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Minimally Invasive Surgery

  I'm researching for a friend who needs aortic valve replacement and
  double vessel coronary artery bypass surgery.  He has been told by his
  doctor that he is not a candidate for minimally invasive surgery.  He is terribly
  afraid of memory loss following surgery with a heart lung machine,as well
  as the difficult recovery and risk from conventional surgery.  
  He is
  hoping that maybe somewhere on the cutting edge there is a possibility of
  minimally invasive surgery for him.  Is there?
Dear Tia:
His doctor is correct. I am not aware of any minimally invasive approach to replace an aortic valve and perform two bypasses, while avoiding the heart-lung machine. Not all minimally invasive bypass approaches avoid the heart-lung machine.  There is "beating heart" minimally invasive heart surgery that avoids the heart-lung machine, but this surgery cannot be performed for aortic valve replacement. Thus, your friend will need to go on the heart-lung machine. There is some risk of neurological problems attributed to the heart-lung machine, but the majority of patients do just fine with it. Furthermore, for the complex surgery your friend is about to undergo, a traditional incision with adequate exposure for the surgeon is more important than a smaller scar or faster recovery time.
I hope this is useful. Good luck. Feel free to write back with further questions.
If you wish to be evaluated here at the Cleveland Clinic, please call 1-800-CCF-CARE for an appointment with a cardiologist at desk F15.  Information provided in the Heart Forum is for general purposes only.  Specific diagnoses and therapies can only be provided by your doctor.

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