Browse Health
Surgical Specialist, Cardiothoracic Surgeon
30 years of experience
Accepting new patients


Education ?

Medical School
University Of Iceland (1982)
Foreign school

Awards & Distinctions ?

American Board of Thoracic Surgery
Society of Thoracic Surgeons
American Board of Surgery
Cardiothoracic Surgery Network

Affiliations ?

Dr. Halldorsson is affiliated with 5 hospitals.

Hospital Affiliations



  • University Medical Center - Lubbock
    Thoracic Surgery (Cardiothoracic Vascular Surgery)
    602 Indiana Ave, Lubbock, TX 79415
    Top 50%
  • Lincoln County Medical Center
  • TX Tech Physicians Associates
  • University Medical Center
  • University of IL Medical Center at Chicago
  • Publications & Research

    Dr. Halldorsson has contributed to 11 publications.
    Title Laparoscopic Greater Omentum Harvesting with Split-thickness Skin Grafting for Sternal Wound Dehiscence.
    Date October 2006
    Journal The American Surgeon

    Sternal wound dehiscence is a serious complication occasionally requiring soft tissue coverage. The greater omentum typically has been used as a last resort because of the underlying morbidity from a laparotomy. We present a case in which a laparoscopically created omental flap with subsequent split-thickness skin grafting was used to correct a large soft tissue defect that occurred after sternal wound dehiscence developed. A nonambulatory 49-year-old man who underwent coronary artery bypass grafting developed sternal wound dehiscence. Because a large soft tissue defect developed after multiple debridements, soft tissue coverage was required. A laparoscopically harvested omental flap spared this man's upper extremity musculature and provided a soft tissue bed for split-thickness skin grafting. This case helps to establish the role of laparoscopically harvested omentum. If the results suggested by this case are confirmed in a large series, omental flaps should be considered as options of first choice in the management of sternal wound dehiscence.

    Title Benign Myoepithelioma of the Lung: a Case Report and Review of the Literature.
    Date December 2001
    Journal Archives of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine

    This report describes a benign myoepithelioma of the lung that occurred in a 60-year-old woman. The patient had experienced hoarseness for 6 weeks, and a computed tomographic scan showed a nodule of approximately 2 cm in diameter at the peripheral portion of her right upper lung. Positron emission tomography showed no uptake of F-18 fluorodeoxyglucose in the nodule. Wedge biopsy of the lesion showed benign spindle cells arranged in a whorled pattern. The cells were positive for both cytokeratin and smooth muscle actin, which corresponded to the presence of tonofilaments and myofilaments that were identified ultrastructurally. The features of the present case of benign myoepithelioma that differ from features of previously reported benign and malignant cases of myoepithelioma in the lung are discussed in the report.

    Title Modification of the Subclavian Patch Aortoplasty for Repair of Aortic Coarctation in Neonates and Infants.
    Date April 2000
    Journal The Annals of Thoracic Surgery

    BACKGROUND: Coarctation repair in neonates or small infants, using a subclavian patch, has a relatively high risk of restenosis, especially if complicated by the presence of a short subclavian artery or long coarctation segment. We introduce a technical modification that facilitates the use of a subclavian flap, and decreases the restenosis rate in this subgroup of patients. It consists of a side-to-side transverse aortic anastomosis at the level of the coarctation, which widens the coarctation segment, shortens the isthmus, and pulls the distal end of the aortotomy proximally, allowing a tension-free subclavian flap aortoplasty. METHODS: Fifty-three consecutive neonates or infants less than 18 weeks old, with complex coarctation, underwent repair using this technique. Mean age was 26+/-3 days and 36 patients (68%) were less than 28 days old. Weights ranged from 1.4 to 6.4 kg (mean 3.4+/-0.2 kg), and 26 patients had other cardiac anomalies. Preoperative gradient by Doppler measurement ranged from 25 to 90 mm Hg (mean 49+/-2 mm Hg). RESULTS: Mean aortic cross-clamp time was 27+/-1 minutes (range 19 to 34 minutes). There were no deaths or surgical complications. Follow-up echocardiogram 4 to 52 months postoperatively (mean 25+/-2 months) demonstrated no significant pressure gradient (less than 20 mm Hg) in 51 of 53 patients (96%), and a significant gradient in 2 patients (4%), which was subsequently corrected with balloon angioplasty. CONCLUSIONS: The technical modification described shortens the isthmus, and thus allows for a longer aortotomy distal to the area of coarctation resulting in a tension-free repair especially in patients with a short subclavian artery. It also widens the area of coarctation, and as a result leads to a lower early recoarctation rate in this high-risk group. With increasing emphasis on the need for a longer aortotomy to prevent restenosis, this modification will have increasing application, especially in the neonatal population.

