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Is It Safe To Have Open Heart Surgery

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Outpatient Or Inpatient Surgery

Pumphead After Open Heart Surgery: What Should Patients Know?

When you are scheduling your surgery, your healthcare provider will tell you whether your surgery can be done as an outpatient, like at a surgical center, or as an inpatient, in the operating room of a hospital.

Typically speaking, outpatient surgery tends to require less healing time. This means it may be safe to have sex within a couple of days or a week.

On the other hand, inpatient surgery tends to be more extensive than outpatient surgery. In this case, returning to sexual activities may mean you need to wait for a few or multiple weeks.

How Dangerous Is An Open Heart Surgery

An open heart surgery, or any form of surgery which requires the chest to be cut open is a major form of surgery with various risks associated with it. Such risks depend on the type of surgery the patient has to undergo along with his general health condition. Risks are also associated with the type and duration of the anesthesia to be used. However, needless to say, open heart surgeries are done by expert surgeons and thus proper method of after-care is usually discussed with the patients and care-givers by the doctor.

Benefits Of Heart Valve Replacement Surgery

Normal Life: One of the prime benefits associated with heart valve replacement is that it allows individuals to involve in their daily normal activities again within least possible span of time.

Recovery: Recovery from the heart valve replacement surgical procedure depends primarily on ones overall physical strength. Adverse effects of your damaged and old valve on your body will fade gradually, as the new heart valve will start to help you in efficient function of your heart.

Read Also: How To Prevent Heart Disease Naturally

Dental Work Following Surgery: Five Things To Know

Regular dental cleanings are essential to our overall wellbeing, but what happens after surgery? Can you get your teeth cleaned? What about other dental procedures like root canals or implants? If youve recently had surgery and are in need of a professional dental cleaning or a more elaborate procedure, you are at risk for complications if you do not take care of yourself and follow any instructions given by your doctor and dentist.

To ensure there are no complications here are five things you need to know:

  • Time:
  • Following surgery, your body needs to heal.

    Your body has a natural healing process in place that shouldnt be sped up. After surgery, you will need to rest for a specified period of time. Depending on the surgery you had, the timeframe for rest can range anywhere from four weeks to a year . For dental work after surgery, you should wait at least six to eight weeks.

    Your dentist will have your complete medical history and communicate with your surgeon before you have dental work done to ensure that enough time has passed since your surgery. If you rush into dental work immediately following surgery you may see serious complications.

    The body isnt equipped to handle two procedures in a row. Even if you are simply going in for professional dental cleaning, your chances of bleeding or infection are higher because your body is busy trying to repair itself after having surgery.

  • Aftercare:
  • Antibiotics:
  • Extractions
  • Infection:
  • Listen:
  • Preparing For Your Procedure

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    Prior to your open heart surgery, youll meet with your doctor to discuss your medical history, the medicines you take and any questions you have about the procedure.

    Typically, you cannot eat or drink after midnight the day of surgery. Before surgery, you use a special soap on your chest and legs and your body hair is shaved to prevent infection after surgery.

    Also Check: Why Is It Important To Know Your Target Heart Rate

    Questions To Ask Your Healthcare Provider

    Besides general questions about having sex, you may have more specific questions for your healthcare provider, so go ahead and ask them. Sample questions may include:

    • Do I need to avoid putting pressure on a certain area, such as an incision wound?
    • Will we need to take any special measures? Some surgeries, such as vaginal surgeries, may cause vaginal dryness and make a lubricant necessary. Other surgeries, such as prostate surgery, may make it difficult to get and keep an erection. It may require medication or an additional procedure.
    • Is there any reason to avoid pregnancy? Does my surgery, medications I am currently taking, or my condition make contraception important?
    • Are there other sexual activities we should try such as kissing, petting, or oral sex before progressing to intercourse?

    Heart Valve Repair Or Replacement

    For the heart to work well, blood must flow in only one direction. The heart’s valves make this possible. Healthy valves open and close in a precise way as the heart pumps blood.

    Each valve has a set of flaps called leaflets. The leaflets open to allow blood to pass from one heart chamber into another or into the arteries. Then the leaflets close tightly to stop blood from flowing backward.

    Heart surgery is used to fix leaflets that don’t open as wide as they should. This can happen if they become thick or stiff or fuse together. As a result, not enough blood flows through the valve.

    Heart surgery also is used to fix leaflets that don’t close tightly. This problem can cause blood to leak back into the heart chambers, rather than only moving forward into the arteries as it should.

