and innovative treatment strategies to provide heart
patients with an unparalleled level of care. Together, we work as a team to
provide patients with integrated and evidence-based medicine - and the level of
care you need for heart disease without having to leave home.
More than a million heart surgeries take place in the U.S. each year to
correct heart problems. In California, Kaweah Delta has one of the highest
open-heart surgery volumes in the state. During open-heart surgery, surgeons
cut through or just above a person's breastbone to open the chest allowing them
to operate on the heart.
Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery
Coronary artery bypass, also known as bypass surgery, is performed when a
major blockage is found in the arteries of the heart. Generally, a vein is
harvested from another part of the body, usually the leg, to bypass or
"graft" the blockage and get blood flowing correctly in and out of the
heart. Endoscopic vein harvesting (EVH) is the most common way in which to
harvest a vein for bypass surgery. Kaweah Delta was the first in the region to
do EVH and continues to be the Valley leader in this area. Boston Scientific
recently recognized Kaweah Delta Registered Nurse Norman Solis, as a Gold
Member in the EVH Leadership Circle for performing between 1000-1500 EVH cases,
making him one of the top EVH clinicians in the U.S. and the world.
Heart valves control the flow of blood from one chamber to another.
Normally, each of the valves opens wide enough to let blood flow through then
closes tightly to stop leaking backward.
Two common problems caused by valve disease are narrowing of the valve
opening and leaking of a valve. When a valve narrows or leaks, blood flow is
restricted. This puts strain on the heart and can lead to heart failure and
irregular heart rhythms. When any of this occurs, surgery is often needed to
repair the problem.
An Atrial Septal Defect (ADS) occurs when there is a hole in the wall or
septum in the upper chambers of the heart. The hole in the wall allows blood to
flow both directions between the right and left atrium. This is caused by an
interruption in development of the septum during fetal development. An ADS is
repaired surgically by patching or closing the opening with sutures.
A Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD) occurs when a hole develops between the
right and left ventricle. This allows blood to flow from the left ventricle to
the right ventricle and to re-circulate through the lungs. VSD may occur during
fetal development or after a heart attack. A VSD may be repaired surgically
with sutures or by patching the hole.
Maze Procedure (Atrial Fibrillation)
The maze procedure is a surgical treatment that stops an irregular
heartbeat, lessening the risk of blood clots or stroke. This procedure can be
used during open-heart surgery, coronary artery bypass and valve repair or
replacement and allows a surgeon to create scar tissue to block the signals
that cause the irregular heartbeat.
Kaweah Delta's thoracic surgery program is emerging to provide Central
Valley residents with specialized surgical treatment of organs in the chest.
The needs in the Valley are great for thoracic surgery, partly due to the
area's high incidence of lung cancer, lung transplantation and surgery for
emphysema and infections resulting from the area’s poor air quality. Thoracic
surgery can treat diseased or injured organs in the thorax including the
esophagus, the trachea, membranes that protect a person’s lung, the area that
separates their lungs, and their chest wall, diaphragm, heart and lungs.
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