Overview

Overview

One of the largest, most experienced cardiac and thoracic surgery groups in the world, our Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery cares for patients from all 50 states and around the world.

Cardiovascular Care

Our surgeons offer virtually every type of cardiac surgery including elective or emergency surgery for heart valve disease, aortic aneurysm, coronary artery disease, arrhythmias, heart failure, Marfan syndrome and more.

Our depth and breadth of experience allows us to perform complex operations, such as second or third heart surgeries and conditions previously deemed inoperable with success rates above the national average. Our staff uses the newest surgical techniques, equipment and devices, including minimally invasive surgery, off-pump bypass, robotically assisted and percutaneous procedures.

As a participant in the Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) public reporting initiative, Cleveland Clinic is proud to achieve a three-star rating (highest) in all categories for adult cardiac surgery, both categories for General Thoracic Surgery and the newest rating for Transcatheter Aortic Heart Valve Replacement. These categories include:

  • Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (July 2019-June 2022)
  • Aortic Valve Replacement (July 2019-June 2022)
  • Aortic Valve Replacement + Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (July 2019-June 2022)
  • Mitral Valve Repair/Replacement (July 2019-June 2022)
  • Mitral Valve Repair/Replacement + Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (July 2019-June 2022)
  • Lobectomy for lung cancer (time frame January 2019-December 2021)
  • Lung cancer resection (time frame January 2019-December 2021)
  • Esophagectomy for esophageal cancer (time frame January 2019-December 2021)
  • Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (STS/ACC TVT Registry, time frame October 2018-September 2021)

Thoracic Care

Thoracic Surgery includes surgery of the esophagus, trachea, lungs and chest. Learn more about the excellent care and outcomes provided by our thoracic surgeons.

What We Treat Doctors

Doctors

Appointments

Appointments

What to Expect

Patients come from across the country and around the globe to the Miller Family Heart, Vascular & Thoracic Institute for heart surgery. We want to make the process as easy as possible for you. The surgical review is a three step process.

  1. Call 216.444.3500 or toll-free 877.843.2781 (877-8Heart1) 6 a.m. – 8 p.m. EST, Monday - Friday. We will assist you in making arrangements for a surgical review.
  2. We will send you a check list to help gather information we will need.
    • Some patients require dental clearance to proceed with surgery. Your surgeon’s office will tell you if this is needed. If required, please print out the attached dental clearance form to take to your dentist.
  3. The surgeon's office will contact you after they review to discuss your options and answer your questions.

Interested in Coming to Cleveland Clinic for Heart Surgery?

If you need a heart operation, you want the best surgeon with the best team at the best hospital. But they may not be in your own neighborhood, your hometown, your state or even your country. You can still receive state-of-the-art care from the nation’s best hospital for heart surgery. Traveling to Cleveland Clinic is more comfortable and convenient than you might think.

Appointment Information

By Phone

216.444.3500 or toll-free 877.843.2781 (877-8Heart1)

Online

Use our secure online form to submit an appointment request 24/7. We will receive it and follow-up with you as soon as possible.

Physician Referrals

Mon. - Fri., 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. (ET): 
216.444.3500 or toll-free 877.843.2781 (877-8Heart1)

At all other times call Patient Access Services locally 216.444.8302 or toll-free 800.553.5056.

Directions

Go to Desk J4-1, 9500 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio.

Research

Research

For Patients

Cleveland Clinic Heart, Vascular & Thoracic Institute physicians and researchers continue to study new treatments and therapies to help improve patient care and outcomes.

Clinical Trials

Clinical trials (research studies) help us create the medicine of tomorrow. They provide hope through offering testing of new drugs, new surgical techniques or other treatments before they are widely available.

We can help you access hundreds of clinical trials across all specialty areas. Our searchable online trials tool makes identifying treatment opportunities easier than ever.

Heart Surgery Program

Heart Surgery Program

When you come to the Miller Family Heart, Vascular & Thoracic Institute for heart surgery, you’ll have a care team of the best surgeons and finest nurses and medical staff in the world.

Cleveland Clinic has spent years fine-tuning the Heart Surgery Program. We offer an experience designed to meet the unique needs of you and your family, beginning with our first meeting and continuing until well after you leave the hospital to recover and get back to your everyday life.

While the information below gives you an idea of what to expect from heart surgery at Cleveland Clinic, you’ll receive more specific information during your pre-surgery visits and post-surgery hospital stay. Please feel free to talk with your healthcare team about any questions or concerns you have at any time.