    Title Lowering Reperfusion Pressure Reduces the Injury After Pulmonary Ischemia.
    Date February 2000
    Journal The Annals of Thoracic Surgery

    BACKGROUND: Controlled reperfusion with a modified solution limits pulmonary injury following ischemia. Our initial studies infused this modified reperfusate at a pressure of 40 to 50 mm Hg to insure distribution. However, perhaps a lower pressure, which is closer to the normal physiologic pressure in the lung, would improve results by decreasing sheer stress. METHODS: Fifteen adult pigs underwent 2 hours of lung ischemia by clamping the left bronchus and pulmonary artery. Five (group 1) then underwent uncontrolled reperfusion by removing the vascular clamps and allowing unmodified blood to reperfuse the lung at a pulmonary artery pressure of 20 to 30 mm Hg. The other 10 pigs underwent controlled reperfusion by mixing blood from the femoral artery with a crystalloid solution, and infusing this modified reperfusate into the ischemic lung through the pulmonary artery for 10 minutes before removing the arterial clamp. In 5 (group 2), the modified solution was infused at a pressure of 40 to 50 mm Hg, and in 5 (group 3) 20 to 30 mm Hg. Lung function was assessed 60 minutes after reperfusion and expressed as percentage of control. RESULTS: Compared to uncontrolled reperfusion (group 1), controlled reperfusion at a pressure of 40 to 50 mm Hg (group 2) significantly improved postreperfusion pulmonary compliance (77% versus 86%; p<0.001 versus group 1), and arterial/alveolar ratio (a/A) ratio (27% versus 52%; p<0.001 versus group 1); as well as decreased pulmonary vascular resistance (PVR) (198% versus 154%; p<0.001 versus group 1), lung water (84.3% versus 83.5%; p<0.001 versus group 1), and myeloperoxidase (0.35 versus 0.23 optical density/min/mg protein). Reducing the pressure of the modified reperfusate to 20 to 30 mm Hg further improved postreperfusion compliance (92%+/-1%; p<0.001 versus groups 1 and 2) and a/A ratio (76%+/-1%; p<0.001 versus groups 1 and 2); and lowered PVR (133%+/-2%; p<0.001 versus groups 1 and 2), lung water (82.7%+/-0.1%; p<0.001 versus groups 1 and 2), and myeloperoxidase (0.16%+/-0.01%; p<0.001 versus groups 1 and 2). CONCLUSIONS: After 2 hours of pulmonary ischemia, a severe lung injury occurs following uncontrolled reperfusion, controlled reperfusion with a modified solution reduces this reperfusion injury, and lowering the pressure of the modified reperfusate to more physiologic levels (20 to 30 mm Hg) further reduces the reperfusion injury improving pulmonary function.

    Title Superiority of Magnesium Cardioplegia in Neonatal Myocardial Protection.
    Date January 2000
    Journal The Annals of Thoracic Surgery

