HEART SURGEONS | Heart Care Chicago

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CTVSA brings together board-certified physicians who have
extensive training and experience in diagnosing and treating diseases
of the heart, chest, and circulatory system. Every member of our
cardiac team is dedicated to excellence and individualized care.


When you learn you have a heart condition, you want a team of cardiac physicians that can offer you the highest level of care available. Cardiothoracic & Vascular Surgical Associates (CTVSA) offers extensive cardiac services in Chicago to treat and manage a wide variety of heart conditions. Our surgeons perform a wide range of procedures, including open-heart surgery, minimally invasive and transcatheter approaches to valve replacement, heart assist devices and transplant surgery, among many more.


Cardiac surgery at CTVSA focuses on procedures to treat conditions affecting the cardiothoracic and vascular systems. These conditions may include:

  • Coronary Artery Disease: Coronary artery disease develops when plaque builds up inside the heart’s major blood vessels.
  • Valvular Disease: Vascular disease affects the valves that prevent blood from flowing backward inside blood vessels in between heartbeats.
  • Angina: Angina, characterized by chest pain, is often a symptom of coronary artery disease.
  • Atrial Fibrillation: Atrial fibrillation is characterized by an irregular and often rapid heart rate.
doctor holding the hand of a heart surgery patient


Our team is comprised of highly trained surgeons, nurse practitioners and staff. Our surgeons are all board certified in their specialty, holding certifications from The American Board of Thoracic Surgery, The American Board of Vascular Surgery, The American Board of Internal Medicine, and The American Board of Surgery. With decades of experience behind them, our physicians offer an exceptional experience to all our patients.

CTVSA is one of the busiest cardiothoracic and vascular surgery groups in the state of Illinois, performing thousands of surgeries each year. Along with the extensive list of services to treat and manage a wide array of conditions, our physicians are focused on caring for our patients and helping them lead healthier lives.

We offer extensive cardiac services to treat and manage a wide array of cardiac conditions. Read below to see each of the areas we specialize in to see which area can improve your overall health.

Our Heart Care Offices

With heart care clinics throughout the greater Chicago area, CTVSA ensures convenient access to advanced cardiac and thoracic surgical services. With offices staffed by board-certified cardiac surgeons and partnerships with some of Illinois’ most prestigious hospitals, you will receive integrated care for your condition. Whether you’re in Aurora, Chicago, Elk Grove Village, Libertyville, Oak Lawn, Barrington, Elgin, Kankakee, New Lenox, or the vicinity, a CTVSA center is within reach, ready to provide you with comprehensive treatment tailored to your specific needs.

Cardiac Surgery Services for Heart Health

Our cardiologists in the greater Chicago area specialize in the following procedures.

Traditional surgeries of the heart involve an incision through the sternum (or breastbone). The patient will be under general anesthesia for an hour or more depending on the type of surgery. These surgeries may require the patient’s blood to be circulated through a heart-lung machine. This both oxygenates and pumps the blood while the surgeon works on the heart.

Coronary artery bypass graft surgery is one of the most common surgeries performed on the heart today. When blood flow is limited to an area of the heart due to narrowed or blocked arteries from plaque build up (fatty deposits), build up, a surgeon can graft (or sew) a different blood vessel on the heart. These blood vessels can be taken from inside the chest, the leg or arms depending on the type of blockage and the size of the blood vessels. The placement of the additional blood vessels allows blood to bypass the blocked artery and restore blood flow to the heart muscle.

The heart has four valves that open and shut as the heart pumps. Sometimes valves in the heart do not close tightly and allow blood to “leak” backwards. Other times a valve may not open fully and can cause increased pressure in the heart. These problems with the valves can overwork the heart and begin to cause symptoms such as swelling, shortness of breath, fatigue and chest pain. When the valve dysfunction is severe enough, surgery may be required to either repair or replace the affected valves.

Heart valve surgery is most commonly done as an open heart surgery with an incision through the sternum. Some valve problems can be corrected by removing excess tissue, reshaping the valve, or adding a supportive ring around it. Others need to be completely replaced using either a plastic or metal valve or a valve created from pig or cow tissue. (St. Jude/Edwards pictures) Your surgeon will help you decide which is the best option for you.