To Come In Program (TCI)

Our To Come In Program (TCI) can help you kick off your heart surgery journey. And you’re not alone — we schedule roughly 2,000 thoracic and cardiovascular patients through the program each year.

The TCI program includes a pre-surgery appointment with an evaluation and testing (if needed). You’ll also have the chance to meet members of your surgical team. We’ll share information about what you can expect before, during and after surgery. We created this program so you can spend more time with your family instead of being admitted to the hospital several days before surgery.

Please see our visitor information for the latest guidelines.

The TCI Center is located at the Thoracic & Cardiovascular Surgery Outpatient Center in J4-1.

Evaluation Process

Your TCI appointment will take one or two days. During this time, you’ll meet with:

The TCI Nurse

The TCI nurse works with your surgeon. They will do a physical exam, look over your records and share instructions you’ll need to follow before your surgery. You’ll also get a binder (notebook) that explains what to expect before, during and after your surgery, including ways to help your recovery and stay healthy after you heal. Please make sure to bring this binder with you to the hospital and to all follow-up appointments.

The Cardiothoracic Anesthesiologist

Our cardiothoracic anesthesiologists specialize in anesthesia and pain management needs for cardiac surgery patients.

Your Cardiologist

Your cardiologist will do an exam to check out your heart, answer your questions and talk to you about the medications you take. You may need to make changes to your medications before surgery. Please make sure you understand these changes and let us know any questions or concerns.

Your cardiologist will also review your medical records and test results. You may need to have additional tests before surgery like cardiac catheterization, echocardiogram, electrocardiogram, chest X-ray, blood tests or a urinalysis. If you need more tests, we’ll do what we can to complete them as quickly as possible.

Your Surgeon

We’ll make every attempt for you to meet your surgeon during your TCI visit. If this isn’t possible, we’ll schedule a time for you to meet with them to ask questions and talk about your surgery.

Information about the Day of Surgery

Checking In

We’ll share your check-in information the night before your surgery. It’s important to remember that this is the time you should arrive at the hospital, not the time of your surgery. When you get here, you’ll go to Desk J-12 to register with the receptionist. This desk is in the Miller Pavilion Surgical Center and Family Waiting Area (first floor of the J Building).

If you need help with directions, ask a "Red Coat" (caregiver wearing a red blazer) or any Cleveland Clinic employee wearing an ID badge. You can also use our handy wayfinding tool, Your Direct Route, to help you get to and around Cleveland Clinic’s campus.

Your Surgery

You’ll have your surgery on the fourth floor of the J building in an operating room specially designed for heart surgery. During your surgery our operating room nurses, cardiothoracic anesthesia teams and other skilled providers will work with your surgeon to make sure you’re safe and comfortable.

Cardiac surgery takes many hours. The exact amount of time it takes varies from patient to patient. Surgery may be delayed or rescheduled if your surgeon is needed for an emergency situation. If so, we will do everything possible to reschedule as soon as possible.

Information for Family Members

Please limit the number of family members that come with you to the hospital. We also recommend not bringing children, as it can be difficult for them to wait for long periods throughout the day.

Family spokesperson

Please choose one person to act as the family spokesperson. Your healthcare team will give all information about your surgery to this spokesperson so they can share it with the rest of your family members. This allows us to efficiently share what your family needs to know and also protects your confidentiality.

Family information session

We created the Family Information Session to help your family know what to expect on the day of your surgery, including visitation in the Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit (CVICU). Classes are taught by the CVICU Nurse Coordinators, who serve as a connection between your family and your healthcare team. The CVICU Nurse Coordinators will give your family details about the time and location for this important class.

Waiting during surgery

Family members should be prepared to wait at least several hours (if not longer) and will get a pager so we can send them surgery updates. They will wait in J1-2 until they attend the Family Information Session.

We recommend bringing quiet activities to occupy the many hours heart surgery can take. We also encourage families to take advantage of the amenities on our campus. It’s also a good time for them to write down questions and concerns for your family spokesperson to share with the surgeon.

After Surgery

Meeting with the Surgeon

Your surgeon will talk to your family spokesperson after your surgery is complete. This may be in-person, on the phone or virtually. Your spokesperson should listen carefully, take notes and share the family’s list of questions and concerns.

