Health Library

The Health Library is a collection of health and wellness resources created for learning and accessibility. Select a topic below for related health information or search for a topic in the search bar for more information on other medical conditions.

Cardiothoracic Surgery

  • Discusses nonsurgical procedure, called catheter ablation, for atrial fibrillation if medicine is not effective or not tolerated. Also discusses implanting a pacemaker. Looks at why procedure is done, how well it works, and possible risks.

  • Topic guides reader through decision to get an ICD for heart rhythm problems. Provides general overview of what ICDs are and what heart rhythm problems can be helped with ICDs. Lists benefits and possible complications of getting an ICD.

  • Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) is a way to replace the aortic valve without open-heart surgery. This procedure is done to treat aortic valve stenosis. TAVR is often done through an incision (cut) in the groin. But sometimes a small cut is made in the chest. The doctor uses a tube called a catheter and...

  • Learn what cardiac catheterization for PDA is and how to prepare your child for it.

  • Learn what you can do at home to care for your child after a cardiac catheterization for PDA.

  • Learn what an EP study and ablation are and how to prepare your child for each one.

  • Learn what you can do at home to care for your child after an EP study and ablation.

  • Find out how you'll feel after a catheter ablation and how to take care of yourself at home.

  • Learn how lung surgery is done and what you can do to prepare.

  • Learn how you'll feel after lung surgery and how to take care of yourself at home.

  • Guides you through decision to have bypass surgery. Explains when bypass surgery might be needed. Covers other treatment options. Includes interactive tool to help you make your decision.

  • A balloon valvotomy is a treatment for mitral valve stenosis. It is a procedure that widens the mitral valve so that blood flows more easily through the heart. A balloon valvotomy is a minimally invasive procedure. A doctor uses a thin flexible tube (catheter) that is inserted through an artery in the groin or arm and...

  • Topic guides reader through decision to get a pacemaker for heart rate problems. Provides general overview of what pacemakers are and what heart problems can be helped with pacemakers. Lists benefits and possible complications of getting a pacemaker.

  • Balloon valvuloplasty (also called valvulotomy or valvotomy) is a procedure that widens a heart valve that is narrowed. The cause of this narrowing in the aortic valve is aortic valve stenosis. During this procedure, the doctor puts a thin, flexible tube called a catheter into a blood vessel in your upper leg (groin)...

  • Aortic valve replacement gives you a new aortic heart valve. The new valve may be mechanical or made of animal tissue. You and your doctor can decide before surgery which type of valve is best for you. The aortic valve opens and closes to keep blood flowing in the proper direction through your heart. When the aortic...

  • Commissurotomy is an open-heart surgery that repairs a mitral valve that is narrowed from mitral valve stenosis. During this surgery, a person is put on a heart-lung bypass machine. The surgeon removes calcium deposits and other scar tissue from the valve leaflets. The surgeon may cut parts of the valve structure. This...

  • Learn what bypass surgery does for your heart and what will happen during surgery.

  • Open surgery is done to repair an abdominal aortic aneurysm. It is called an open surgery because the abdomen is opened so the doctor can see and work on the aorta. Open surgery is the traditional method of repair. To repair the aneurysm, a doctor...

  • Endovascular repair is a procedure to fix an aortic aneurysm in the abdomen. It's called endovascular because a doctor repairs the aneurysm from the inside of the damaged blood vessel (the aorta). This is not a surgery. This is a minimally invasive...

  • Cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) uses a special type of pacemaker called a biventricular pacemaker (say "by-ven-TRICK-yuh-ler") to treat heart failure. This pacemaker sends electrical pulses to make the ventricles pump at the same time. A biventricular pacemaker is implanted in the chest, and it connects to...

  • Learn how surgery is done to repair or replace heart valves.

  • Learn what catheter ablation is and how it is done to treat atrial fibrillation.

  • Learn about catheter ablation for supraventricular tachycardia and how this procedure is done.

  • Guides you through the decision to have catheter ablation for the heart rhythm problem supraventricular tachycardia. Lists benefits and risks of catheter ablation and medical therapy. Includes interactive tool to help you make your decision.

  • Learn how an ICD works and how it can help your heart.

  • See what you can expect and how to prepare for getting a pacemaker.

  • See some tips for taking care of yourself after your procedure.

  • Learn how to take care of yourself and what activities to avoid after open-heart surgery.

  • Learn what transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) is and how it is done.

  • Discusses mediastinoscopy, a surgical procedure used to find problems in the upper chest and lungs. Covers why and how it is done. Looks at risks and how to prepare. Covers normal and abnormal results. Covers what to think about when having a mediastinoscopy.

