The Department of Surgery within the UNM School of Medicine is beginning a program to train cardiothoratic surgery residents in off pump surgery.  Off pump surgery is an advanced surgical technique where repairs are made on the heart without having to stop the heart and resort to the traditional use of cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB) equipment to provide artificial circulation.   

Studies have shown that avoiding CPB with off pump surgery provides a number of benefits for patients including decreased the needs for blood transfusions, reduced morbidity from stroke, damage to the heart during the procedure, and renal impairment.  In particular neurological complications such as impairment of higher intellectual function that sometime occur with CPB can be avoided, particularly in elderly and extremely ill patients people most at risk for CPB side complications.  

While a number of surgeons have some experience in off pump surgery in the state, it remains in the minority for many.  However, a host of recent studies have shown that it is an option that can benefit many patients, said Said Fadi Yassin, M.D., who recently joined the faculty of the UNM School of Medicine as a cardiothoracic surgeon and assistant professor in Surgery, specializes in off pump and beating heart surgery and estimates 90 percent of his practice is devoted to performing off pump and beating heart surgery.  "It is more technically demanding for a surgeon to perform off pump surgery," he said.  "But done by experience surgeon, it is a safer procedure for the patient."

With Coronary Artery Disease, there is a possibility of plaque builds up along wall of the Aorta, (the artery leading from the heart).  However, these plaque deposits are not uniform and may be hard to identify or avoid intraoperatively.  Surgical manipulation and clamping during the rocess of initiating CPB can result in breaking and dislodging these particles.  Particles of plaque can then travel through the blood vessels throughout the body and lodged in the end organs like the brain and induce a stroke.  Also during CPB the heart is stopped and deprived from blood flow, and that another insult to the heart that add to the original disease requiring the surgery. These potential negative side-effects are avoided when the surgery is done off pump.

Yassin trained in off pump surgery in cardiothoracic surgery program at Jackson Memorial Hospital, University of Miami School of Medicine, a prominent center for off pump and beating heart surgery.

                                               

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Contact: Cindy Foster, 272-3322