Ask the Experts

Cardiothoracic Surgery Heals the Heart

dr. mohan r. sarabu
Mohan R. Sarabu, MD, FACS, FACC
More about Dr. Sarabu

Who are the most common candidates for cardiothoracic surgery?

Any patients who have coronary disease, valve disease, aneurysm of the aorta, reoperation for patients who had previous heart surgery, and patients who are born with a hole in the heart. When patients live long enough after heart surgery, few will need repeat heart surgeries. We also perform minimally invasive heart surgery for patients who are the right candidates for the procedure.

What is the surgery like, from a patient’s perspective?

For any person, going through a major surgery can cause psychological and physical stress. Surgeons spend considerable time allaying their fears about surgery, making them understand the operation and the need for the procedure. 

Cardiac surgeries can run from three or four hours to eight or 10 hours, depending on the complexities. When patients need combined procedures, like bypass and valve or valve and aneurysm, or reoperation, the operation can take a longer time.

What is the post-operative period like?

After completion of the surgery, patients always go to a specialized cardiac surgery unit, which is staffed by specially trained nurses. Typically, 90 percent of the patients are sitting in a chair the following day. The majority of the patients go home within four or five days. This time frame depends on how old the patients are and how complex the surgery is. We always encourage family and friends to be involved actively when patients convalesce after discharge. Also, the Mended Hearts Association has been very supportive to patients after surgery.

What criteria should patients use when evaluating cardiothoracic surgeons?

Consider years of experience, outcome of the surgeries, and word of mouth. The New York State Department of Health website (www.health.ny.gov) has information about every surgeon who performs heart surgery, as well as their outcomes.

What about cardiothoracic surgery most excites you and makes you love doing what you do?

I had a desire from age 11 to be a heart surgeon. Most of my life has been devoted to heart surgery. The whole body depends on the well-functioning of the heart. Fixing heart ailments that require surgery and providing a better quality of life to patients are very rewarding experiences. I have some patients who had heart surgery more than 30 years ago and are still doing well. A patient’s participation in better care after the surgery is the key for long-term success.

I have been named on the “Top Doctors” list by Castle Connelly for more than 10 years, and I also have one of the lowest mortality rates for cardiac surgery, according to the NYS Department of Health: Adult Cardiac Surgery in New York State 2010-2012 Report. Heart surgery is my passion.


Dr. Sarabu served as an Attending Surgeon in Cardiothoracic Surgery at Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla, performing all types of adult and pediatric heart surgery; he also served as Assistant Professor of Surgery and Associate Director of Cardiac Surgery at Mt. Sinai. In 2006, Vassar Brothers Medical Center invited him to be Director and Chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery.


Vassar Brothers Medical Center
Health Quest Medical Practice
1 Columbia Street, Suite 300
Poughkeepsie, NY 12601
845-483-0100
TTY /Accessibility: (800) 421-1220
www.healthquest.org/hearthealth


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