Ablations are procedures used to treat arrhythmia (irregular heart rhythms). Some ablations can be treated by a cardiologist without surgery. Others can be performed during heart surgery by the cardiac surgeon. Small incisions or cauterizations are made in the heart wall in order to interrupt abnormal electrical impulses. When these areas heal, scar tissue forms that redirects the electrical impulses to a more normal conduction rhythm.

A minimally invasive heart surgery is performed without a large incision through the breastbone. Instead, several small incisions are made through the side of the chest and special instruments are inserted to perform the procedure. With a minimally invasive approach, patients have fewer complications relating to bleeding and can typically return home and to regular activity sooner. Our team pioneered early minimally invasive valve procedures in the state of Illinois and continues to offer this type of surgery to patients who meet the criteria.

We also offer another form of minimally invasive valve procedure called a transcatheter valve replacement, commonly referred to as TAVR. This technique is offered to the population of patients who cannot undergo the more invasive surgical approach. It is performed in a hybrid operating room with a specialized group of health professionals including the cardiac surgeon, a cardiologist, and a team of specially trained nurses and technicians.

Similar to the minimally invasive approach, there is a lower risk of infection and bleeding associated with a smaller incision. The patient will experience less scarring and fewer days spent in the hospital, allowing for an earlier return to work and other activities.

Our integrated team includes a group of cardiologists and surgeons who specialize in treating advanced heart failure patients. Together, they see thousands of patients every year.Heart failure has numerous causes such as heart disease or high blood pressure and has the potential to severely damage the heart. As the disease progresses, it can evolve into advanced heart failure. Some advanced heart failure patients may benefit from treatment with a specialized heart pump.

These mechanical devices pump blood from the heart to the rest of the body and are considered lifesaving. They may be used as destination therapy, meaning they are left in permanently, or they may be used as a temporary support for the heart until it is strong enough to regain its function. Most of these devices are implanted within the body with a power supply outside of the body. Depending on the type of heart failure a patient has, they may require a pump for the left heart, right heart or even both. Any pump that is used may dramatically improve the quality of life for our patients. Your surgeon will discuss which device would be appropriate for you.

When all other options have been exhausted, someone with advanced heart failure may be a candidate for a heart transplant. Patients are typically placed on a waitlist for a heart to become available. Once a heart is available, the patient is brought into the hospital for the transplant procedure. During a transplant, a patient’s diseased heart is removed and a heart from a donor is transplanted into their chest. This procedure is considered a life-saving surgery that may allow patients to return to a more functional lifestyle.

A ventricular septal defect (VSD) can occur in adults after surgery or a heart attack. It is characterized by a hole in the wall between the lower chambers of the heart. In some instances, the hole may close on its own. In situations where it does not, surgery or a catheter-based approach may be necessary to close the hole.

The aorta is the largest artery in the body and pumps oxygen-rich blood from your heart to your other organs and limbs. There are a range of conditions that may cause the aorta to dilate (widen), which can result in an aortic aneurysm or tear (dissection). Some of these conditions include high blood pressure, atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), genetic conditions, or connective tissue disorders. Your surgeon will discuss with you when surgery may be required to treat these conditions.

Our Heart Surgeons in Chicago

Antone Tatooles, MD

Cardiothoracic Surgeon

Headshot of Dr. Chadrick A. Cross, MD. Cardiothoracic surgeon.

Chadrick Cross, MD

Cardiothoracic Surgeon

Headshot of Pat S. Pappas, MD. Cardiothoracic surgeon.

Pat Pappas, MD

Cardiothoracic Surgeon

Headshot of Dr. David R. Stern, MD. Cardiothoracic surgeon

David Stern, MD

Cardiothoracic Surgeon

Get Started With Heart Surgical Care

Our goal is to make sure that every patient is well informed of their options when making their decisions. We want to support our patients and their families throughout this process and encourage open communication with our team.