G. Frederick Woelfel M.D.
Our surgeons offer expert surgical care for heart disease, performing open heart surgery, including coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery and structural defects such as valve disease. St. Clair Hospital has one of the lowest inpatient mortality rates among Allegheny County hospitals for open heart surgery.
Types of open heart surgery performed at St. Clair:
Coronary Artery Bypass
A surgeon makes an incision along the breastbone (sternum) to open the chest cavity to reach the heart. The heart is made motionless by the use of the heart lung machine so the surgeon can sew the grafts in place. A perfusionist is present to operate the heart-lung machine during surgery. When the grafting is complete, the perfusionist will let the patient’s heart and lungs take over again.
An operation in which one of the four heart valves is replaced or repaired. Damaged or diseased heart valves cause the heart to pump harder to get blood to the body. This can weaken the heart and cause pain and shortness of breath. A surgeon makes an incision along the sternum and uses a heart-lung machine to arrest the heart during surgery.
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