Marc W. Gerdisch, MD
This page provides information about a featured electrophysiologist, cardiologist, cardiothoracic surgeon, hospital, heart hospital, arrhythmia center, or atrial fibrillation center.
On this page you will find an overview of this atrial fibrillation patient services provider's atrial fibrillation treatments and background, as well as information about this provider's specialized afib procedures, such as catheter ablation, maze surgery, or the mini maze procedure, and the provider's treatment results, when available. There are also reviews by other afib patients, when available.Provide a Patient Review List Your Services with Us
5255 E Stop 11 Rd
Indianapolis, Indiana 46237
Dr. Gerdisch is the Director of Cardiothoracic Surgery at St. Francis Heart Center in Indianapolis, Indiana and a Clinical Assistant Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Loyola University Medical Center.
He received his medical degree from Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine, where he completed his residency in General Surgery and fellowship in Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery. During that time, he also studied mitral valve repair at L’Hospital Broussai in Paris.
In addition to participating in The Society for Thoracic Surgeons, Dr. Gerdisch is active in the American College of Cardiology.
For more information, see:
Atrial Fibrillation Procedures
- Minimally invasive (Mini maze) surgery for atrial fibrillation
- Maze procedure — stand-alone and combined with valve procedures
- Surgical left ventricular restoration for treatment of heart failure
Research and Professional Activities
Doctor Gerdisch has trained many surgeons nationally and internationally to perform Mini-maze surgery. He participates in the MISA (Minimally Invasive Surgery for Afib) Registry which is a multi-center study with rigorous patient follow-up. Data from the study was recently presented at the American Association of Thoracic Surgeons 2008 Meeting.
Lab research has included laser ablation technology and minimally invasive direct intra-cardiac beating heart surgery. Doctor Gerdisch is an investigator in the Onx Valve FDA trial for lower anticoagulation.
He has lectured nationally and internationally on evolving technology and techniques for minimally invasive surgery for atrial fibrillation, valve repair and replacement, and surgery on the beating heart.
The first time I performed a Mini-Maze was over three years ago. A seventy two year old gentleman, who was raising his two three year old grand-daughters, needed to be free of atrial fibrillation (afib) to keep up with them. I spoke with him a few months ago. He explained to me that he tells people he “had atrial fibrillation”. His point was that it is gone and his heart functions normally, meeting the challenges of his active life.
Since then we have performed the procedure for people with many different life stories, from executives to exercise enthusiasts, all with one thing in common — afib affecting their ability to fully live their lives.
Becoming free of afib eliminates a burden with which the patient lives every day. Achieving it requires attention to detail and a comprehensive understanding of the causes and how the heart changes with continued afib.
When patients first visit us, we spend time going over their history to identify factors that may have contributed to the onset of afib. We also carefully assess patients’ heart valves. Disorders of the heart valves have a strong relationship to afib. As we have a large experience with valve repair, we encounter and treat this relationship frequently. Leaving a malfunctioning valve unrepaired, will lead to return of the afib, as well as eventual heart damage due to the valve.
It is important that patients fully understand afib and the treatment options. When we meet the patients, they often already have experience with other therapies. Most have been tried on medications, and many have undergone previous attempts at catheter ablation. Our success, to some degree, depends on how long the patient has been in afib and how much the atria have enlarged. The Mini-Maze has been remarkably effective, even in these more challenging situations.
To properly document the success of the Mini-Maze procedure, we ask all of our patients to participate in long-term follow-up. Our documentation of long term outcomes for our patients is some of the most extensive ever undertaken. In fact, we participate in a long-term multi-center study, recently presented at the annual meeting of American Association of Thoracic Surgeons.
The Mini-Maze is a unique procedure using specific tools. We create complete barriers to conduction of the abnormal rhythm and document their effectiveness with electrophysiologic studies performed during the operation. Also, groups of nerve cells, called ganglionated plexi, are tested and neutralized. These plexi appear to contribute to the incidence and persistence of afib.
Finally, the left atrial appendage is removed. Atrial fibrillation can lead to clot formation in the atrium. The appendage is by far the most common site for clot formation and it can break off, causing a stroke. Elimination of the appendage adds another layer of security. We feel strongly that the superb results we have seen with the Mini-Maze are due to consistent performance of all the operation’s components and confirmation of their completeness.
