Heart surgery in Idaho Falls, Idaho

At Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center (EIRMC), our cardiovascular surgeons perform a range of heart and vascular procedures to improve heart function and blood flow. We offer the latest technology to enable minimally invasive surgical techniques and a team that receives ongoing training on technological advancements.

Our surgical team is committed to treating various diseases and conditions to help our patients live a happier and healthier life in southeast Idaho, western Wyoming and southern Montana.

For more information about our heart surgery services, call us at (208) 227-2778

Heart conditions we treat

EIRMC has a robust cardiology program designed to find the best solution to keep your heart healthy. When other treatments have proven ineffective, having heart surgery can be a potential option. Our board-certified cardiac surgeons treat many conditions, including:

  • Heart failure
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Damaged heart valves and structures
  • Infected blood vessels
  • Abnormal heart rhythms

Heart surgeries we perform

Our heart surgeons perform various heart and vascular procedures, including surgery to repair structural heart abnormalities. Some of the heart surgeries we perform include:

  • Aortic valve surgery — This procedure is for patients with aortic stenosis who need the valve replaced. Aortic stenosis is a narrowing of the aortic valve in the heart that causes restricted blood flow through the valve. As a result, the heart contracts harder to pump blood into the aorta.
  • Coronary artery bypass grafting — A procedure to help restore blood flow to the heart by taking blood vessels from other body areas to create a new blood flow route around the areas affected by the heart condition.
  • Maze procedure — This type of heart surgery is performed to treat atrial fibrillation.
  • Vascular surgery Vascular surgery focuses on treating conditions involving the arteries, veins and lymphatic circulation.

Minimally invasive heart surgery

EIRMC has the clinical and surgical experience to offer minimally invasive heart valve repair and replacement.

In traditional heart surgery, an incision is cut down the patient’s chest, the length of the breastbone. This approach provides excellent access to the heart but results in a six to eight-inch incision. The recovery period is typically six to eight weeks and includes significant working, lifting, and driving restrictions.

In contrast, minimally invasive surgery is performed through one or two small incisions aside the rib cage, measuring about three to four inches. Patients can be back to work as soon as a week without lifting or driving restrictions.

Benefits of minimally invasive surgery

There are several benefits of minimally invasive surgery, including :

  • Small incision and a small scar
  • Shorter hospital stay after surgery
  • Lower risk of infection
  • Lower risk of bleeding or needing a blood transfusion
  • Shorter recovery time and faster return to regular activities/work

Preparing for heart surgery

Heart surgery corrects issues when other treatments do not work or cannot be used. Our knowledgeable care team, including surgeons, cardiologists, anesthesiologists and nurses, are skilled in making your surgery a smooth experience. We understand you may have questions about preparing for your surgery, including:

  • Length of hospital stay — Your doctor will tell you approximately how long you will be in the hospital. The length of stay depends upon how quickly you heal, but the average is usually at least four to seven days.
  • Medications — The need for medications after surgery is highly individual. Your doctor or nurse will explain medications that may be necessary for you. It is important to follow the medication list given at discharge. Do not take your old and new medications together unless instructed by your doctor or the nurse giving you discharge instructions.
  • Pain management — There will be soreness at the incision site. Pain medication will be given as needed as you recover. However, it is essential that you keep your nurse informed of your pain levels, so they can administer medications to keep you comfortable.
  • Blood transfusions — You may need blood products during or after your surgery. Your surgeon will discuss this further with you. Let your surgeon know if you do not wish to receive any blood or blood products.
  • Walking after surgery — Walking helps increase circulation, promotes the healing process, improves the lungs' inflation, and helps decrease the amount of strength lost. Patients who are active as soon as possible after surgery do better, heal more quickly and return to regular activity faster than those who are sedentary.
  • Resuming normal activity — Patients can usually continue normal activities during the first month except where normal activities require weight-bearing of the upper body. It would be best if you increased your activities gradually, however, allowing time for rest.
  • Spirometry — Incentive spirometry is a breathing tool to promote good lung inflation. You should continue your breathing exercises for the first month after surgery.

When to contact your doctor after surgery

After heart surgery, call your doctor or seek medical treatment if you have:

  • Any signs of infection, such as redness at the incision site or surrounding it, yellow/green drainage from the incision, or heat at the incision site
  • A change in your heartbeat
  • A fever (higher than 101ºF) or chills
  • Increased fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Swollen ankles or weight gain more than three pounds in 24 hours
  • Dizziness
  • Any other unusual sign or symptom

Cardiac rehabilitation

Our cardiac rehabilitation program is an exercise and educational program for patients recovering from heart surgery or a cardiovascular condition. Our goal is to assess and monitor your fitness capacity, provide education and design a structured recovery plan.

Resources for you and your family

Having heart surgery can raise many questions, not just for you but your family as well.

During heart surgery, we meet with your family to answer questions and address concerns. We teach them about what we're doing and why we're doing it. When you are in our care, your family will never be at a loss for where to turn for support. They'll have team members to lean on and tell them what to expect next, someone they can call upon at any time of the day or night.