A heart center brings together various specialists in a specialized clinic for cardiology and cardiovascular surgery. Here, patients find help with congenital heart defects, after heart attacks or with cardiovascular diseases. Doctors who work in heart centers usually have a medical specialization in cardiology.
Cardiac Center - Further information
At a heart centre, patients receive help with questions of cardiac surgery, invasive (e.g. examinations of the coronary arteries) and non-invasive cardiology (above all ECG) and vascular diseases. In general, rehabilitation following a necessary surgery is also possible directly in the clinic.
Depending on the heart center, different specializations in patient care are offered. In general, however, the following surgical procedures in heart surgery are most frequently offered in a heart center:
Especially in the case of a pathological aneurysm of the aorta, preventive surgery is often necessary. This is because there is a risk that the aneurysm will rupture, leading to massive bleeding and rapid death. Cardiology specialists at a heart center can surgically treat such a vessel and reduce this risk by inserting vascular stents.
Diverting the blood: The bypass surgery
Constricted coronary vessels sooner or later usually lead to symptoms of angina pectoris or even to a heart attack. The only remaining way to prevent this is often the so-called bypass surgery. The narrowed coronary vessels are bridged by means of a cross-connection in front of the damaged area. This ensures sufficient blood and oxygen supply to the heart muscle and the initial symptoms disappear again.
Constrictions due to plaque can occur not only in the coronary arteries, but also within the carotid arteries. However, they supply the brain with blood and oxygen. If too little of this reaches the brain, there is a risk of a stroke. In cardiac surgery, such vascular constrictions are treated via small "tubes", the so-called stents.
Vascular surgery, on the other hand, deals with diseases of the arteries and veins, such as degeneration or hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis), as well as various forms of circulatory disorders.
Heart valve replacement ("artificial heart valves")
Nowadays, damaged heart valves can be surgically replaced at a specialized heart center using heart surgery to restore heart function.
Cardiac arrhythmias or the dreaded atrial fibrillation increase the risk of strokes and may require surgery as the disease progresses. Using a special heart-catheter, the cardiac surgeon will then work directly on the heart tissue in order to silence pathologically altered excitation centres in the heart muscle. The aim of the procedure is to enable the heart to return to a "normal" rhythm in a natural way.
Modern pacemakers are versatile "auxiliary motors" for a controlled heart function. Not only do they stimulate a heart that works too slowly, they also intervene when the heart is racing or weak.
Repair of the atrial septum
Congenital heart defects also require heart surgery within a specialised heart center. For example, there are atrial septal defects, which are mainly a congenital hole in the cardiac septum. In order to prevent the formation of low-oxygen mixed blood, atrial septal defects are surgically closed in the heart center.
Which specialists work at a heart center?
Heart centers are usually run by cardiologists and heart surgeons. In addition, there are angiologists, physiologists, anesthetists and other non-physician professional groups in order to provide the best possible care for heart patients in an interdisciplinary team.
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Kardiologie – Herz- und Kreislaufforschung e.V.