Visitation

Family members will be able to visit you in the CVICU about two hours after they talk to your surgeon. Your surgeon will let them know which CVICU you are in. Your family will need to check in and let the receptionist know this is their first visit.

A receptionist is available Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. - 9:30 p.m., Saturday, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. If the receptionist is not at the desk during these hours, please wait to check in. If you’re waiting longer than 10 minutes, please use the beige wall phone to call the unit. The phone numbers for each unit are posted next to the phone.

Tips for CVICU Visitors

  • Patients in the CVICU may have no more than two visitors at any time.
  • Wash your hands with warm water and soap or use the sanitizer outside the unit before and after visiting. This helps prevent infection.
  • Please limit your visits in the CVICU to 15 minutes or less.
  • Please respect the privacy, safety and recovery needs of all patients.
  • Please respect all caregivers.
  • While visiting, we may ask you and others to leave the CVICU to ensure everyone’s safety and privacy while we attend to emergency or patient care needs.
  • No food/drink, cell phone use, photos/videos, balloons, flowers or gifts are allowed in the CVICU units.
  • Ask yes/no questions while the patient has a breathing tube. They can communicate, but they cannot talk, eat or drink while the tube is in place.
  • Equipment alarms do not always mean there’s a problem.
  • If you have any questions or concerns, please share them with the patient’s CVICU healthcare team.

Your Care in the CVICU

Your recovery begins in the CVICU. A team of specially trained nurses will help you recover as quickly and safely as possible. Other members of your CVICU care team include your surgeon, your cardiothoracic anesthesiologist and other surgical team members.

Your Care in the Step-Down Unit

Your next phase of recovery will be in a step-down (telemetry) unit under the care of skilled healthcare providers who specialize in your condition and treatment. They’ll work with you to craft a personalized care plan aimed at helping you manage your pain and recover as quickly and safely as possible.

You’ll start to walk, eat and do as much as you can for yourself to help you get stronger and heal. It is very important to walk as much as possible and do your breathing exercises. DO NOT walk alone until your healthcare providers tell you it is OK.

Cardiac Rehabilitation

Cardiac rehabilitation (rehab) is an important part of your recovery. Your rehab starts while you are in the hospital (Phase I). We’ll check out how you’re doing and create a personalized treatment plan designed to help you become more active in your early recovery.

Talk to your providers about continuing rehab after you leave the hospital (Phase II). This phase of rehab can help you continue your recovery, get back to your normal activities and make lifestyle changes to keep you healthy. Most insurance companies cover Phase II rehab.

Cleveland Clinic offers a variety of preventive and rehabilitation services to improve your heart health and reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease.

Educational and Support Resources

Surgery Binder

Please use your surgery binder to learn more about your hospital stay and recovery. This binder contains helpful information you can use now and after you leave the hospital. If you have any questions or concerns, please share them with your healthcare team.

Health Education Videos

Your in-room TV has a channel (33) dedicated to cardiovascular education. The videos on the channel run on a loop that repeats throughout the day.

You can access other videos on-demand on your personal electronic device. These videos cover a variety of topics, including common questions and concerns people ask about their recovery at home. You can find information in your binder how to watch these other videos.

Healing Services

Ask your providers about healing services such as Reiki, aromatherapy and art and music therapies to help you as your recover. Some services require an order (request) from your healthcare provider.

When You Leave the Hospital (Discharge)

The amount of time you spend in the hospital depends on the type of surgery you had and how your recovery is going. Your healthcare team’s goal is to help you have the shortest hospital stay and best recovery possible.

Your cardiologist and surgical team will decide when you can leave the hospital. Your expected discharge (checkout) date will be posted in your room. Your nurse will go over important discharge instructions before you leave. Please plan to have a family member/support person with you help you remember these instructions — and take you home.

If you need to make travel arrangements, please do so after you have a planned discharge date. Talk to your healthcare team about your travel plans. If you book air travel, we recommend buying a refundable ticket in case there is a change. You will not be able to drive until your surgeon gives you permission. You may be a passenger as often as you like, but please get up every hour to walk for a few minutes to help prevent blood clots.

Follow-Up Care

It is very important to go to all follow-up appointments. Your healthcare team will talk to you about your appointment schedule. If you live far from Cleveland Clinic, please plan to stay in the area for a few days after you leave the hospital.

Learn how to make travel arrangements to Cleveland Clinic after heart surgery.

Resources

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