Heart & Vascular

Cardiac Surgery

Video: David Wyatt, M.D., a cardiothoracic surgeon at Carilion Clinic discusses heart bypass surgery.

Daunting as it is to face heart surgery, it helps to know that modern medicine has made enormous strides in safety and effectiveness. Heart surgery patients are in expert hands at Carilion Clinic, where our cardiac surgeons are highly experienced at using the most advanced technologies and procedures to perform the complete range of invasive and minimally invasive heart surgeries for valve repair and replacement, coronary artery bypasses, and other cardiac conditions.

Carilion is the only healthcare system in western Virginia with a hybrid operating room. Our cardiac surgeons use state-of-the-art technology to perform the most complex open heart surgery as well as minimally invasive procedures to help our patients spend less time in the hospital and recover more quickly.

Our heart surgeons specialize in complex cardiovascular procedures, including:

  • Coronary artery bypass grafting (on and off pump)
  • Complex coronary revascularization including hybrid procedures
  • Transmyocardial laser revascularization
  • Mitral valve repair and replacement
  • Aortic valve replacement
  • Minimally invasive valve surgery
  • Port access surgery (CABG)
  • Aortic aneurysm repair
  • Thoracic aortic endografts
  • Aortic root surgery including valve sparing technique
  • Aortic dissection treatment
  • Left ventricular remodeling surgery
  • Implantation of ventricular assist devices
  • Cardiac arrhythmia surgery
  • Minimally invasive atrial fibrillation surgery
  • Pacemaker and defibrillator implantation
  • Endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy


Video: Martha Johnson
ECMO Patient

Carilion Clinic is also proud to offer extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, or ECMO, a life-saving procedure used to provide oxygen to patients with severely damaged hearts or lungs and are unable to maintain sufficient oxygenation of the body's organ system. ECMO is used when a patient's respiratory systems fails to respond to standard treatments such as mechanical ventilation, increased oxygenation, and medications.

This technique provides life support to treat patients in respiratory failure due to a number of reasons, including pneumonia, septic shock, viruses that attack the respiratory system (such as H1N1 influenza), and acute lung injury from a trauma.

There are two main types of ECMO. With veno-venous ECMO, a patient's heart continues to pump blood while ECMO provides oxygenation and gas exchange for the lungs, allowing them to rest and heal. Patients in acute respiratory distress who are likely to recover lung function can be kept on the machine for as long as two to six weeks. With veno-arterial ECMO, the machine bypasses both the heart and lungs while providing oxygen to the body's organ system. It is used for a shorter period of time, because if the heart doesn't bounce back fairly quickly, the long-term prognosis is poor.

Read Our Cardiac Surgery Patient Education Guide