Cardiothoracic Surgery | Heart and Vascular

Cardiothoracic Surgery

Trusted experts provide routine and advanced surgical care for your lungs, heart, chest and esophagus. Our commitment to cardiovascular surgery excellence has earned our program national recognition.

Medically reviewed by Bob Kiaii, M.D. on Dec. 12, 2023.

Cardiothoracic surgeons in the operating room

Nationally Recognized Heart Surgery

Cardiothoracic surgery treats problems in your thoracic (chest) cavity, especially your heart. One common type is cardiovascular surgery, which uses a variety of techniques to improve blood flow to your heart. Another common type is surgeries on the heart valves and the aorta.

At UC Davis Health, you receive care from a team of experts that use sophisticated techniques and maintain exceptional outcomes. We are the only cardiothoracic surgery program in the region whose clinical care and research have a worldwide impact. Our surgeons are often among the first to offer new care methods.

Our commitment to heart care excellence helps us consistently rank among the nation’s best, according to U.S. News & World Report.

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Types of Heart Surgery

Experts at UC Davis Health use innovative techniques to help you reach your care goals. Many patients are eligible for minimally invasive cardiothoracic robotic surgery. We use tiny incisions and special technology to carry out complex heart procedures with a high degree of precision.

Aortic Surgery

We repair aorta issues, like dissections and aneurysms, that affect your body’s largest artery. Procedures may reinforce weakened blood vessel walls or fix narrowing and blockages.

Advanced Heart Failure Therapy

If you have heart failure, we implant devices that take over your heart’s pumping action. You may benefit from a ventricular assist device (VAD). Our VAD program maintains The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval™ for delivering state-of-the-art care.

Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (CABG)

Surgeons use a healthy vessel from another body area to reroute blood flow around a blocked artery. UC Davis Health offers robotic-assisted coronary bypass, which uses special technology and tiny incisions to carry out the procedure.

Pacemaker and Implantable Defibrillator Procedures

We implant devices such as pacemakers that help your heart maintain a steady rhythm. After surgery, arrhythmia specialists adjust the settings to your unique needs.

Surgery for Structural Heart Disease

These procedures may be right for you if you have heart valves that are worn out or leaky (structural heart disease). Heart valve repair and replacement services also include minimally invasive robotic approaches and transcatheter approaches, in which we deliver treatments using a long, thin tube.

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Preparing for Heart Surgery

If cardiothoracic surgery is right for you, we coordinate the services that help you have a successful procedure and recovery. Learn more about hospitalization and evaluation.

  • Female nurse looking down at a male patient in a hospital bed

    Before Heart Surgery

    You undergo a comprehensive evaluation to ensure you are healthy enough for surgery. The results help us plan your procedure. You may need blood work, advanced imaging or other tests.

  • Surgical staff operating on a heart patient in the operating room

    During Heart Surgery

    We use minimally invasive techniques whenever possible. But if a conventional open-chest procedure is necessary, you still receive the best available care. Our experts successfully treat the region’s most complex cases.

  • Male heart surgery patient in hospital bed looking up at his surgeon

    After Heart Surgery

    You may need to stay in the hospital for up to a week after your procedure. Our team checks on you regularly to ensure your comfort and help your recovery stay on track.

After Cardiac Surgery

Cardiothoracic surgery is one of the many ways we optimize your heart health. Our team is with you during recovery and provides ongoing services that help you feel your best for years to come.

Recovering at Home

When you get home from the hospital, rest is essential. You can expect to gradually resume daily activities over a period of weeks.

Cardiac Rehabilitation (Rehab)

We may recommend cardiac rehab after specific types of surgery, like heart vessel bypass procedures and heart valve repair or replacement. This supervised exercise and coaching program helps you safely start a physical activity program and learn other healthy lifestyle habits.

Follow-Up Care

You may face a lifetime risk of heart issues, even with successful surgery. Heart and vascular specialists help you stay as healthy as possible with monitoring and additional therapies if you need them.

Awards and Recognitions
USNWR Best Hospital badge

Ranked among the nation’s best hospitals

A U.S. News & World Report best hospital in cancer, cardiology, heart & vascular surgery, diabetes & endocrinology, ENT, geriatrics, neurology & neurosurgery, obstetrics & gynecology, and pulmonology & lung surgery.

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US News & World Report best Children’s Hospital badge

Ranked among the nation’s best children’s hospitals

A U.S. News & World Report best children’s hospital in diabetes & endocrinology, nephrology, and orthopedics*. (*Together with Shriners Children’s)

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USNWR best regional hospital badge

Ranked Sacramento’s #1 hospital

Ranked Sacramento’s #1 hospital by U.S. News, and high-performing in COPD, colon cancer surgery, diabetes, heart attack, heart failure, hip fracture, hip replacement, kidney failure, leukemia, lymphoma & myeloma, lung cancer surgery, ovarian cancer surgery, pneumonia, prostate cancer surgery, stroke, TAVR, uterine cancer surgery, gastroenterology & GI surgery, and orthopedics.

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Magnet designation badge

The nation’s highest nursing honor

UC Davis Medical Center has received Magnet® recognition, the nation’s highest honor for nursing excellence.

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Chime acute badge

“Most Wired” for acute care

UC Davis Health has been recognized as a level 10 out of 10 in the Digital Health “Most Wired” program from the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME). The honor recognizes excellence in using technology to improve the delivery of care.

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Chime ambulatory badge

“Most Wired” for ambulatory care

UC Davis Health has been recognized as a level 10 out of 10 in the Digital Health “Most Wired” program from the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME). The honor recognizes excellence in using technology to improve the delivery of care.

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NCI badge

World-class cancer care

One of ~56 U.S. cancer centers designated “comprehensive” by the National Cancer Institute.

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A leader in health care equality

For the 11th consecutive year, UC Davis Medical Center has been recognized as a “Leader in LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality.”

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