Heart surgery

Kaweah Health opens new cardiac surgery clinic

The existing clinic, which has been brought under the Kaweah Health umbrella, houses the hospital’s cardiothoracic surgery team led by Dr. Frederick Mayer. The clinic will offer patients surgical procedures to treat diseases and conditions of the heart and chest performed at Kaweah Health Medical Center.

“We are pleased to welcome back Dr. Frederick Mayer, who led our inaugural cardiothoracic program,” said Kaweah Health CEO Gary Herbst. “It was great to see him return to Kaweah Health and be welcomed with open arms by our doctors and staff.”

Dr. Mayer was recruited in 1996 to lead Kaweah Health’s first cardiac and thoracic surgery program from San Diego, where he was part of the Naval Health System. He has cared for heart patients at other hospitals for the past 10 years, but returned in 2019 to replace Kaweah Health heart surgeons as needed. Dr. Mayer is the Medical Director of the Cardiothoracic Surgery Program and performs Cardiothoracic Surgery with the support of other Cardiothoracic Surgeons as he works to develop Kaweah Health’s program.

Dan Allain, vice president of cardiac and surgical services at Kaweah Health, said Dr. Mayer never left Visalia while working as a surgeon in other capacities throughout the state. Already named one of America’s top 50 hospitals for cardiac surgery by Healthgrades and affiliated with the Heart & Vascular Institute at Cleveland Clinic, the #1 ranked cardiac program in the United States, Allain said the new clinic will help the hospital recruit new cardiologists in its ranks.

“We are here to do our best for our community and provide them with world-class service that surpasses others in our area and state,” Allain said. “We think we’re going to bring in the best surgeons available in our community.”

The Cardiothoracic Surgery Team will handle all cardiac surgeries for Kaweah Health’s highly touted Cardiac Program, such as:

Minimally invasive heart surgery – While open heart surgery requires an 8-10 inch incision, a surgeon performing minimally invasive heart valve surgery can use incisions half the size to replace or repair faulty valves or restore the normal function of a person’s heart.

Open Heart Surgery – More than one million heart surgeries are performed in the United States every year to correct heart problems. In California, Kaweah Health has one of the highest open-heart surgery volumes in the state.

Heart valve surgery – Two common problems caused by valve disease are a narrowing of the valve opening and a leaking valve. When a valve narrows or leaks, blood flow is restricted. This puts a strain on the heart and can lead to heart failure and irregular heartbeats.

Septal defects – Atrial septal defects or ventricular septal defects are basically holes in the heart, either in the septum or in the ventricle. They allow blood to flow back to parts of the heart and lungs where it shouldn’t. Kaweah Health’s partner surgeons surgically repair the damage with sutures or by sealing the hole.

Maze Procedure – The Maze Procedure is a surgical treatment that stops an irregular heartbeat, reducing the risk of blood clots or stroke.

Thoracic Surgery – Kaweah Health’s Thoracic Surgery Program provides Central Valley residents with specialized surgical treatment of the organs of the chest. Chest surgery can treat diseased or injured organs in the chest, including: the esophagus, trachea, the membranes that protect a person’s lungs, the area between their lungs, as well as their chest wall, diaphragm, heart and lungs.

Led by two of the region’s most accomplished and renowned cardiothoracic surgeons, Kaweah Health’s cardiothoracic care team has performed more than 6,000 open-heart surgeries. Teams of cardiac surgeons, cardiologists, vascular surgeons, nurses, perfusionists and cardiac technicians work together to provide a continuum of care that will give patients the best possible outcome. In Visalia, Kaweah Health’s dedicated cardiac team partners with local cardiologists and cardiac surgeons to provide cardiothoracic care to patients in Visalia, Hanford, Tulare, Porterville, Fresno, Bakersfield and surrounding areas.

Kaweah Health’s Cardiothoracic Surgery Clinic is conveniently located at 505 W. Main Street, one block west of Kaweah Health Medical Center with entrance and parking on Acequia Avenue. It measures 3,000 square feet with four patient care rooms and is staffed with cardiothoracic surgeons, three medical assistants and office staff. The clinic is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.