Minimally Invasive Heart Procedures

Heart surgery doesn't have to be a major procedure that leaves you in recovery for weeks. Even though we’re local leaders in open-heart surgery, we also offer a range of minimally invasive heart procedures that pack a host of benefits for you.

Our less invasive heart procedures utilize small incisions instead of the traditional long incision associated with open heart surgery. This has many benefits for you, including:

  • Less Blood Loss
  • Less Pain and Scarring
  • Faster Healing and Recovery Times
  • Lower Risk of Infection

Innovative & Less Intrusive Treatments

When you need a heart procedure, ask your doctor if you’re a candidate for one of the minimally invasive treatments we offer.

Absorb Dissolvable Stent

St. Vincent’s is the first health system in Northeast Florida and one of only three in the state to offer you a new way to battle coronary artery disease: the world’s first FDA-approved dissolving heart stent.

Like traditional metal stents, the Absorb stent opens blocked arteries. It expands the walls of the artery, enabling better blood flow. Eventually, new tissue grows over the old tissue, and the stent is no longer needed.

However, where metal stents are permanent, the Absorb stent is made of naturally dissolving material and will gradually disappear over approximately three years. Not only does this allow the artery to regain its natural motion once it’s healed, but it also gives you more options should you need future intervention. 

Aortic Valve Replacement

Aortic valves need to be replaced for a variety of reasons. The valve may be leaking or could be blocked. Traditionally, this procedure is performed by opening your chest through the sternum while you’re put on a heart and lung machine to handle your body’s breathing and blood-pumping functions.

However, we offer a couple minimally invasive options.

Minimally Invasive Surgical Valve Replacement

Because the aortic valve is located near the front of the chest, surgeons have discovered that it can be replaced via a small keyhole incision made just to the right of your breastbone. Though there are variations to this procedure, the basic technique results in less recovery time, less pain, and a much smaller scar.

Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR)

If you’ve been told that you could not tolerate traditional open-heart surgery, don’t lose hope. We’re proud to be the first in the region to offer you a chance you didn’t have before with a unique form of minimally invasive valve replacement known as the TAVR procedure.

This procedure uses a device called the Sapien valve to replace the compromised valve in your heart. Doctors create a small incision through the femoral artery and steer the valve through a catheter to the heart. The wire mesh valve is then locked into the aortic opening with the aid of an inflatable balloon, replacing the degenerative valve.


Mitral Valve Replacement

It’s possible for your mitral valve to be severely narrowed and constrict blood flow. Alternatively, the valve can be too loose and leak blood back into the left atrium and lung. In either case, you may require a mitral valve replacement.

Instead of the typical open-heart procedure in which your chest is opened and you’re placed on a heart and lung machine, we tend to use a minimally invasive approach on approximately 80% of isolated valve surgery cases. Using special surgical instruments, your surgeon is able to access and replace your damaged valve through a small incision through the ribs on your right side.

Mitral Valve Repair

In some cases, you may be a better candidate for having your mitral valve repaired than replaced. Like many other patients, you’ll experience a longer, happier life with fewer complications with a repair to your native valve versus a replacement.

Mitral valve repair is performed via the same minimally invasive procedure as a replacement, but the benefits differ dramatically. You face a much smaller risk of infection, a reduction of blood loss, and less reliance on pain medication during your short recovery period.

Atrial Septic Defects

Atrial septic defects are heart defects present at birth. The left and right atriums are separated by a septum. If that septum is defective or missing entirely, blood is able to go back and forth between the atriums, causing an array of problems like shortness of breath, congestive heart failure and stroke. Because it is asymptomatic, this condition can go unnoticed for years.

Small atrial septic defects can be closed using a catheter-based procedure. Your physician guides a catheter into a blood vessel to close the hole with surgical mesh. Heart tissue grows around the mesh, permanently sealing the hole.

Larger defects are best closed with a patch. Similar to aortic and mitral valve surgery, this procedure is completed via a small keyhole incision on the right side of your chest.

Atrial Fibrillation

St. Vincent’s Atrial Fibrillation Institute offers a wide range of procedures that all share a common goal: to find a cure for AFib. We offer surgical and non-surgical treatments for all stages of AFib.

Robotic Minimally Invasive Bypass Surgery

Unlike traditional open-heart bypass surgery that requires a sternotomy or use of a heart lung machine, our minimally invasive procedures take advantage of the daVinci surgical robot to provide you an alternative method that includes less pain, a reduced risk of infection and shorter recovery times. We offer robotic minimally invasive bypass surgery for single and multiple blocked arteries.

Single Blocked Artery
Utilizing the daVinci surgical robot (link to robotic surgery section), your surgeon constructs a bypass to a single blocked vessel (the left anterior descending or LAD, the most important artery in the heart) through a small keyhole incision on the left side of your chest.

Multiple Blocked Arteries
Hybrid revascularization allows for the treatment of multiple blocked vessels by combining robotic bypass with coronary artery stenting. Both single and multiple blockage procedures are done in our hybrid operating suite with cardiac surgeons and an interventional cardiologist working in concert.

St. Vincent's offers several convenient office locations throughout Northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia. Contact the St. Vincent's Cardiology office closest to you today to schedule an appointment.