When a person has hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a condition that impacts 1 in every 500 people, sometimes the condition can become severe enough that surgical intervention may the best way to avoid further complications and alleviate symptoms.
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) causes the muscles in the heart to become stiff and thick over time. Eventually, this condition can lead to significant day-to-day discomfort, heart failure, heart arrhythmia, mitral valve disease and even sudden cardiac death.
Georgia Heart Institute offers testing and ongoing care for patients with this condition, including advanced heart surgery options, including robotic surgery for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
Endoscopic robotic septal myectomy
While septal myectomy is usually an open-heart surgery, requiring opening up and spreading the rib cage to access to the heart, we can perform this surgery through five small incisions from 8 – 15 mm, giving access for the robot and the endoscope so the surgeon can see and operate the arms. Robotic septal myectomy can have similar or better outcomes than traditional open surgery, while significantly improving the experience for the patient.
During this procedure, the remove a portion of the heart muscle (the septum) that has begun to obstruct the flow of blood through the heart and out into the body. This will immediately restore better function.
Additionally, if the enlargement of the muscles in the heart have also causes damage to the mitral valve, causing mitral valve regurgitation or prolapse, we can repair or replace the mitral valve at the same time using this approach.
Frequently asked questions
There are several treatment options for HCM, including medication. Usually, more intensive treatment is only recommended for patients whose condition has led to an obstruction in the flow of blood to the body or where the patient has negative symptoms, like chest pain, fainting or swelling, and medication hasn’t helped. It may also be recommended for patients with HCM who want to carry a pregnancy.
Typically septal myectomy is seen as a low-risk procedure, but as with any major surgery, there are risks, particularly for build-up of fluid around the heart or lungs or for arrhythmias post-surgery.
However, septal myectomy can have a significant ability to alleviate symptoms, like chest pain, fainting or shortness of breath, and it can help head-off or treat complications, like heart failure or mitral valve disease. Patients who have had septal myectomy have the same survival rates as the general population, and they have better survival rates than people who have hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy and have not had the procedure.
Often, some of the most negative impacts from this surgery are pain and recovery times, but robotic surgery offers a significant advantage in this regard.
No, robotic surgery is a great option for septal myectomy, although few centers throughout the country can offer this innovative approach. Robotic surgery requires a highly trained surgeon and a wraparound surgical team, all of whom can work together to provide excellent care to the patient. Outcomes for robotic septal myectomy are similar or better than outcomes for open heart septal myectomy.
All of our patients will recover in Georgia Heart Institute’s specialized heart surgery intensive care unit, where they will be monitored by a care team that has specialized education in their needs. Some patients may feel immediately relief to negative symptoms they’d previously been experiencing.
An average hospital stay for a patient with open septal myectomy might be 5 days, but for patients who’ve had robotic septal myectomy, they may stay in the hospital for 2 – 5 days.
Since Georgia Heart Institute offers a minimally-invasive robotic approach, this can be a great option for many patients. However, for some patients, their age or their condition may make them a poor candidate for a successful surgery. Our main priority is always to provide our patients with the most effective option that will give them the longest lasting result. In those cases, we may refer the patient to our Structural Heart Center for a catheter-based procedure to help treat hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
Why choose Georgia Heart Institute?
As one of the only programs in Georgia to offer robotic septal myectomy, the cardiovascular surgeons of Northeast Georgia Physicians Group, a part of Georgia Heart Institute, focus on providing the highest quality care to patients while reducing pain and recovery times for our patients.
Our collaborative team of heart surgeons, cardiologists and highly-skilled advanced practitioners come together to evaluate each patient’s condition and determine a treatment plan that will offer the highest quality outcomes through the least invasive option.
Connect with our program
Referrals are required for surgical services, but our knowledgeable team is always happy to answer your questions and provide next steps. Call 770-219-7099 to discuss your surgery with our team.
If you are a clinician who needs to refer a patient for cardiothoracic surgery, please contact our program directly at 770-219-7099. Our program coordinator can answer any questions you have and help schedule your patient to see one of our board-certified cardiothoracic surgeons.