Focusing on You: Minimally-Invasive Cardiac Surgery

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Quicker recovery with life-saving technique to replace ascending aorta

Dr. Joseph Lamelas, chief of cardiac surgery at UHealth, University of Miami Health System, discusses the benefits of the Miami Method, a minimally invasive approach he pioneered and mastered for cardiac surgeries, including repairing or replacing the ascending aorta.



Narrator: Focusing on you, innovations in modern medicine from your team of experts at UHealth, the University of Miami health system.

Pam Giganti: Leo Gordon is thrilled to be alive and healthy after undergoing surgery to repair a fatal heart condition that went undiscovered for decades.

Leo Gordon: I was making a scene in the ICU, just screaming that I was happy.

Dr. Joseph Lamelas: We had a calcified bone. He had an aneurysm, which is a sack of the aorta. Aneurysms are known to rupture or tear on the inside, and they become a fatal problem.

Pam Giganti: UHealth Chief of Cardiac Surgery, Dr. Joseph Lamellas use the minimally invasive technique he developed to replace the aortic valve and ascending aorta in Leo's heart without opening up his chest.

Dr. Joseph Lamelas: And this approach is not touching the sternum at all. It's a five centimeter incision between the ribs, and I've performed over 500 cases, and I've published my results with this particular operation.

Pam Giganti: He's the only guy who would even attempt it, and he did it. One of the biggest benefits of minimally invasive heart surgery is the quick recovery time. For Leo, this meant getting back to work as the head of his family's plumbing business less than two weeks after leaving the hospital.

Leo Gordon: And by him not doing this, and doing this, I got right back to work.

Dr. Joseph Lamelas: Now his heart is able to pump properly, and pump enough blood to the brain, to the rest of the body, and his quality of life will definitely improve, because he's getting more blood to every organ in his body.

Leo Gordon: Now, I'm more awake now at 63 than even 20 years ago.

Dr. Joseph Lamelas: My biggest reward is seeing the patient in the postoperative period. The gratification that I get is incredible. This is why I do what I do.



Meet One of the Wonders of the Human Body: the Aortic Valveheart valve
Located between the left ventricle and the aorta, our largest artery, the aortic valve has three doors that open and close with each heartbeat to allow the blood to flow out and not return into the heart. Sometimes, though, the valve doesn’t function the way it should.