  • What is mitral valve regurgitation? Mitral valve regurgitation means that one of the valves in your heart—the mitral valve—is letting blood leak backward into the upper area of the heart. Heart valves work like one-way gates, helping blood flow in one direction between heart chambers or in and out of the heart. The...

  • Covers types of coronary bypass surgeries, also called CABG. Includes minimally invasive surgeries. Links to slideshow of CABG. Looks at when surgery is done. Describes how surgery is done, recovery time, and risks.

  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) weakens the structure of the lung and may also damage the tiny air sacs (alveoli) in the lung. When these air sacs break down, larger airspaces known as bullae are formed. Bullae sometimes can become so...

  • Mitral valve replacement surgery may be needed for mitral valve regurgitation or mitral valve stenosis . Valve replacement is typically done as an open-heart surgery. Minimally invasive types of surgery may be another option. This document describes open-heart surgery. Before you have valve replacement...

  • Discusses aortic valve regurgitation. Discusses symptoms and how it is diagnosed. Covers treatment with medicines and aortic valve replacement surgery. Covers lifestyle changes to help the heart work better.

  • What is aortic valve stenosis? Aortic valve stenosis is a narrowing of the aortic valve. The aortic valve allows blood to flow from the heart's lower left chamber (ventricle) into the aorta and to the body. Stenosis prevents the valve from opening properly, forcing the heart to work harder to pump blood through the...

  • A lung biopsy removes a small piece of lung tissue which can be looked at under a microscope. The biopsy can be done in four ways. The method used depends on where the sample will be taken from and your overall health. Bronchoscopic biopsy. This type of biopsy uses a lighted instrument (bronchoscope)...

  • Pericardiocentesis is done to find the cause of fluid buildup around the heart and to relieve pressure on the heart. The tissue sac that surrounds the heart is called the pericardium. It protects the heart and parts of the major blood vessels connected to the heart. Normally, there is a small amount of fluid between...

  • In lung volume reduction surgery (LVRS), a large area of damaged lung is removed to allow the remaining lung tissue to expand when you breathe in. This surgery is done only for people with severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or with...

  • A heart transplant is a procedure in which a surgeon removes a diseased heart and replaces it with a donor heart. During a heart transplant, a mechanical pump circulates blood through the body while the surgeon removes the diseased heart and replaces it with a healthy heart from a recently deceased donor. The surgeon...

  • Covers procedure to destroy (ablate) tiny areas of heart muscle causing fast heart rate. Includes radiofrequency ablation and cryoablation. Covers use for supraventricular tachycardia (SVT), atrioventricular reciprocating tachycardia (AVRT), Wolff-Parkinson-White (WPW) syndrome, and ventricular tachycardia.

  • Discusses pacemakers used to treat bradycardia. Discusses various types of pacemakers. Covers how they work and how well they work, risks, and possible side effects.

  • Discusses surgical treatment to control irregular heartbeat and restore normal rhythm of heart. Looks at what to expect after surgery such as taking medicine such as Coumadin. Covers risks.

  • Looks at lung surgery (called thoracotomy) to treat lung cancer. Covers how it is done and what to expect after surgery. Covers its risks and how well it works. Offers illustrations on three types of surgery: wedge resection, lobectomy, and pneumonectomy.

  • What is an intra-aortic balloon pump? An intra-aortic balloon pump (IABP) is a mechanical device that helps the heart pump blood. This device is inserted into the aorta, the body's largest artery. It is a long, thin tube called a catheter with a balloon on the end of it. If you are hospitalized, your doctor may insert...

  • A ventricular assist device (VAD), also known as a heart pump, is a mechanical device that helps pump blood from the heart to the rest of your body. A VAD can be implanted in the chest or worn outside the body. If it is implanted, surgery is done to place it in the chest area. The pump part of the VAD is placed in a...

  • Answers questions about organ transplants. Covers becoming an organ donor and getting on a waiting list. Covers tests used to see if you'd be a good candidate. Looks at medicines that you might take after a transplant. Offers tips for staying healthy.

  • What is mitral valve stenosis? Mitral valve stenosis is a heart problem in which the mitral valve doesn't open as wide as it should. The valve becomes stiff or scarred, or the valve flaps become partially joined together. See a picture of mitral valve stenosis. Mitral valve stenosis can lead to heart failure; a...

  • What happens at the hospital before the CABG procedure? You will likely need to check into the hospital the night before or morning of your coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) procedure. You will take a shower with an antiseptic soap the night before surgery. You won't be allowed anything to eat or drink after...