    BACKGROUND: We have shown that magnesium can offset the detrimental effects of normocalcemic cardioplegia in hypoxic neonatal hearts. It is not known, however, whether magnesium offers any additional benefit when used in conjunction with hypocalcemic cardioplegia. METHODS: Twenty neonatal piglets underwent 60 minutes of ventilator hypoxia (FiO2 8% to 10%) followed by 20 minutes of normothermic ischemia on cardiopulmonary bypass (hypoxic-ischemic stress). They then underwent 70 minutes of multidose blood cardioplegic arrest. Five (Group 1), received a hypocalcemic (Ca+2 0.2 to 0.4 mM/L) cardiologic solution without magnesium, whereas in 10, magnesium was added at either a low dose (5 to 6 mEq/L, Group 2) or high dose (10 to 12 mEq/L, Group 3). In the last 5 (Group 4), magnesium (10 to 12 mEq/L) was added to a normocalcemic cardioplegic solution. Function was assessed using pressure volume loops and expressed as percentage of control. RESULTS: Compared to hypocalcemia cardioplegic solution without magnesium (Group 1), both high- and low-dose magnesium enrichment (Groups 2 and 3) improved myocardial protection resulting in complete return of systolic (40% vs 101% vs 102%) (p < 0.001 vs Groups 2 and 3) and global myocardial function (39% vs 102% vs 101%) (p < 0.001 vs Groups 2 and 3), and reduced diastolic stiffness (267% vs 158% vs 154%) (p < 0.001 vs Groups 2 and 3). Conversely, even high-dose magnesium supplementation could not offset the detrimental effects of normocalcemic cardioplegia resulting in depressed systolic (End Systolic Elastance [EES] 41%+/-1%) (p < 0.001 vs Groups 2 and 3) and global myocardial function (40%+/-1%) (p < 0.001 vs Groups 2 and 3), and a marked rise in diastolic stiffness (258%+/-5%) (p < 0.001 vs Groups 2 and 3). Hypocalcemic magnesium cardioplegia has now been used successfully in 247 adult and pediatric patients. CONCLUSIONS: Magnesium enrichment of hypocalcemic cardioplegic solutions improves myocardial protection resulting in complete functional preservation. However, magnesium cannot prevent the detrimental effects of normocalcemic cardioplegia when the heart is severely stressed. This study, therefore, strongly supports using both a hypocalcemic cardioplegic solution and magnesium supplementation as their benefits are additive.

    Title Electrophysiological and Clinical Comparison of Two Temporary Pacing Leads Following Cardiac Surgery.
    Date October 1999
    Journal Pacing and Clinical Electrophysiology : Pace

    Temporary pacing leads are invaluable in diagnosis and treatment of arrhythmia after cardiac surgery. The ideal lead possesses reliable pacing and sensing capabilities throughout the postoperative period. Ease of handling and a low complication rate are essential. This study compares a new lead (Medtronic model #6492) to a temporary pacemaker lead established in clinical use (Medtronic model #6500). One lead of each type was placed in the right atrium and ventricle in 33 patients undergoing elective coronary revascularization. Pacing function was measured on the first and fourth postoperative days. Lead complications were documented. On day 1, there was no statistical difference between lead types in terms of pacing (voltage threshold, current threshold), impedance, or sensing (P wave amplitude, R wave amplitude). On day 4, both leads showed an increase in pacing threshold and a decrease in sensing ability. The only statistical difference between lead types was in atrial sensing on day 4, as measured by the P wave amplitudes (1.95 +/- 0.18 V for model 6492 vs 1.40 +/- 0.14 V for model 6500, P < 0.05). Two leads of each model failed to pace in the ventricular position and one lead in each model in the atrial position. There were no complications attributable to either pacemaker lead. We found that both lead types were reliable and functioned well. The Medtronic Model #6492 lead demonstrated better long-term sensing, although in this study the difference was not clinically significant.

    Title Video-assisted Thoracoscopic Management of Post-pneumonectomy Empyema.
    Date February 1999
    Journal Jsls : Journal of the Society of Laparoendoscopic Surgeons / Society of Laparoendoscopic Surgeons

    BACKGROUND: Post-pneumonectomy empyema is a major therapeutic challenge in thoracic surgery. The presence or absence of a concomitant bronchopleural fistula directs treatment of this condition. When there is no bronchopleural fistula the condition is classically treated with thoracostomy drainage, irrigation and antibiotic instillation with closure. This approach is, however, associated with a significant rate of primary failure. Alternative modified techniques involve opening the thoracic cavity widely with serial debridement followed by interval closure. Multiple surgical procedures often require a protracted hospital stay. METHODS: We describe a technique in three patients utilizing video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery for debridement and closure of the pneumonectomy cavity. CONCLUSION: Advantages of this technique include debridement under direct visualization, low morbidity, and potential for a shorter hospital stay.

