Procedures and treatments
Procedures and treatments help to diagnose, treat and manage your heart condition. Sometimes, procedures help to give your doctor more information about your heart condition. There are many different types of procedures and treatments for heart disease, including surgery to repair problems such as blockages and holes, and attaching devices to help your heart rate return to normal. Depending on the severity of your heart condition, you may need more than one procedure or treatment.
Cardiac procedures and treatments
A Bentall procedure is surgery to help correct problems with your aorta. Your aorta’s role is to carry oxygen-rich blood from your heart to the rest of your body. Sized at around 30 centimetres long and 2.5 cm wide, your aorta is the largest artery in your body.
A cardiac biopsy, also known as a heart biopsy or myocardial biopsy, is a procedure where a doctor takes a few small samples of your heart muscle tissue for examination.
Cardiac Bypass Surgery
Cardiac bypass surgery is an operation that treats blocked coronary arteries, which are the blood vessels that supply your heart with blood. Cardiac bypass surgery doesn’t actually remove the blockages in the arteries - instead, it creates an alternate pathway (also known as a “bypass route”) allowing blood to flow around the blockage and into your heart. The surgery is also known as “bypass surgery” or Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting (CABG).
A cardioversion procedure helps to correct irregular heart rhythms (arrhythmias). It’s a short procedure that uses an electrical current to bring your heart rhythm back to normal.
Catheter ablation is a treatment that uses energy (radiofrequency) to remove small areas of heart tissue that cause abnormally fast heartbeats, called tachyarrhythmias.
A coronary angiogram looks closely at your coronary arteries to see if they are narrowed or blocked. It uses a special type of X-ray dye.
A coronary angioplasty is a procedure that opens narrowed or blocked coronary arteries. Your doctor places a stent in your blocked artery (a stent is a small, wire mesh tube).
An EPS (electrophysiology study) looks at how well your heart’s “electrical circuit” works. It can also identify irregular heartbeats (arrhythmias). An EPS can help your doctor to see how well your heart’s electrical system is working, find the source and type of abnormal heart rhythm and decide the best treatment for your arrhythmia.
Heart Transplant Surgery
A heart transplant is surgery to replace your heart with a donor’s heart. A heart will be donated to you from a person who has recently passed away and whose family have agreed to donate their heart. You may be considered for a heart transplant if you have been diagnosed with end stage heart failure and need life-saving treatment.
An Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD) is a life-saving device that helps to fix fast, abnormal heart rhythms. The ICD sends electrical impulses to the heart to slow down the fast heart rhythm and return it to normal. ICDs consist of two parts: the defibrillator and leads. The device sits under the skin on the left or right side of your chest, where it monitors your heart rhythm 24 hours a day.
Implantable Loop Recorder
An Implantable Loop Recorder (also known as an ILR) is a small device, about the size of a USB stick, which constantly monitors your heartbeat. When you’re experiencing symptoms, you can capture and record your heart rate simply by placing a hand held ‘activator’ over the spot where the ILR has been inserted. The ILR device is inserted underneath your skin, on the left side of your chest. It’s a useful device which helps your doctor determine whether any symptoms you might be experiencing are related to heart disease.
Left Atrial Appendage Closure
Left atrial appendage closure is a procedure which closes off the opening of your left atrial appendage. Your left atrial appendage is a small pouch, shaped like a windsock, found in the top left of your heart (the left atrium). Like your appendix, your left atrial appendage doesn’t really have a clear role to play in your body.
Mitral Valve Clips
A mitral valve clip procedure repairs your damaged mitral valve without the need for open-heart surgery. A small metal clip, about the size of a large staple, is attached to your mitral valve via a vein in your leg. The clip stays there permanently and helps your valve to function properly again.
A pacemaker is a small device which helps maintain a healthy heart beat using electrical impulses. It consists of a battery and leads, and it sits under the skin on the left or right side of your chest. The pacemaker sends electrical signals to your heart to assist it to beat at a normal rate.
Right Heart Catheter (RHC)
A right heart catheter (also known as RHC) is a procedure where a catheter is passed into a vein in your neck or groin to measure the pressure in your heart and lungs. The procedure helps your doctor to work out how well your heart is pumping.
Septal Defect Closures
Atrial Septal Defects (ASD) and Ventricular Septal Defects (VSD) closures are treatments that repair holes in your heart, known as septal heart defects. Septal heart defects are congenital, meaning you’re born with them. They are openings in the wall (septum) of your heart.
TAVI stands for Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation. It’s a procedure that helps to repair damaged aortic valves. During a TAVI procedure, an artificial valve made of natural animal heart tissue (usually from a cow or a pig) will be implanted into your heart.
Your heart valves control the one-way blood flow through your heart’s four chambers. Think of them as doors that open and close to let the blood pass through. Heart valve surgery is open heart surgery to replace or repair one of your four heart valves. Some people are born with damaged heart valves, while others develop them over time as a result of diseases or infections.
Ventricular Assist Device
A ventricular assist device, also known as a VAD, is a mechanical pump that helps your heart to pump blood throughout your body. If your heart is very weak, you need a little help recovering from surgery or are on a heart transplant waiting list, a VAD may be recommended for you.