Covenant Cardiothoracic Surgery

Cardiothoracic surgery treats conditions of the heart, lungs and chest. Cardiothoracic surgeons use a wide range of procedures, from minimally invasive to major surgery. The experts at the Covenant Center for the Heart perform hundreds of these procedures each year.

Why would I need cardiothoracic surgery?

Here are some of the more common conditions treated by cardiothoracic surgeons:

  • Coronary artery disease
  • Arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms, like atrial fibrillation
  • Damaged or diseased heart valves
  • Heart failure
  • Heart attacks
  • Congenital heart defects
  • Lung cancer
  • Emphysema
  • Chest wall trauma

Depending on the condition, symptoms vary, but the following symptoms are common to many cardiothoracic ailments:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • Chest pain
  • Chest heaviness, pressure – a feeling that the chest is being squeezed

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Common cardiothoracic procedures and surgeries

NOTE: To have any cardiothoracic procedure at Covenant, patients must first be referred through a cardiologist or other referring physician.

Minimally invasive cardiac procedure

  • Heart valve repair or replacement – Traditionally, open-heart surgery is used to repair or replace heart valves, but when this is not an option or a patient is deemed a high-risk surgical candidate, minimally invasive methods can be used. Learn about minimally invasive heart valve treatments and our Structural Heart Disease Program.

Open heart surgery

In these surgeries, the chest is opened to gain access to the heart:

  • Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting (CABG) – Used to treat coronary artery disease. A vein or artery from another part of the body (usually the leg, chest or arm) is used to bypass a coronary artery that is blocked or narrowed by fatty plaque.
  • Heart valve repair or replacement – If one or more of your heart valves fail to open and close correctly, open-heart surgery may be performed to repair or replace them with artificial valves.
  • Maze procedure – Surgical ablation (a procedure that disrupts a small area of heart tissue that is triggering the abnormal rhythms) used to treat and prevent atrial fibrillation.
  • Aortic surgery – Repair or replacement of the aorta for diseases such as aneurysms or dissections.
  • Atrial septal defect or ventricular septal defect closure – Repair of an opening or hole in the wall that separates the chambers of the heart.
  • Removal of cardiac or mediastinal masses – Removal of benign or malignant masses within the heart or mediastinum.

Lung procedures and surgeries:

VATS (Video-Assisted Thoracoscopic Surgery) or da Vinci® thoracic surgery – Minimally invasive, robot-assisted or scope-assisted surgery at Covenant is used to perform:

  • Biopsies – A sample of cells is taken from the lung for diagnostic purposes.
  • Lobectomies – The removal of a lobe of the lung – used to treat lung cancer, emphysema or other lung conditions.
  • Wedge resections – The removal of a smaller portion of the lung, to remove a tumor or to diagnose/treat lung conditions, such as cancer.


  • Obtain biopsies, such as lymph nodes, for evaluation.

Extraordinary heart care at Covenant

The Covenant Center for the Heart is the region’s leader for cardiac care, with a large, comprehensive team of board-certified cardiologists and heart surgeons. We have the first and most experienced Structural Heart Disease Program, world-class diagnostic technology and treatments, and the region’s only pediatric cardiologist. No one has more expertise keeping your heart healthy than we do.