    Title The Importance of Cardioplegic Infusion Pressure in Neonatal Myocardial Protection.
    Date December 1998
    Journal The Annals of Thoracic Surgery

    BACKGROUND: Cardioplegia infusion pressure is usually not directly monitored during neonatal heart operations. We hypothesize that the immature newborn heart may be damaged by even moderate elevation of cardioplegic infusion pressure, which in the absence of direct aortic monitoring may occur without the surgeon's knowledge. METHODS: Twenty neonatal piglets received cardiopulmonary bypass and the heart was protected for 70 minutes with multidose blood cardioplegia infused at an aortic root pressure of 30 to 50 mm Hg (low pressure) or 80 to 100 mm Hg (high pressure). Group 1 (n = 5, low pressure), and group 2 (n = 5, high pressure) were uninjured (nonhypoxic) hearts. Group 3 (n = 5, low pressure) and group 4 (n = 5, high pressure) first underwent 60 minutes of ventilator hypoxia (FiO2 8% to 10%) before initiating cardiopulmonary bypass to produce a clinically relevant hypoxic stress before cardiac arrest. Function was assessed using pressure volume loops (expressed as a percentage of control), and coronary vascular resistance was measured with each cardioplegic infusion. RESULTS: In nonhypoxic (uninjured) hearts (groups 1 and 2) cardioplegic infusion pressure did not significantly affect systolic function (end systolic elastance, 104% versus 96%), preload recruitable stroke work (102% versus 96%) diastolic compliance (152% versus 156%), or coronary vascular resistance but did raise myocardial water (78.9% versus 80.1%; p < 0.01). Conversely, if the cardioplegic solution was infused at even a slightly higher pressure in hypoxic hearts (group 4), there was deterioration of systolic function (end systolic elastance, 28% versus 106%) (p < 0.001) and preload recruitable stroke work (31% versus 103%; p < 0.001), rise in diastolic stiffness (274% versus 153%; p < 0.001), greater myocardial edema (80.5% versus 79.6%), and marked increase in coronary vascular resistance (p < 0.001) compared to hypoxic hearts given cardioplegia at low infusion pressures (group 3), which preserved function. CONCLUSIONS: Hypoxic neonatal hearts are very sensitive to cardioplegic infusion pressures, such that even moderate elevations cause significant damage resulting in myocardial depression and vascular dysfunction. This damage is avoided by using low infusion pressures. Because small differences in infusion pressure may be difficult to determine without a direct aortic measurement, we believe it is imperative that surgeons directly monitor cardioplegia infusion pressure, especially in cyanotic patients.

    Title Controlled Reperfusion Prevents Pulmonary Injury After 24 Hours of Lung Preservation.
    Date October 1998
    Journal The Annals of Thoracic Surgery

    BACKGROUND: Posttransplantation lung reperfusion injury continues to be a major problem. We have shown that controlling the initial period of reperfusion limits this injury after 2 hours of warm lung ischemia. The effectiveness of this modality, however, is unknown after longer periods of cold ischemia, which more closely mimics the clinical situation. METHODS: After baseline measurements, 10 pigs had the left lung flushed with a modified Euro-Collins solution, explanted, stored at 4 degrees C for 24 hours, and transplanted into 10 other pigs. Five (group 1) underwent uncontrolled reperfusion created by removal of the vascular clamps after implantation of the new left lung, mimicking the clinical situation. The other five (group 2) underwent controlled reperfusion, which we performed by taking blood from the femoral artery, mixing it with a crystalloid solution (using a mixer heater) to make the blood hyperosmolar, alkalotic, and substrate-enriched, and pumping it through a leukocyte-depleting filter into the transplanted lung for 10 minutes at a pressure of 20 to 30 mm Hg before removing the pulmonary artery clamp. The right pulmonary artery and bronchus were then ligated, and left lung function was assessed each hour for 4 hours and compared with baseline. RESULTS: Controlled reperfusion (group 2) minimized the reperfusion injury, preserving posttransplant pulmonary compliance (92% +/- 1% versus 68% +/- 1%; p < 0.001), reducing the rise in pulmonary vascular resistance (27% +/- 2% versus 166% +/- 3%; p < 0.001), improving oxygenation (PO2, 425 +/- 14 versus 82 +/- 11 mm Hg; p < 0.001), and lowering myeloperoxidase activity (0.22 +/- 0.02 versus 0.45 +/- 0.02 deltaOD/mg protein per minute; p < 0.001) and tissue edema (83.0% +/- 0.3% versus 84.9% +/- 0.3%; p < 0.001) compared with uncontrolled reperfusion, which resulted in an injury so severe that 3 of 5 pigs died before the 4-hour measurements. CONCLUSIONS: After 24 hours of cold ischemia uncontrolled reperfusion results in a severe pulmonary reperfusion injury. This injury is almost completely avoided by controlling the composition (modified solution and white blood cell filter) and conditions (pressure) of the reperfusion. Because this experiment mimics the clinical situation, it suggests surgeons should begin to use this modality to limit reperfusion injury after lung transplantation.

