Conditions and treatments at the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery

​​Cardiothoracic surgery involves the surgical treatment of diseases affecting the organs of the thorax (chest) primarily the heart, the lungs, and the oesophagus.​


​ ​Major diseases of the heart and the great vessels include coronary artery disease (atherosclerosis and thrombosis of the nutritive cardiac vessels) leading to ischemic heart disease, valvular heart disease affecting most often the aortic and mitral valves leading to congestive heart disease, and aneurysm and dissection of the thoracic aorta. 

Congenital heart d​iseases

Congenital heart diseases are developmental defects of the newborn heart. These defects can either be simple structural defects in an otherwise normal heart (i.e. septal defect or stenotic valve), or complex defects with hypoplastic heart chambers and abnormal vascular connections (i.e. double outlet right ventricle). 
The heart defect can be part of a congenital syndrome (i.e. Marfan, Down, DiGeorge) affecting other organs, but most often the cause of the defect is unknown. 

Common diseases of the lungs

Common diseases of the lungs diagnosed, staged, and treated at the department are cancer (including metastasis from other cancers), pulmonary cysts causing pneumothorax (a collection of air inside the pleural cavity), and emphysema (the destruction of alveolar septae) causing hyperinflation of the lungs.

The collection of pus (empyema) in the pleural cavity (the pleura is the serous membrane covering the lung and the inside of the chest wall) typically seen after a severe lung infection must be drained or even surgically removed.

The department is the Scandinavian Centre for the surgical treatment of mesothelioma (pleural cancer), and a world Expert Centre under EACTS for minimally invasive thoracoscopic surgery.

Paediatric lung diseases most often treated are congenital lung cysts (cystic adenomatoid malformation (CAM)) and lung sequestrations (a lung segment with abnormal blood supply and no airway).

Among the diseases of the oesophagus mainly diagnosed, staged, and treated at the department are cancer, corrosive injuries (i.e. from a chemical substance), strictures, and perforations, and achalasia (a muscular disease causing difficulty swallowing).

Chest wall tumours and congenital deformities such as pectus excavatum and carinatum (hollowed - and pigeon chest) are treated.

All cancer diagnosis, staging and treatment are of course in close collaboration with the departments of radiology, pathology, oncology, radiation oncology, and general surgery for the oesophageal cancer.     

Organ transplant

The ultimate treatment for heart and lung failure is organ transplant, and the department performs all types of implantation of left ventricular assist devices and artificial lungs as a bridge-to-transplant therapy.

Assistance to the Trauma Centre

The department provides surgical assistance to the hospital's trauma centre, treating all types of cardiothoracic injuries such as rib and sternum fractures, heart, airway and lung contusions, lacerations, aortic rupture, as well as active rewarming treatment of the severely hypothermic (cold) patient. 

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