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High-quality Patient Outcomes With Minimally Invasive Cardiac Surgery

Rapidly emerging innovations are transforming the management of structural heart disease. The UC San Francisco Cardiac Surgery Program is on the forefront of these advances, including the latest minimally invasive techniques. 

“At UCSF there’s a culture of pushing the envelope of innovation. We have a very large transcatheter valve program and one of the largest minimally invasive valve programs in the country,” said Tom C. Nguyen, MD, FACS, FACC, chief of UCSF’s Division of Adult Cardiothoracic Surgery. Cardiac surgery volumes have increased 40 percent since he joined UCSF in January 2021.

Nguyen is an expert in minimally invasive heart surgery and transcatheter procedures, including transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) and MitraClip™ , having performed more than 2,400 implantations. “The most important thing for me is to get folks back on their feet as quickly and efficiently as possible so they can recover and be back to their loved ones,” Nguyen said.

Minimally invasive cardiac procedures show promising results comparable to those of open surgery but with far less blood loss and pain, lower incidence of infection, decreased mechanical ventilation time, shorter hospital stays, faster recovery and return to normal activities, and smaller scars. 

Valve disease treatment specialists

Less-invasive mitral surgery by experienced surgeons leads to higher mitral repair rates and lower morbidity compared to conventional sternotomy, according to a study co-authored by Nguyen. 

“My team and I at UCSF recently performed a minimally invasive aortic valve replacement (AVR) via a four-centimeter thoracotomy incision in a patient with a heavily calcified bicuspid aortic valve,” said Nguyen. “The patient was home in three days and back to work in a week." 

The latest coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) techniques 

CABG is one of the most common procedures cardiac patients undergo. At UCSF, bilateral mammary arterial grafting is utilized more than 90 percent of the time with lower complication and higher long-term survival rates compared to single internal mammary arterial grafting.

Rodrigo de Souza, MD, joined the team in May 2021. He specializes in endoscopic cardiovascular surgery and is particularly interested in minimally invasive CABG.  “Using minimally invasive techniques and cutting-edge technology, we can give patients fast recovery times, less pain and the best aesthetic results,” de Souza said. 

A multidisciplinary, patient-centered approach

UCSF’s multidisciplinary team works together to fully evaluate each patient’s condition, needs and preferences to establish a comprehensive treatment plan that fits the patient’s unique circumstances and ensures the highest-quality outcomes. Building strong and collaborative relationships with referring physicians is an essential tenet. The UCSF team is regularly involved in the latest research and technological developments in the field, drawing on this experience to deliver innovative, patient-centered care.  

The high-volume UCSF Cardiac Surgery Program specializes in:

  •       Coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG)
  •       Minimally invasive mitral valve surgery 
  •       Minimally invasive aortic valve surgery
  •       Open mitral and aortic surgery 
  •       TAVR and mitral (MitraClip™) procedures 
  •       Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO)
  •       Heart transplant
  •       Left ventricular assist devices (LVADs)
  •       Aortic aneurysm surgery 
  •       Minimally invasive atrial septal defect (ASD) closure
  •       Ventricular assist device (VAD) implantation

“Small incisions. Big difference. My philosophy is treating patients like family and making sure they have the best operation possible, with the fastest recovery,” said Nguyen. 

To learn more:

UCSF Cardiac Surgery Program

Phone: (415) 353-1606 | Fax: (415) 353-1312

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