How many valve repairs/ aortic surgeries do you do every year?
This is an essential question, as practice makes perfect. Cardiac surgery is no different than any other technical field, the number of practice hours improves outcomes. We perform more than 200 major aortic procedures each year at NYP/Columbia's Aortic Surgery Program.
What is the cause of my aortic disease?
There are a variety of causes of aortic disease. They include genetic and acquired causes. Genetic include BAV and connective tissues. Acquired include heavy weight lifting, cigarette smoking, and food in the western diet, hypertension, and bad luck.
This question has implications for follow-up of both you and your family members. If the disease is due to a bicuspid valve, then the aortic root procedure is curative, but an evaluation of your siblings and children is indicated.
How many surgeries do you do each year to treat my condition?
Many procedures require advanced skill levels, such as aortic valve repair. It is necessary to have performed at least 50 valve repairs in order to develop a comfort level in assessing and reproducibly repairing the aortic valve.
What are your outcomes for patients with my condition?
It is essential for surgeons to follow their patients after surgery to assess long-term outcomes. It is not a success to have the patient merely discharged from the hospital. Success means that the patient resumes a completely independent life without symptoms of disease or consequence of surgery.
How long will my surgery take?
Operations on the aorta typically take between three to six hours. Additional time is required to put you to sleep and prepare you for surgery. Finally, additional time is required to move you from the operating room to the ICU for recovery. At NYP/Columbia, our patient care coordinators will keep your family members apprised of the progress in order to minimize worry.