The Mini-Maze has changed the landscape of surgical afib therapy. From the original Maze procedure the essential elements of successful afib surgery were identified. The Mini-Maze provides another path to elimination of afib, using the same principles.
Our patients have their own stories to tell about their lives after Mini-Maze surgery, and many of them have offered to speak with new patients about their experience.
On March 16, 2006, four days before my 60th birthday, I flew from Denver to Chicago, where Dr. Mark Gerdisch successfully restored my heart beat to sinus rhythm with a Mini-maze procedure. I shall be forever grateful.
My irregular heart rate began several years prior to the operation. At first, exercise induced (most notably after skiing), and later occurring much of the time for no apparent reason, my life style became increasingly diminished. I was put on a number of medications; none worked and most had uncomfortable side effects.
The surgery has enabled me to return to an active lifestyle with no limitations or signs of AFIB. I am eternally grateful to Dr. Gerdisch for giving me a second chance at living a normal active lifestyle. His excellent skill as a surgeon and his dedication to his patients is unequaled; he even gave me his cell phone number when I left the hospital and told me to call if I had any issues or questions what so ever. Thank you Dr. Gerdisch!
-- Rick Watson
Atrial fibrillation brought my life to a standstill, shattering the 65 mile bicycle rides, the 2-3 hour workouts at the health club, and both my body and spirit. Whirling around me were cardioversions (effective from 20 minutes to a few weeks), anti-arrhythmia drugs (one slowing my heart too drastically, another stopping my heart, and a third one inducing gory diabolical hallucinations), and daily combat duty with Coumadin. Fear had wrapped his bony fingers around my life, squeezing out peace and joy and hope, leaving days and weeks and months of eating and reading while trying not to remember what once was and what I believed could never be again.
My cardiologist advised invasive measures in an attempt to control my A-fib. Thus began my education of catheter ablations and mini-mazes. Having taught thousands of college students how to conduct objective research, I began acquiring articles from medical journals, and with the help of dictionaries, translating them into a language I could understand. Comparisons and contrasts in methods, risks, and results between the two procedures slowly emerged. Toting lists of questions, I arrived at consultations with my general physician and cardiologist. Either procedure seemed a viable option and I alone would have to decide between them.
For me, the mini-maze had an important advantage—surgically removing the left atrial appendage where most blood clots form during A-fib. Discovering that a cardiac surgeon who performed mini-mazes was located a few miles away, I scheduled an appointment with Dr. Marc Gerdisch.
One frosty morning, the door of the examination room where Arlene was recording my hearbeat opened and Dr. Marc Gerdisch walked into my life. With his wide smile, firm handshake, and “Hi, I’m Marc Gerdisch. Mind if I take a listen while Arlene has you all prepped?” Our alliance began.
Soon we were knee-to-knee, with Dr. Gerdisch sketching a heart to illustrate what he does during a mini-maze. This was a discussion, not a lecture from an aloof, pompous surgeon. Here was a doctor who obviously took his work seriously, a highly skilled surgeon who believed passionately in the mini-maze procedure, who exuded warmth, vitality, and confidence, but who also possessed a refreshing sense of humor. As we conversed, the fingers of fear gradually abated. And like the mythical Egyptian bird, the Phoenix, hope began to rise from the ashes of my A-fib-dominated life.
Before leaving that exam room, I believed a mini-maze was the best option for me, and Dr. Marc Gerdisch was the cardiac surgeon I wanted behind the scalpel. I was more than just a patient—I became a partner in the journey to restore health, and a partner with a man of genuine integrity and deep compassion.
Most paths have a few twists or turns, but today, well over 2 years since my mini-maze surgery, I’m lighter of body (by 65 lbs.) and buoyant of spirit. Once again life holds joy and peace and hope. And activity—lots of activity: 2-3 hour workouts at the health club most days, walking to the post office or library, tending my 30’x 40’ veggie garden (with no Coumadin to restrict consumption of those green, leafy things), household chores, lawn mowing, playing in my flower patches, cycling as far as I wish, working on hobbies, or well, just enjoying life without A-fib.
Every day I am thankful for the doctors and nurses who helped me along the road to health. But deep within my heart there is a sanctuary reserved for Dr. Marc Gerdisch.
-- Carole Sherman