Cardiothoracic Surgery

Vyas Rao, MD

R. Keith White, MD
Chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery and Vascular Surgery

The Cardiothoracic Surgery program is a full service program with various kinds of open heart surgeries including lung and esophageal surgeries. Dr. Vyas Rao and Dr. Keith White are outstanding Board Certified surgeons in the community and are full time faculty.

About 200 to 250 open heart surgeries are done every year. Most of the open heart surgeries are coronary artery bypass surgeries with a mix of valvular and aortic surgeries.  Lung and esophageal surgeries are also performed with good success rates.

The clientele for heart surgery extends throughout Louisiana, South Arkansas and Texas. Transfers for surgery are accepted here for indigent patients.  A full service trauma team is available with cardiothoracic backup 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days of the year.  There are 18 beds in the surgical intensive care unit with about a quarter of it being occupied by cardiothoracic surgical patients. Backup by intensivists with expertise in pulmonary and critical care is available if needed. The Cardiothoracic Surgical Team is supported by an excellent team of anesthesiologists in the operating room. Surgical residents rotating through this service for two months get a lot of experience and training which they cherish for life. The care management team strives to place the patients in rehabilitation centers whenever needed for patients who undergo open heart surgery.

Cardiothoracic surgeries also provide acute cardiac cath lab emergencies both at University Health Shreveport and the VA. Our mission is to treat all cardiothoracic surgical patients irrespective of the complexity with the best result possible, no matter what their financial status. The goal is to keep University Health Shreveport as the "Provider Institution" providing the highest level of cardiothoracic surgical service in the entire area. The operating rooms are fully equipped with the latest instruments including the cardiac ablation devices used to treat cardiac arrythymias.

LSU Health Shreveport Cardiothoracic Surgery has so far achieved the highest level of complex aortic dissection and aneurysm surgeries done in the local area. This also is the last stop for anyone who needs cardiothoracic surgery and can't afford it. Nobody is turned away. In addition to adult cardiac surgery the premature neonates are also treated here. These initially ill patients were shipped out of state for such surgeries in the past. They are now taken care of locally. Along with the partnership of the Intensivists who run the ECMO program here, the Department of Surgery is aggressively looking to establish an active "Pediatric Open Heart Surgery Program" in the future. This is much needed for the community as well as in training residents.