Up-to-the-Minute Therapies


Every day, researchers discover exciting new treatments for cardiac patients, and people in the CSRA and surrounding regions turn to University to make those available. These new treatments include:

Mini Mitral Valve Repair/Replacement

Mitral valve disease occurs when the mitral valve fails to close all the way when the heart pumps. It's not a sudden diagnosis, and often evolves over a number of years, causing patients to experience everything from shortness of breath to fatigue and heart palpitations. In the past, the only way to fix the problem was to cut through the sternum and spread the rib cage to access the heart, but some patients can now benefit from the minimally invasive procedure brought to University.

The surgery starts by putting the patient on bypass through the groin and then making a very small incision on the right side of the chest through which the mitral valve is either repaired or replaced.

In a traditional mitral valve replacement procedure, surgeons would cut through the breast bone and spread the ribs to reach the heart, but the minimally invasive procedure offers patients:

  • Reduced pain
  • Reduced blood loss
  • Reduced risk of infection
  • Shorter hospital stay
  • Faster recovery
  • Faster return to work 
  • Less scarring 

Contact University Cardiothorascic Surgeons at 706/722-8242 for more information.

TAVR - Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement

If a cardiac surgeon determines that you are at high risk or too sick for open-heart surgery, and if medicine is not helping you feel better, TAVR may be an alternative. This less invasive procedure allows a new valve to be inserted within your diseased aortic valve while your heart is still beating. Cardiopulmonary bypass is usually not required. However, during parts of the procedure your heart rate needs to be temporarily increased to a very fast rate resulting in lower than normal blood flow to vital organs for short periods of time. The TAVR procedure can be performed through two different approaches – transfemoral or transapical. Your physician will decide which approach is best for you based on your medical condition and other factors.

Learn more about TAVR.



Radiation therapy helps prevent restenosis, or recurring blockages, caused by tissue that grows around stents implanted during angioplasty. Radiation is administered through a catheter to a localized area around the stent, causing scar tissue to develop, which prevents the growth of new tissue and the recurring blockages it can cause.

Drug-eluting stents

University was the first hospital in Georgia to offer the latest new treatment for restenosis called drug-eluting stents. A time-released drug on the stents slows cell growth, allowing the surrounding tissue to heal without leading to recurring blockages. University uses a variety of coronary implant technology, to also include drug-coated and bare-metal stents, based on the latest trial data.

Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillators (ICDs)

These cookie-sized devices control ventricular tachycardia, a type of rapid heartbeat that can result in sudden death if left untreated. Implanted just under the skin, they monitor and regulate the heartbeat of patients who suffer from this condition.

Catheter Ablation

A procedure called catheter ablation allows physicians to correct rapid heartbeat without open-heart surgery. A physician inserts a pacing wire tipped with an electrode through a vein in the arm or leg and into the heart. The top of the catheter is heated and creates scar tissue that cannot conduct electrical impulses, stopping the rapid heartbeat. Biosense 3-D technology is used to create a detailed reconstruction (map) of the heart that includes electrical and anatomical data, helping physicians more precisely pinpoint the problem.

Implantable Cardioverter
ResynchronizationTherapy Device (CRTD)

This small electronic device is used to treat heart failure by delivering small electrical impulses to the heart chambers to help them beat in a more coordinated way, or in "sync" with one another.

Experienced Open-heart Surgeons

University's cardiothoracic surgeons perform hundreds of open-heart surgeries each year, including coronary artery surgery, valve replacement surgery and repairs of ventricular aneurysms. They work in a dedicated suite designed specifically for open-heart surgery.

Beating-heart Surgery

In the past, patients were routinely placed on heart-lung machines during coronary bypass surgery. However, heart-lung machines can further complicate surgery for certain high-risk patients. A technique called beating-heart surgery allows cardiac surgeons to perform the bypasses while the heart is stabilized and continues to beat, reducing risks to these patients and allowing more people to take advantage of this lifesaving surgery.

Emergency Services: When Every Second Counts

When heart attacks occur, patients need immediate intervention to preserve the heart muscle. University's Emergency Department delivers that care through its Emergency Department. All patient rooms are fully equipped to handle chest pain emergencies. The unit is staffed by physicians and cardiac nurses who begin diagnosing and treating patients immediately upon arrival. Stroke also calls for quick, effective intervention, because brain cells begin to die within minutes of a stroke. The staff of University's Emergency Department immediately calls a "Code S" when stroke patients arrive. Without delay, neurologists order scans to determine the type of stroke and the most effective treatment option.

Revised 7-12-12