Heart and vascular surgery in Anchorage, Alaska

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At Alaska Regional Hospital, our cardiovascular surgeons perform a range of heart and vascular procedures to improve heart function and blood flow. We are committed to using the latest technological advancements, including minimally invasive surgery, to help Anchorage patients move past heart and vascular complications to live happier and healthier lives.

For more information about our heart and vascular surgical services, please call (907) 264-2911.

Adult heart and vascular surgery

Studies show the quality of a cardiac surgery program often depends on the number of procedures performed, and our program is home to the state's most highly skilled cardiac surgeons. Performing cutting-edge procedures, they are at the forefront of cardiac surgery on a national level.

Conditions we treat

Our heart and vascular surgery program offers comprehensive, state-of-the-art cardiology care for adult cardiac diseases of the chest including:

  • Aortic dissections
  • Congenital heart abnormalities
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Heart attacks
  • Heart arrhythmias, such as atrial fibrillation
  • Infections of the aortic, mitral or tricuspid valves
  • Stenosis or insufficiency of the aortic, mitral or tricuspid valves

Surgeries we perform

Armed with the latest technologies, we are equipped to treat cardiac and vascular conditions and diseases of all degrees. Whether you need complex surgery, are able to receive cutting-edge minimally invasive treatment, have poor circulation or blood clots, our surgical team works to meet your specific needs. The surgeries we offer include:

Beating-heart surgery

Traditionally, open-heart surgery requires the heart to be motionless, stopped via a special chemical solution and then is restarted upon completion of the procedure. The process of restarting the heart and reintroducing blood flow is called reperfusion, though it is important to know that complications such as arrhythmias and heart attacks can occur as a result.

However, reperfusion injury can be avoided if the heart is kept beating during surgery, a process called beating-heart surgery. Beating-heart surgery is a technically demanding, specialized form of surgery utilizing a special device to stabilize the part of the heart that is the surgical focus. The heart continues to beat and circulate blood throughout the operation. At Alaska Regional, our highly skilled surgeons are able to perform over 40 percent of all heart surgeries using the beating heart technique.

High risk and complex cardiac surgery

Heart surgery can be particularly complex for high-risk patients, such as the elderly, people who have had several heart surgeries, patients with severe blockages and those with complicated health problems. The cardiac surgeons at Alaska Regional have the advanced capabilities to meet the unique needs of this patient population.

With complex, invasive heart surgery, our surgeons make incisions down the front of the chest, cutting through the breastbone to get to the heart, a technique known as median sternotomy. Years of refinement and technical development have made this type of open-chest heart surgery highly safe and effective, however, it is still important to know that median sternotomy can still be considered highly traumatic. As such, after surgery, some particularly high-risk patients can receive sternal plating, a technique where the breastbone is rejoined with small titanium plates.

Minimally invasive cardiac and vascular surgery

In specific cases, minimally invasive open-heart surgery techniques allow surgeons to perform surgery through smaller incisions. These techniques can allow for a faster recovery, shorter hospital stay and a swift return to your previous lifestyle. Additionally, there is typically less postoperative pain, decreased need for transfusions and a lower risk of wound infections. Smaller incisions also lead to a more acceptable cosmetic result.

At Alaska Regional, minimally invasive cardiac surgery can be used to treat:

  • Aortic valve replacement
  • Atrial septal abnormalities
  • Mitral valve repair and mitral valve replacement

Additionally, we treat vascular conditions and diseases of all degrees. With the technology and evolving surgical landscape that has been afforded to us, we are able to utilize these minimally invasive techniques to achieve maximum results that previously were only available through traditional surgical means.

Some of the minimally invasive vascular surgeries we offer include:

  • Abdominal aortic aneurysm repair
  • Carotid endarterectomy
  • Femoropopliteal bypass surgery
  • Open and robot-assisted thoracic surgeries, including diaphragmatic pacing implantation and diaphragmatic plication for diaphragmatic paralysis