UNM Department of Surgery

Department of Surgery
Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery

UNM School of Medicine
MSC 10 5610
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87131

Phone: (505) 272-6901
Fax: (505) 272-6909
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Cardiothoracic Surgery

Adult Cardiac Surgery

The Human Heart provided by Edwards Lifesciences

Valve Surgery

The Cardiac team offers treatment to all aspects of valve pathology, including aortic, mitral, tricuspid and pulmonary valves. Treatments range from valve repairs to valve replacements. Some of these procedures can also be performed using a minimally invasive approach.

Off-Pump CABG

Our surgical team is very experienced in treating patients with coronary artery surgery requiring a coronary artery bypass procedure (CABG) without the use of a heart/lung machine.

The "off-pump," or without the pump, technique consists in performing the heart bypasses on the heart while it is beating in its normal state, therefore avoiding the detrimental effects of the heart/lung machine. As a result, the risks of the operation and blood transfusion requirements may be reduced. This approach is particularly attractive in older patients who may have atherosclerosis of the aorta, in whom the risk of stroke and neurologic dysfunction are significant when the heart/lung machine is used.

Having used the off-pump CABG approach for many years, our surgical team has published a large number of articles on various off-pump CABG techniques.

The Heart Valves provided by Edwards Lifesciences

Reconstructive Aortic Surgery

Our surgical team has considerable experience in treating patients with all types of complex aortic disease processes requiring procedures such as: repair of aortic dissection, treatment of aneurysms of the ascending/descending aorta and transverse aortic arch, complex aortic root reconstructions, therapy for traumatic aortic injuries, and others.

Trans-Catheter Aortic Aneurysm Repair

In collaboration with a very experienced team of vascular surgeons, our team of cardiac surgeons has experience in delivering state-of-the-art therapies to patients with descending thoracic aortic aneurysms, aortic injuries, chronic aortic dissections and others.

In selected patients with aortic disease, a minimally invasive trans-catheter intervention using a small incision in the groin to access the femoral artery is used to deploy a stent in the aorta. In contrast to the open surgical approach involving a long chest incision, this approach offers considerable benefits to patients in terms of reducing pain and expediting postoperative recovery.

Surgery for Atrial Fibrillation

Patients with atrial fibrillation are at risk of stroke and must take long-term anticoagulants to prevent the formation of blood clots in the heart. Our surgical team is experienced in delivering new treatments for atrial fibrillation that in most cases results in having the patient return to the normal sinus rhythm. In some patients this can be done without using the heart/lung machine. This is of great importance for patients on long-term anticoagulants or those in atrial fibrillation who are scheduled to have concomitant valve surgery.

Bloodless Surgery

In selected patients, many heart operations can be performed safely with little or no blood transfusions. Our surgical approaches have evolved over the years to minimize the amount of blood and blood products during and after surgery.

We are also a center that offers bloodless surgery to appropriately selected patients who for religious reasons or other personal beliefs desire to have their heart operation performed without using blood or blood products.

Adult Congenital Heart Surgery

As more and more patients are discovered and treated in infancy or during childhood for congenital heart disease, the number of adult patients with previous history of congenital heart disease is increasing. Traditionally, adult patients with congenital heart disease have been treated at centers where there is either a team experienced in pediatric heart disease, or where there is a team experienced in adult heart disease.

The cardiac surgery team at UNM has considerable experience in treating all adult and pediatric patients with congenital heart disease. Based on our interactive collaboration with an outstanding team of physicians which includes pediatric cardiologists, adult cardiologists, as well as pediatric and adult anesthesia and intensive care specialists, our center has all the required areas of expertise in order to treat any patient with congenital heart disease; child or adult. Based on our broad experience and team approach, every patient is carefully discussed by our team of experts so that the best treatment option can be selected.

Pacemaker-ICD and Lead Extraction Procedures

Our team of surgeons has experience in treating adult and pediatric patients who require pacemaker or ICD implantation or removal procedures as well as removal of leads from the heart.

Lead extraction procedures are potentially risky as there is a risk of significant bleeding. By using state-of-the-art technology, we are specialized in offering patients the best option based on careful assessment of their individual risks and benefits, and discussion of the alternatives.