All types of heart surgery for adults are available at Royal Papworth Hospital:

Coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) is an operation to bypass narrowed coronary arteries to relieve angina and help prevent heart attacks. Several approaches are available at Royal Papworth, including standard CABG, beating heart CABG, minimally invasive CABG and hybrid revascularisation.

Aortic valve surgery is an operation in which a narrowed or leaky aortic valve is replaced by a valve made out of tissue or artificial material, or repaired, to relieve breathlessness and help prevent heart failure. Royal Papworth offers all types of aortic valve replacement, including minimal access surgery, as well as TAVI (transcatheter aortic valve implantation).

Mitral valve surgery is an operation to repair or replace a narrowed or leaky mitral valve to relieve breathlessness and help prevent heart failure. Royal Papworth offers both approaches and has the largest number of successful mitral valve repair operations in the UK. We also offer minimal access mitral valve surgery and recently we performed our first-ever percutaneous mitral valve leaflet repairs which is a minimally invasive treatment option for patients with mitral regurgitation who may be unsuitable or deemed to much of a risk for open-heart surgery. 

Surgery of the aorta (the body’s largest blood vessel as it exits the heart) is carried out to treat or prevent complications such as aneurysm - ballooning out of the artery - and rupture. Aortic arch surgery involves replacing the aorta with a synthetic tube; it is so complicated that it needs to be replaced in two parts. First, the team removes and replaces the aortic root which comes out of the heart, then the aortic arch which has branches that provide blood to the brain and arms 

Royal Papworth Hospital carries out more operations on the thoracic aorta than anywhere else in the UK and runs a specialist aortic surgery service, with a multidisciplinary team, including vascular surgery at Cambridge University Hospitals.

Arrhythmia surgery is carried out to correct disturbances of heart rhythm. Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common arrhythmia, with 1.5 million people diagnosed and another 500,000 unaware that they have AF. For example, Royal Papworth offers the surgical Maze procedure for atrial fibrillation.

Royal Papworth Hospital's cardiology team is also pioneering a non-surgical treatment using a device called AcQMap

See menu on the right-hand side for more information about some of these operations. 


In addition, Royal Papworth Hospital specialises in:

  • Dealing with complex and superspecialist heart conditions.
  • Providing a service for offering operations to high-risk patients who are denied treatment elsewhere.
  • Combined and multiple procedures, especially in the elderly.


Results, outcomes and outstanding practice 

Results of heart surgery at Royal Papworth are continuously and meticulously scrutinised and survival rates are among the best that can be achieved in the UK and worldwide.

The hospital's cardiothoracic surgery service was singled out for its good practice in the Cardiothoracic Surgery - GIRFT Programme National Specialty Report 2018, where it was praised for 'reducing delays for patients'. 

Surgeons at the hospital routinely review the survival of their patients after heart surgery. Every month, the results of the previous 12 months are examined. Survival is compared with the national results and assessed with regard to casemix (how old and sick the patients are). In January 2019, Royal Papworth was listed as the best-performing NHS hospital in the country for cardiac surgery survival

Serious wound infection is one possible complication following cardiac surgery and usually leads to a longer stay in hospital and a delayed recovery. Using data from 2015-2018, which is the most recent data set available, Royal Papworth Hospital is one of three units to have reported deep sternal wound infection rates below 0.1% (SCTS National Adult Cardiac Surgery Audit 2019)

The hospital is also leading the way with cell salvage, a technique that allows patients to receive their own blood back during surgery which reduces the risk of infection and improves recovery times. 

The Papworth Haemostasis Checklist is another innovation which has improved patient care and in 2019 was nominated for a national patient safety award