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Finding a Heart Surgeon

How can you know which heart surgeon to trust with your care? We encourage you to ask questions to find the best specialist for your particular condition. Here are some questions you might have, and answers on behalf of our Cleveland Clinic surgeons.
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Do You Perform the Type of Heart Surgery I Need?

Cleveland Clinic has an expert for every heart condition. Our cardiac surgeons and their teams are part of centers that specialize in specific conditions. These multidisciplinary teams see thousands of patients each year and provide you with the best surgery for your needs.

We regularly perform the most complex operations, including:

  • Aorta surgery
  • Heart valve surgery
  • Surgery for congenital heart issues
  • Bypass surgery
  • Heart transplants
  • Repeat heart surgery (for patients who had heart surgery before and require another surgery).

We also offer many different surgical approaches. We make the smallest incision possible while still performing a thorough procedure to resolve your heart problem.

How Many Patients Do You Operate on Per Year?

Our program has one of the world’s largest and most experienced cardiac surgical teams. We perform thousands of procedures and surgeries annually and each cardiac surgeon performs hundreds of heart surgeries every year.

What Are Your Outcomes Compared to Other Hospitals?

Cleveland Clinic’s patient outcomes after heart surgery are among the best in the United States. Our outcomes for heart surgery patients exceed national averages in several categories, including:

  • Higher survival rates.
  • Fewer complications and fewer infections.
  • Shorter average length of stay in the hospital.  

These excellent results earned our heart program recognition from U.S. News & World Report and the Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS).

What Do Other Patients Say About Your Heart Surgeons?

Cleveland Clinic doctors put patients first — we were one of the first academic medical centers to create an Office of Patient Experience. We focus on safe, high-quality, high-value care. And we treat the whole patient, including your emotional and spiritual needs.

That’s why our former heart patients rate their experiences so highly. Cleveland Clinic’s Heart, Vascular & Thoracic Institute ranks in the 98th percentile of hospitals nationwide in patients’ overall assessment of inpatient care on the HCAHPS survey (Source: Press Ganey, 2020).

We post ratings for all of our surgeons online. You can browse star ratings for every surgeon and read what many other patients have to say.

Will the Cardiac Surgeon Work With My Local Cardiologist?

Yes. We work to make sure that you have easy transitions when you come to Cleveland and when you go home.

Before your surgery, our team will obtain all necessary medical records electronically or by mail. We will review the information carefully and consult with your local cardiologist if needed. That means most patients only have to make one trip to Cleveland, for the actual surgery.

During your surgical stay, we invite your local doctor to join DrConnect to follow your care while you are in the hospital.

We ask you to stay in town for a few days after discharge from the hospital. During this time, we will see you in our outpatient clinic to make sure you are ready to return home. When your Cleveland Clinic provider clears you to return home, we provide detailed instructions for your recovery. We send all information to your local cardiologist or primary care physician to ensure you receive seamless follow-up care at home.

MyChart, our secure electronic health record, will also provide you access to your lab work, test results and after-visit summary. You can take these records to any follow-up appointments with your local doctors.

Our healthcare team is available 24/7 after surgery to address your questions and concerns.

What if I Want a Second Opinion or Need a Second Surgery?

Cleveland Clinic cardiologists and cardiac surgeons are experts at complex cases. Doctors from all over the world ask us for input. We often see patients who have had prior heart surgeries or have been told surgery cannot be done. Our experts also are available to provide second opinions and consultations when patients remain with their local cardiac surgeons.

How We Help You Prepare for Your Surgery

It’s our goal to get you mentally ready for your procedure and reduce anxiety during this stressful time. We give you:

  • Access to Resource Nurses to answer your questions.
  • A set schedule of appointments sent to your home or available through MyChart. These may include bloodwork, other testing or visits with specialists as needed.
  • Checklists to help you prepare for each stage.
  • Extensive education before surgery for you and your loved ones.
  • A private recovery room for the majority of your recovery.
  • Help with travel, transportation and directions from our concierge, Red Coats and Resource Nurses. Learn more about our Patient Services.
  • Help managing insurance and payment issues in advance through our finance office.
  • A guided imagery program to help you and your family ease stress and anxiety.

How We Keep You Comfortable During and After Your Procedure

We also want to make you feel at home during your stay. You will have access to many amenities right on campus, including:

  • Hotels on-site.
  • Restaurants and coffee shops.
  • Convenience stores, pharmacies and a bank.
  • A wellness center with a library and a computer lab.
  • A gym, an indoor pool and paths for walking indoors and outdoors.
  • Places for spiritual reflection, including a chapel, Jewish chapel and Muslim prayer room.

What Other Unique Things Does Your Team Do to Make Patients and Families Feel Comfortable and Confident?

We are here for our patients with education and support beyond your hospital stay. Our experienced nurses are available Monday – Friday 7 a.m. - 7 p.m. to answer questions or address concerns – no matter how small. After hours our providers are here to 7 days a week to answer urgent questions about symptoms, medications and more.

Our team treats the whole patient. In addition to achieving the best health outcomes, we meet patients’ and families’ educational, emotional and spiritual needs.

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