    Title Detrimental Effects of Cardiopulmonary Bypass in Cyanotic Infants: Preventing the Reoxygenation Injury.
    Date December 1997
    Journal The Annals of Thoracic Surgery

    BACKGROUND: Recent experimental studies have shown that acute hypoxia followed by abrupt reoxygenation using cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB) results in an unintended injury mediated by oxygen free radicals, which can be modified by initiating CPB at a lower fraction of inspired oxygen (FiO2) or by leukocyte filtration. However, the clinical relevance of these experimental studies has been questioned because chronic hypoxia may allow compensatory changes to occur. METHODS: Seven acyanotic infants had CPB initiated at an FiO2 of 1.0. Of 21 cyanotic infants, 7 (group 1) had CPB initiated at an FiO2 of 1.0, 6 (group 2) at an FiO2 of 0.21, and 8 (group 3) underwent CPB using leukocyte filtration. Biopsy of right atrial tissue was performed before and 10 to 20 minutes after the initiation of CPB. The tissue was incubated in 4-mmol/L t-butylhydroperoxide (a strong oxidant), and the malondialdehyde (MDA) level was measured to determine the antioxidant reserve capacity. The more MDA produced, the greater was the depletion of tissue antioxidants secondary to oxygen free radical formation during reoxygenation. RESULTS: There was no difference in the prebypass antioxidant reserve capacity between cyanotic and acyanotic hearts (492 +/- 72 versus 439 +/- 44 nmol MDA/g protein). However, after the initiation of CPB without leukocyte filtration, MDA production rose markedly in the cyanotic (groups 1 and 2) as compared with the acyanotic hearts (322% versus 40%; p < 0.05), indicating a depletion of antioxidants. In cyanotic hearts, initiating CPB at an FiO2 of 1.0 (group 1) resulted in increased MDA production (407% versus 227%) as compared with hearts in which CPB was initiated at an FiO2 of 0.21 (group 2), indicating a greater generation of oxygen free radicals in group 1. Conversely, there was only a minimal increase in MDA production in 8 of the 21 infants (group 3) in whom white blood cells were effectively filtered (19% versus 322%; p < 0.05). CONCLUSIONS: First, increased amounts of oxygen free radicals are generated in cyanotic infants with the initiation of CPB. Second, this production is reduced by initiating CPB at an FiO2 of 0.21 or by effectively filtering white blood cells. Third, these changes parallel those seen in the acute experimental model, validating its use for future study.

    Title Giant Azygos Vein Varix.
    Date April 1997
    Journal The Annals of Thoracic Surgery

    Primary anomalies of the azygos vein generally result from intrathoracic tumor compression or inferior vena caval interruption with azygos vein continuation. Vascular malformations, although uncommon, can frequently mimic solid tumors and present as middle or posterior mediastinal masses. We present the case of an isolated giant azygos vein varix in an asymptomatic patient. Preoperative computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging were not diagnostic in evaluating this patient's anatomy.

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