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Terms Used in Minimally Invasive Heart Surgery 

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Cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB)
CPB is part of a full, open-heart procedure in which a patient is connected to the heart-lung machine which will breathe and pump blood for the heart during surgery. Blood is diverted through the machine, where it is cleansed and supplied with fresh oxygen before being pumped back to circulate in the patients blood vessels.

The procedure in which surgeons cut through the skin, breastbone and cartilage to open the ribcage, to provide access to the heart for open-chest surgery. The breastbone is also called the sternum. The ribcage is closed at the end of surgery with permanent stainless steel wires and the incision is closed with sutures. (source: Answers.com)

Aortic stenosis
The aortic valve tightens or narrows, preventing blood from flowing through easily.

Aortic insufficiency
The aortic valve no longer works efficiently to keep blood from leaking back into the heart. Leaking blood can cause the heart to swell, pump poorly and lead to heart failure.

Simply, a ring or ring-shaped. If a heart valve is too wide or the tissue is not firm enough to hold its shape, an annulus is sewed to the neck of the valve to tighten the opening support so the valve can open and close efficiently.

Another shape; this one is flat, like a leaf, flowing in one direction. In the aortic valves, three tightly-fitting, triangular shaped pieces of tissue, called leaflets, come together, opening to allow blood to pass through and closing to keep it flowing in one direction. Men, more often than women, have bicuspid aortic valves, with two leaflets, vs. three leaflets. These operate in the same manner as a trifold valve, but as a result, are more susceptible to malfunctions that need surgical correction.

One of the minimally invasive cardiac surgery procedures used to repair an aortic or mitral valve. The cardiac surgeon frees the fused edges of the valve so they can open and shut efficiently as blood flows through.

Endoscopic surgery
An endoscope is a thin, tiny camera that aids your surgeon in seeing inside your body. The camera is threaded into the surgical site through a 5-10mm incision, often on the side of your ribcage. It can rotate 360 degrees for a full view, and transmits a magnified picture of the internal organs to a video monitor in the operating room, with no need to make a large incision to open the chest.
Endoscopic surgery is also referred to as keyhole surgery, port access or video-assisted surgery.

Valvotomy (same as commissurotomy)
A surgical snip at the edges of a cardiac valves leaflets, to free the flaps to operate efficiently. When appropriate, cardiothoracic surgeons will do this surgery using minimally invasive techniques, because it is easier on patients, causes less scarring and has a quicker recovery

When blood flows backward into the heart, instead of away from the heart, it is called regurgitation. Most often caused by a leaky valve or one that is not closing tightly, the blood backs up, pooling in the heart, forcing the heart to pump harder to clear the blood out. This can lead to congestive heart failure, irregular heartbeats or blood clots, among other conditions.

Congestive heart failure
The heart cannot pump out all the blood through the narrowed opening, which causes fluid backup in the heart and the lungs, and shortness of breath. The heart may become enlarged to increase the pumping action but eventually, it becomes weaker.

An ultrasound examination of the heart uses sound waves to track blood flow through the internal structures.

A thin catheter enters the patients body through a large blood vessel in the groin or leg. It is threaded into the heart through the right side. Making a tiny puncture in the septum, the wall dividing the heart into right and left chambers, the surgeon positions the tube into the mitral valve on the left chamber of the heart. A balloon is pushed out the tip and is inflated, pressing the valve opening to become larger. Once the surgeon is satisfied, the balloon is collapsed and the tube in withdrawn. The tiny punctures seal by themselves.

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