Cardiovascular Surgery

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Cardiovascular surgery is a medical specialty that is concerned with the surgical treatment of conditions connected to the heart and the thoracic aorta, according to the National Library of Medicine. With a background that dates back to the late 19th century, it is possible to comprehend the range of current heart surgery. Since that time, cardiac surgery has changed and is still changing thanks to the efforts of numerous private surgeons who are providing an increasing variety of treatments for different cardiac conditions. (1)

General view of operating theater with modern medical equipment and computers during a complex surgery

Overview and Definition

Cardiovascular surgery, alternatively known as heart surgery, is a medical procedure that involves the manipulation of the heart or blood vessels responsible for transporting blood to and from the heart. It is done on an ongoing basis for those who have heart complaints or have had a heart attack, stroke, or blood clot and are at high risk of developing these conditions. 

Cardiovascular surgery may not always be necessary to treat heart-related problems, but to manage or prevent croakers heart attacks and blood clots, treat irregular heart readings, restore narrowed or dammed pathways, repair natural heart disease, and correct damaged or diseased heart valves It can be recommended for colorful reasons such as While some cardiovascular diseases require open surgery, most can be treated in minimally invasive ways using catheters and robotics. A medical platoon fit for a primary care charlatan, cardiologist, cardiovascular surgeon, anesthesiologist, and other specialists provide care for cardiovascular surgery cases.

Education and Training 

Although a highly lucrative profession, the education, and training required to become a surgeon are extensive and time-consuming. It is among the most complex and comprehensive programs available. Before enrolling in medical school, students must have a bachelor's degree, which can be supplemented by pre-medical programs offered by certain institutions. Such programs typically consist of a variety of courses including laboratory biology, laboratory inorganic and organic chemistry, mathematics (including calculus), laboratory physics, and English and writing.

In the third year of the undergraduate program, students usually take the MCAT exam, which assesses their understanding of the concepts they study in preparation for medical school. After entering medical school, the first two years are dedicated to learning the sciences and getting an introduction to the field of clinical medicine. 

During the third year, students are exposed to a range of clinical disciplines that enable them to grasp how the different disciplines are interrelated and give a general idea of what lies ahead. The fourth year of the medical school consists of electives and additional clinical exposure, during which specialty requirements begin to take shape.

Typically, the surgical program in medical school lasts seven years and includes four years of medical school preparation followed by two years of clinical residency. All surgical programs comply with the regulations of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), which require adherence to strict requirements for general surgery and thoracic surgery. (2)

Practicing as a Cardiothoracic surgeon

Heart valve replacement surgery during open-heart surgery in operating room

Cardiovascular surgeons specialize in the surgical treatment of heart and blood vessel diseases or disorders.

In most cases, the diagnosis of heart disease begins with the primary care doctor who then refers the patient to a cardiologist. If the cardiologist decides that surgery is necessary, he or she will refer the patient to a cardiovascular surgeon, who will become a new member of the patient's cardiac health team. After heart surgery, patients continue to receive care from their cardiologists.

Cardiovascular surgeons perform a variety of surgeries, including repairing and replacing heart valves, correcting heart defects, coronary artery bypass, repairing aneurysms, trans myocardial laser revascularization, and heart transplants. Additionally, they work on blood vessels throughout the body, such as the aorta. 

According to The Texas Heart Institute, modern heart surgeries may also involve the use of ventricular assist devices (VADs), which are mechanical devices that help a failing heart pump blood effectively. Typically, patients turn to a heart surgeon only on the advice of a cardiologist who diagnoses their condition and determines the need for surgery. In some cases, other specialists such as pulmonologists or gastroenterologists may advise based on the patient's particular situation.

Seeing a heart surgeon is only necessary if heart surgery is needed as determined by a cardiologist. Otherwise, a cardiologist will help manage overall heart health. (3)

Procedures Performed

  • Aortic Aneurysm Repair

The aorta is known as the main artery of the body. An aortic aneurysm is when this main artery expands and bulges outward. Cardiologists can treat patients living with an aortic aneurysm by placing a stent in the aorta. What is expected at the end of this procedure is to shrink the enlarged area of the aorta around the stent.

  • Aortic Valve Surgery

Doctors may recommend this procedure to replace the aorta if a patient experiences aortic regurgitation, a condition that occurs when the aortic valve does not close completely, allowing blood to leak back into the heart. The doctor may also prefer surgery if the patient encounters aortic stenosis, a condition that develops when the aortic valve does not fully open and reduces blood flow to the heart.

  • Complex Reoperations

It is common for patients who have had heart surgery in the past to need someone else in the future. A cardiac surgeon could need to do another surgery due to complications from the previous procedure, a newly discovered ailment, or a failed valve replacement, to name just a few possibilities.

  • Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery

For individuals with coronary artery disease who have blocked or constricted arteries, cardiologists may advise coronary artery bypass surgery. To provide an alternative pathway for the blood that must travel to the heart, this operation involves removing a vein from another area of the body and connecting it directly to the coronary artery.

  • Heart Valve Surgery

Cardiologists can operate on diseased heart valves, typically the aortic or mitral valve, to repair or replace them. Open heart surgery or minimally invasive valve surgery, such as percutaneous surgery or robot-assisted surgery, can typically be used to do this repair.

  • Transcatheter Procedures (TAVR)

Transaortic valve repair, often known as TAVR, can treat aortic stenosis-related chest discomfort, tiredness, and shortness of breath. In this process, a new replacement valve is installed within the damaged valve to repair it. (4)

Cardiovascular Surgery Expertises

Cardiovascular Surgery Blog Posts

  • 1- National Library of Medicine. Cardiac Surgery (

    2-Medical and Healthcare. Cardiac Surgeon: Education and Career Information. (

    3-The Texas Heart Institute. What is a Cardiovascular Surgeon? (

    4- University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System. CARDIOTHORACIC SURGERY PROCEDURES. (