Heart Surgery

What is heart surgery?

There are different types of surgeries to treat a variety of heart health problems. Doctors use heart surgery to:

  • Repair or replace heart valves, which control blood flow through the heart
  • Repair abnormal or damaged heart structures
  • Implant medical devices that help control the heartbeat or support heart function and blood flow
  • Replace a damaged heart with a healthy heart from a donor
  • Treat heart failure and coronary heart disease
  • Control abnormal heart rhythms
  • Fix heart defects

What conditions treated with heart surgery?

Heart surgery types

There are many different types of heart surgery including:

  • Heart Bypass Surgery - Heart bypass surgery, also known as coronary bypass surgery, creates a new path for blood and oxygen to go around a blockage to reach your heart. Coronary artery bypass surgery can be used to improve blood flow to your heart.

  • Vascular Surgery - Vascular bypass surgery reroutes the blood supply around a blocked artery.

  • Endovascular Sugery - Endovascular surgeries are less invasive procedures for repairing blood vessel problems.

  • Heart Valve Surgery  - The heart has four valves: aortic, mitral, pulmonary and tricuspid. Heart valve surgery is performed when one or more of the valves isn't opening and closing properly.

  • Pacemaker implantation: A pacemaker is a small device surgically implanted under the skin. It sends electrical impulses to the heart muscle to maintain an appropriate heart rate and rhythm.

  • Implantable cardioverter defibrillator: Also surgically implanted under the skin, an ICD is an electronic device that constantly monitors the heart’s rhythm. When it detects an abnormal heart rhythm, it delivers energy to shock the heart back into beating regularly.

  • Heart transplant: A heart transplant is surgery to remove a person's diseased heart and replace it with a healthy heart from a deceased donor. Most heart transplants are done on patients who have end-stage heart failure.

  • Stent placement: A stent is a small mesh platform used to open narrowed or weakened arteries.

  • Convergent procedure: Performed by both a cardiothoracic surgeon and a cardiologist who is trained in electrophysiology working together, this approach is less invasive than open heart surgery and can be highly effective in restoring normal heart rhythm in appropriate patients.

  • Open heart surgery: Open heart surgery is any surgery in which the chest is opened and surgery is done on the heart muscle, valves, arteries, or other parts of the heart (such as the aorta). The term "open" means that the chest is "cut" open

Next Steps for Patients

While some patients are candidates for self-referral to our cardiovascular specialists, we recommend that you ask your primary care physician for help with the process. Find a Provider

Provider Referrals

If you are a provider who would like to refer a patient for MaineHealth cardiovascular surgery services, please review our clinical guidelines and call 207-773-8161. Clinical Guidelines

MaineHealth Cardiovascular Programs: