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Other Surgeries and Procedures

Kaweah Health's heart, chest, and vascular surgeons provide award-winning cardiothoracic care close to home, and close to your loved ones. Kaweah Health is proud to care for our community and we can treat many kinds of problems with different kinds of surgeries:

  • Minimally-invasive heart surgery — While traditional open-heart surgery requires an 8-10-inch opening (incision), a surgeon performing minimally-invasive heart valve surgery can use incisions half the size or smaller to replace or repair broken valves or restore normal function to a person’s heart.

  • Open-heart surgery — More than a million heart surgeries happen in the U.S. each year to correct heart problems. In California, Kaweah Health has one of the highest open heart surgery volumes in the state.

  • Heart valve surgery — Two common problems caused by valve disease are the blocking or narrowing of the valve opening and leaking valves. When a valve narrows or leaks, blood flow is limited. This puts stress on the heart and can lead to heart failure and irregular heart beats.

  • Septal defects — Atrial septal defects or ventricular septal defects are basically holes in the heart, either in the ventricle or the septum. These holes allow blood to flow back into the heart and lungs where it shouldn’t. Surgeons can surgically repair the damage with stitches (sutures) or by patching the hole.

  • Maze procedure — The maze procedure is a surgical treatment that stops an irregular heartbeat, lowering the risk of blood clots or stroke.

  • Thoracic surgery — Kaweah Health’s thoracic surgery program provides Central Valley residents with specialized surgical treatment of organs in the chest, or thorax. Thoracic surgery can treat diseased or injured organs in the thorax including the esophagus, trachea, diaphragm, heart, lungs, and the area that separates the lungs and the chest wall.

Types of Tests and Procedures
  • Cardiac catheterization — Cardiac catheterization is a procedure accomplished by passing small tubes or catheters into the heart from arteries and veins in the groin or arm. A cardiologist with specialized training performs it. The study includes the observation of the heart's pumping function and the visualization of the coronary arteries, which supply the heart muscle with blood.

  • Echocardiogram (echo) and doppler ultrasound — These are tests where ultrasound waves are sent through the body and returned through a microphone. An echo study provides an image of the moving heart and allows examination of the movement of blood through the heart.

  • Stress echocardiogram (stress echo) — This is an echocardiography examination conducted during exercise. Exercise will be done using a treadmill or if walking is difficult, medication can be infused to simulate exercise. An echocardiogram is performed immediately after exercising. An echo study provides an image of the moving heart and allows examination of the movement of blood through the heart.

  • Stress Test (Treadmill) — This is an electrocardiogram (ECG) study conducted during exercise. Exercise will be done using a treadmill or if walking is difficult, medication can be infused to simulate exercise. During exercise, the ECG measures and records the heart's electrical impulses as they travel through the heart muscle. It indicates if there is damaged heart tissue interfering with the normal flow of electrical impulses through the heart.

  • Thallium Stress Test — This is a type of nuclear scanning test for myocardial perfusion (blood flow in the heart). This test shows how well blood flows to the heart muscle. It is done in conjunction with an exercise stress test on a treadmill.

  • Electrocardiogram (ECG) — This is a test in which several electronic sensors are placed on the body to monitor electrical activity associated with the heartbeat.

  • Chest X-Ray — This is one of the simplest diagnostic tools. It will tell the size, shape of the heart, and the condition of the lungs.

  • Holter Electrocardiogram (ECG) — This is a continuous recording of the heart's rhythm for 24 or 48 hours. The Holter ECG will provide the physician with a record of how your heart reacts to situations during rest, activity, and stress while in the home environment.

  • Permanent Pacemaker — This is an electronic device consisting of an electrode connected to the heart muscle and a regulatory device and power source implanted in the skin. It provides regular, mild electric shocks that stimulate the heart muscle and maintain normal heartbeat.

  • Balloon angioplasty — This is a procedure performed by cardiologists to help open narrowing in the coronary arteries. This procedure requires passing a catheter with a small balloon at its tip into the artery. The balloon is then inflated in the artery to eliminate the narrow area.

  • Atherectomy (Rotorooter) — This is a procedure for opening coronary arteries blocked by plaque. Atherectomy uses a rotating shaver, ("burr" device on the end of a catheter). The catheter is inserted into the body the same way as in angioplasty. The burr then shaves the plaque, opening the artery.

  • Stent — A stent is a wire mesh tube used to open an artery with plaque build-up and increase blood flow. The stent is collapsed placed over a balloon catheter inserted through the groin or arm vein and is placed in the area of the blockage; inflating the balloon then deploys the stent. The stent forms to the artery like scaffolding, keeping it from closing. Some stents have plaque-reducing drugs in them to further help dissolve the plaque build-up.

In Visalia, Kaweah Health’s dedicated heart team partners with local cardiologists and cardiac surgeons to provide cardiothoracic care for patients from Visalia, Hanford, Tulare, Porterville, Fresno, Bakersfield and surrounding areas.

Kaweah Health has affiliations with Stanford Health Care and the Cleveland Clinic Heart & Vascular Institute, with the goal of elevating services for people seeking cardiovascular care in the Central Valley.

Learn more about our affiliation with Stanford Health Care.

Learn more about our affiliation with the Cleveland Clinic.