Surgeons at Holy Cross Hospital in Fort Lauderdale are now using a revolutionary procedure to perform coronary bypass surgery on a beating heart. The surgery is called off-pump coronary artery bypass or 'beating heart surgery.' Unlike traditional bypass surgery, which requires stopping the heart and artificially replacing its functions with a heart-lung machine, beating heart bypass surgery allows the heart to remain beating during the surgery. As a result, many of the complications associated with traditional bypass surgery are significantly reduced or eliminated with this new approach.
Because the heart-lung machine is not used during a beating heart procedure, there are numerous benefits for the patients, says Dr. Imad Tabry, a thoracic surgeon from Holy Cross. These benefits result in decreased trauma for the patient and an overall reduction in post-operative complications. For example, beating heart patients require fewer blood transfusions and medication than with traditional bypass surgery, and their recovery time is often shorter. They also suffer fewer neurological complications, such as stroke. Recent data from the New England Journal of Medicine indicates a higher incidence of cognitive dysfunction following traditional bypass surgery using the heart-lung machine.
Holy Cross Hospital is one of a select group of medical centers nationwide performing beating heart bypass surgery.
In addition to reducing complications that add to overall procedural costs, beating heart bypass surgery patients are awake earlier, breathe on their own more quickly and can resume their normal activities faster than traditional bypass surgery patients.
Beating heart bypass surgery has been adopted by many of the world's leading surgeons, benefiting tens of thousands of patients. Surgeons perform over 315,000 coronary bypass prcedures each year in the United States, of which approximately 25 percent are currently using the beating heart approach.