Cardiothoracic Surgery Procedures

UI Health cardiothoracic surgeons are experts in a spectrum of sophisticated surgical treatments to manage cardiovascular and thoracic conditions. Our surgeons use the most up-to-date, minimally invasive techniques to address complex heart and chest conditions, and they work with experienced team cardiac anesthesiologists, cardiac nurses, physician assistants, and perfusionists to ensure patients receive the best available care.


Our surgeons use the most up-to-date, minimally invasive techniques to manage cardiovascular and thoracic conditions.

Our cardiothoracic surgeons focus on using minimally invasive procedures to deliver the best possible outcomes with shorter recoveries.

Among the cardiothoracic surgical procedures we specialize in are:

Aortic Aneurysm Repair

The aorta is the main artery of the body. When it enlarges and bulges outward, it is called aortic aneurysm. An interventional cardiologist treats patients living with an aortic aneurysm by placing a stent in the aorta. The goal of this procedure is to shrink the widened area of the aorta around the stent.

Aortic Valve Surgery

This procedure may be recommended to replace the aorta if a patient experiences aortic regurgitation, a condition that occurs when the aortic valve is not closing completely and allows blood to leak back into the heart. Surgery also may be required if the patient has aortic stenosis, a condition that develops when the aortic valve is not opening all the way and reduces the flow of blood to the heart.

Complex Reoperations

Patients who have had a cardiac procedure in the past may need another in the future. Complications from the first surgery, new disease, and replacement-valve malfunction are a few examples of situations that may require a cardiac surgeon to perform a reoperation.

Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery

A UI Health cardiologist may recommend a coronary artery bypass surgery to patients living with coronary artery disease who have blocked or narrowed arteries. This procedure is performed by taking a vein from another part of the body and attaching it directly to the coronary artery to build an alternate path for blood that must flow to the heart.

Heart Valve Surgery

Our team may perform heart valve surgery to repair or replace diseased heart valves, usually the aortic valve or the mitral valve. This repair may be performed through open heart surgery or minimally invasive valve surgery, such as percutaneous surgery or robot-assisted surgery.

Transcatheter Procedures (TAVR)

Chest pain, fatigue and shortness of breath caused by aortic stenosis may be corrected through transaortic valve repair, or TAVR. This procedure involves repairing the damaged valve by wedging a new replacement valve inside.

Advanced Cardiac Procedures

Our surgical team also addresses complex medical conditions that may be deemed high risk for surgery at neighboring institutions in the rest of the Chicagoland area and throughout Illinois. Among our offering of complex procedures are:


The majority of our cardiac patients are free to return to their homes within two to five days of surgery; the timeline may vary according to the complexity of each individual case. But even after patients go home, they are never alone on their treatment journey.

The Cardiac Rehabilitation Program at UI Health helps patients take steps to improve the function of their hearts and lungs and to strengthen the muscles in their bodies, improving the overall quality of their lives. Cardiac rehabilitation is overseen by the patient's physician and uniquely designed to address each patient's specific goals. The program also will be modified according to personal progress and any health conditions with which patients are living.

Inpatient and outpatient cardiac rehabilitation services include:

  • Diabetes management: Our specialists can help ensure patients control their diabetes while recovering cardiothoracic surgery.
  • Exercises to enhance strength and endurance: Establishing an accessible and sustainable fitness routine helps the heart and muscles get the conditioning they need and help keep weight in check.
  • Management of medications: Our rehabilitation specialists can help patients adjust to taking new medications or taper off those that are no longer needed.
  • Smoking cessation: Taking steps to stop using tobacco products is critical to maintaining cardiac health following cardiothoracic surgery. Stopping completely can be challenging, but we are here to help and encourage patients when those cravings hit.
  • Tips to manage stress: While stress is part of everyone’s everyday life, too much of it can be detrimental to cardiac health. Our rehabilitation experts can offer suggestions to keep anxieties under control.
  • Weight management: We are here to offer guidance as patients strive to maintain a healthy weight through diet and exercise.