Combo Heart Repair

FRESNO, Calif.

Instead of major surgery, many doctors use angioplasty or stenting to open blocked arteries. But when more than one artery is clogged, bypass surgery is a must.

A new hybrid procedure is helping patients receive the benefits of surgery, without a major operation.

Larry Wineski teaches at a medical school, but two months ago, his heart gave him a lesson of his own, a textbook case of coronary artery disease.

"He said it was about a 90 percent blockage. I had absolutely no symptoms whatsoever," Wineski told Ivanhoe.

University doctors told Wineski he was a good candidate for surgery called hybrid revascularization, designed to restore normal blood flow to the heart.

Using robotic technology, they do a combined procedure, performing a bypass on the left coronary artery and placing stents in the other diseased arteries, all of it without opening the chest.

"That's what we call it, sort of a best of both worlds approach. The minimally invasive benefits of the stenting procedure, which involves a groin stick, and the long-term durability of a bypass operation," Michael E. Halkos, M.D., assistant professor of cardiothoracic surgery at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, GA, said.

Traditional surgery requires an incision down the middle of the chest. The hybrid procedure is done through a three-centimeter incision. The stents are placed with a catheter up the leg into the heart. Early results show patients recover faster with fewer complications.

"The technology is amazing. The technological changes that we see in all of medicine are just phenomenal, but this time, it's you. This time, it's me," Wineski said.

Just two months after surgery, Wineski is back on campus and back to his normal routine. This professor gives his surgery an A+.

"I'm a very grateful patient," Wineski said.

Emory University School of Medicine is one of only a few centers in the country doing the hybrid revascularization. Studies are continuing to assess the long-term outcomes of the procedure, compared to other, more traditional approaches.

If you would like more information, please contact:
Mindy Huber, Associate

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