    To fix these problems, surgeons either repair the valve or replace it with a man-made or biological valve. Biological valves are made from pig, cow, or human heart tissue and may have man-made parts as well.

    To repair a mitral or pulmonary valve that’s too narrow, a cardiologist will insert a catheter through a large blood vessel and guide it to the heart.

    The cardiologist will place the end of the catheter inside the narrow valve. He or she will inflate and deflate a small balloon at the tip of the catheter. This widens the valve, allowing more blood to flow through it. This approach is less invasive than open-heart surgery.

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    Key Patient Learnings From Dr Khan

    Dr. Kahn shared several important points during this interview that I wanted to write down and remember:

    Dr. Junaid Khan

    • High heart rates are common after cardiac surgery and normal as patients recover from heart surgery.
    • Up to 25% of patients may experience atrial fibrillation, an abnormal or irregular heart rhythm after heart surgery. Atrial fibrillation needs to be monitored as it can cause an elevated risk of stroke. Medications can be used to manage atrial fibrillation.
    • Most of the time, higher heart rates and atrial fibrillation are temporary cardiac conditions for patients and go away over time.
    • Loud heartbeats are a common experience for patients following heart surgery. Patients may experience a feeling that their heart is beating out of their chest.
    • Patients who have heart valve surgery through different access points sternotomy, minimally-invasive and transcatheter approaches may experience loud heartbeats.
    • Those patients who receive a mechanical heart valve may hear their heart valve tick as the valve opens-and-closes.

    Complications And Wear And Tear

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    Some patients may have complications after surgery a heart valve infection, for example that necessitates another surgery. Medical teams at high-volume medical centers have the extensive expertise to handle patients with these complex types of problems.

    Patients who have had a coronary bypass and valve replacement are enjoying longer, healthy lives. Over time, though, even successful valve replacements and coronary artery bypasses may need a re-operation.

    Almost one third of the heart surgery operations we do here are repeat procedures. Re-operations are complex and have greater risk than first-time surgeries, but we have successful outcomes with these types of procedures.

    Also Check: Do Heart Palpitations Go Away

    What Happens During Open

    Heart surgery is complex. Some surgeries may take six hours or longer. You will receive anesthesia and be asleep during the procedure.

    Surgery steps vary depending on the heart condition and procedure. In general, your surgeon:

    • Makes a 6- to 8-inch long incision down the middle of your chest.
    • Cuts the breastbone and spreads your ribcage apart to reach your heart.
    • Connects the heart to a heart-lung bypass machine, if youll have an on-pump surgery. An anesthesiologist gives IV medication to stop your heart from beating and monitors you during the surgery.
    • Repairs your heart.
    • Restores blood flow to your heart. Usually, your heart starts beating on its own. Sometimes, the heart needs a mild electrical shock to restart it.
    • Disconnects the heart-lung bypass machine.
    • Closes the breastbone or other incision with wires or sutures that remain in your body.
    • Uses stitches to close the skin incision.

    Open Heart Surgery Survival Rate By Age

    Ask U.S. doctors your own question and get educational, text answers â it’s anonymous and free!

    Ask U.S. doctors your own question and get educational, text answers â it’s anonymous and free!

    HealthTap doctors are based in the U.S., board certified, and available by text or video.

    Also Check: How Long Can You Live With Diastolic Heart Failure

    How Does Alcohol Affect My Heart Surgery

    If you drink more than three drinks a day, you could have a complication, called alcohol withdrawal, after heart surgery. Alcohol withdrawal is a set of symptoms that people have when they suddenly stop drinking, after using alcohol for a long period of time. During withdrawal, a persons central nervous system overreacts and causes symptoms such as mild shakiness, sweating, hallucinations and other more serious side effects.

    Untreated alcohol withdrawal can cause potentially life-threatening complications after heart surgery, including tremors, seizures, hallucinations, delirium tremens, and even death. Untreated alcohol withdrawal often leads to a longer hospital stay in the intensive care unit following heart surgery. Chronic heavy drinking also can interfere with several organ systems and biochemical controls in the body, causing serious, even life-threatening complications.

    Who Is In Theater For Open Heart Surgery

    Doctors Successfully Complete First Open Heart Surgery In ...

    A team of doctors and other health professionals work together in the operating theater during open heart surgery.