  • How do you prepare for CABG surgery? There are many things that you can and must do in the days and weeks before your coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery. Your surgeon will give you specific instructions on how to prepare for your CABG surgery. CABG surgery is an invasive procedure that has a fairly long...

  • A team of surgeons, nurses, and other medical staff will participate in your coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery. Each team member has a specific set of responsibilities before, during, and after the surgery. CABG surgery is a complex operation. It involves a great deal of technical expertise and precision. The...

  • Each person's recovery from coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery is a little different. Your road to recovery has many steps, including time in the hospital, time at home, and participation in a rehabilitation program. You will hear a common theme during your recovery: Everyone heals at a different pace...

  • What happens in the first 24 hours after CABG surgery? After your coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery is finished, you will be transferred to a cardiac intensive care unit (CICU) or surgical ICU so that specially trained hospital staff can monitor your condition. The recovery process is different for every...

  • You will recover in the hospital after coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery until your doctors feel it is safe for you to go home. During this time, staff on the cardiac recovery floor will help begin your rehabilitation and educate you on how to care for yourself when you return home. You must demonstrate that...

  • Although you may return home a few days after the completion of your coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) procedure, it may take several months before you can return to all of the activities you enjoyed prior to surgery. Recovery from major surgery has both physical and emotional aspects. For the first month or two...

  • What are your responsibilities during your recovery from bypass surgery? You have several responsibilities while you are recovering from coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery, including: Caring for your wounds. Taking your medicines. Monitoring your weight. Improving your heart and lung...

  • People in recovery from coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery may need assistance from family members and friends in a variety of ways. You may help your loved one for several weeks during recovery with a number of tasks, including shopping, cleaning, and driving. You can also help support your loved one in making...

  • During coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery, your surgeon will use a healthy blood vessel from another part of your body to create an alternate route, or bypass, around narrowed or blocked sections of your coronary arteries. This bypass surgery allows more blood to reach your heart muscle. Your medical team...

  • Standard coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery works very well to improve blood flow to the heart. But the procedure is very invasive to your body for two major reasons. It involves making a large cut in your chest to expose your heart and arteries. It requires stopping your heart and connecting you to a...

  • Rheumatic fever is a bacterial infection that can cause problems with the heart's aortic and mitral valves. Rheumatic fever is caused by certain strains of streptococcal bacteria. A strep throat infection that isn't properly treated can trigger rheumatic fever. Rheumatic fever can damage heart muscle and heart valves...

  • Guides you through decision about choosing new valve to replace your heart valve if you have aortic valve problems or mitral valve problems. Compares benefits and risks of mechanical valves versus tissue valves. Includes interactive tool to help you make your decision.

  • The major decision in treating aortic valve regurgitation is whether to have aortic valve replacement surgery and, if so, when to do it. Your doctor will check the severity of your condition. Your doctor will also check your overall health to see if surgery is too risky for you. Then you and your doctor will weigh...

  • Guides through decision to get a pacemaker for heart failure. Answers common questions about pacemakers, such as how they work and are placed. Covers benefits and risks. Includes an interactive tool to help you make your decision.

  • Guides you through decision to get an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD). Gives information about ICDs and asks questions to help you learn if an ICD is right for you. Covers benefits and risks. Includes an interactive tool to help you decide.

  • What is heart valve disease? Heart valve disease is the term used for a number of conditions that affect the four valves of the heart. A heart valve disease happens when any of the heart's valves either cannot open well enough to let blood flow through (stenosis) or cannot close well enough to prevent backflow...

  • What is mitral valve prolapse? Your mitral valve controls blood flow on the left side of your heart. The valve opens and closes with each heartbeat. It works like a one-way gate, letting blood flow from your upper heart chamber to your lower chamber. When you have mitral valve prolapse (MVP), the valve closes after...

  • If you have mitral valve stenosis and you need surgery to treat it, you have a choice of repairing the valve or replacing it. Many things play a role in this decision. These things include whether you have symptoms or other health problems (or both), the severity of your mitral valve stenosis, the shape of the mitral...

  • To treat mitral valve regurgitation surgically, the options are to repair or replace the mitral valve. Repair of the heart valve may be recommended if it is likely that the valve can be repaired and that the repair will last a long time. Valve...

  • Guides you through the decision to have catheter ablation for the heart rhythm problem atrial fibrillation. Lists benefits and risks of catheter ablation and medical therapy. Includes interactive tool to help you make your decision.

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