Olaf Reinhartz , MD
Oakland Magazine Best East Bay Doctors 2007-2008
Cardiac Surgeon, Division of Surgery
Division Chief of Pediatric Cardiothoracic Surgery
Residency: University of California, San Francisco, CA
Fellowship: Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA
Board Certification: Cardiothoracic Surgery
Language(s): English, German
As a pediatric cardiac surgeon, Olaf Reinhartz, MD, is an expert in the repair of congenital heart defects. He handles relatively simple defects as well as complex neonatal repairs and all types of single ventricle palliation. Many centers typically use a heart-lung machine and very low temperatures during bypass surgery. But Dr. Reinhartz and his team of pediatric cardiologists often use alternative techniques, including passive shunt techniques and more complicated perfusion techniques. These alternatives can reduce inflammation and the need for blood transfusions, and improve neurologic outcomes. He also offers his patients cosmetic incisions when appropriate. The Cardiology and Cardiothoracic Surgery divisions cover the whole spectrum of congenital cases, performing more than 200 cardiac procedures each year.
At Children's Hospital & Research Center Oakland there are approximately 200 heart operations performed on infants and young children each year. We have one of the lowest mortality and morbidity (complications following a surgical procedure or treatment) rates in the country.
Source: Children’s Hospital & Research Center Oakland
Congenital Heart Defects
Each year, more than 32,000 babies are born in the United States with heart defects. These defects occur shortly after conception, when the heart is starting to develop. Their severity ranges from simple defects, such as “holes” between chambers of the heart, to more complex malformations, like missing chambers and/or valves
Types of Cardiac Surgery
Surgery for congenital heart defects usually falls into one of three categories: “closed” corrective surgery, open-heart corrective surgery or palliative surgery.
Closed corrective surgery does not require the use of cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB) because there is no need to open the heart to repair the defect. Typical procedures include closing a fetal blood vessel, repairing a congenital narrowing of the aorta (largest artery in body) and repairing vascular rings.
Open-heart corrective surgery is used to correct defects inside the heart. During these procedures, CPB is used to supply oxygen to the blood and pump blood through the body, bypassing the heart and lungs. Some procedures require hypothermia, which lowers the body temperature and allows the surgeon to decrease circulation while safely repairing the heart.
Palliative surgery is used almost exclusively in the treatment of complex defects that are not suited to early or complete correction. In these cases, a staged approach to treatment is more effective. Palliative surgery provides a bridge of time to prepare the heart for the possibility of eventual complete repair.
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