    The team is likely to include:

    • the lead surgeon who will direct others surgeons who will assist during the operation
    • the anesthesiologist, who is in charge of giving and anesthesia and monitoring vital signs
    • the pump team, also known as perfusionists, operate the heart-lung machine and other technical equipment that supports open heart surgery
    • nurses and technicians, who assist the surgical team and prepare the operating theater for surgery

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    Getting Results With Repairs

    For example, we commonly see patients who have had a previous valve repair.

    Often, the repair appears to be adequate immediately after surgery, but in time the repair fails or does not turn out to be adequate. In many cases, the valve might start to leak or allow blood to flow backwards, which can impair the hearts function.

    We can often re-evaluate and repair the valve again to achieve the outcomes that were hoped for in the first surgery.

    Your Eating Habits May Change

    You may notice that youve lost your appetite or you just feel too tired to eat. This is common, so be patient. Your appetite will soon be back to normal.

    We suggest you try eating frequent, small meals throughout the day. You need proper nutrition to enable your body to heal and get stronger.

    We recommend a diet low in fat, cholesterol and sodium and high in protein. Good sources of protein include fish, eggs, dairy, beans and nuts. Limit the amount of salt in your diet to 2,000 milligrams a day. Foods known to be high in salt include restaurant food, soups, pizza, bacon and other processed meats.

    Read Also: How Do You Calculate Target Heart Rate

    Use Pain As Your Guide

    Even if you are approved for sex, be sure to use pain as your guide. In other words, if it’s painful when you try to have intercourse, this is your bodys way of saying you are not ready and that you need to heal more before having sex.

    But in some cases, pain can be avoided with some minor adjustments. For example, a patient who has had breast surgery may be particularly sensitive to bouncing movements. For this particular patient, being in a position on top may cause too much movement and pain. But alternative positions may be pain-free.

    What Should You Do To Recover From Heart Surgery

    Discharge 3 Days Following Open Heart Surgery Is Safe

    A full recovery from open heart surgery will take up to 3 month, and most of the recovery time will be at home. Understanding what you can and cannot do is important to recovering well. Keep in mind these dos and donts for a speedy and full recovery.

    • Do Establish A Routine

    Ward off depression and allow your body to adjust to being home by creating a daily routine. Wake at the same time each day, have regular meal times, schedule exercise, visits, and entertainment during the day, and go to bed at a regular time.

    • Dont Over Do It

    You will be limited in the number of stairs you can climb and the amount you can lift. Dont cheat. The limits are set to allow your sternum to heal properly and to keep your heart from overworking before it has recovered.

    • Do Attend Cardiac Rehabilitation

    As you recover your heart will need to be strengthened. During cardiac rehabilitation your heart is constantly monitored while you exercise. You will regain strength and endurance, but also will gain confidence in your repaired heart.

    • Dont Doze All Day

    Take a short nap in the afternoon if you are very tired, but otherwise try to avoid sleeping during the day to allow your body to readjust to a normal schedule.

    • Do Wear A Seatbelt

    Until your sternum is completely healed, you will not be able to drive. If you ride in a car, do wear your seatbelt. The seatbelt may be uncomfortable against your chest. Using a small towel as padding may be more comfortable.

    • Dont Worry About Decreased Concentration

    Also Check: What Should Resting Heart Rate Be

    Why Get A Second Opinion

    Cardiovascular surgeons may excel in specific types of surgery, but they might not have deep experience with complicated cases or re-operations.

    If you have been told that surgery is not an option for you or if you need a re-operation, its a good idea to get a second opinion from a medical center that has a lot of experience.

    When Should I Call The Doctor

    You should call your healthcare provider if you experience:

    • Chest pain other than normal discomfort at the incision.
    • Signs of infection at the surgical site, such as oozing and redness.
    • Slurred speech or other signs of stroke.

    A note from Cleveland Clinic

    Open-heart surgery is a life-saving procedure. But it is also a major surgery. Recovery can be long. When possible, you should take steps to improve your health like exercising, losing weight and quitting smoking before surgery. These actions may make recovery easier. Its normal to have concerns before undergoing a heart procedure. Dont hesitate to share questions and concerns with your healthcare provider.

    Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 03/25/2021.


    Recommended Reading: How Do You Get Congestive Heart Failure

    Who Is Considered Elderly

    The strict definition of “elderly” is an individual who is 65 years of age or older in Westernized countries. This definition is dated, and while it remains accurate, in this day and age there are many 65-year-olds who are running marathons, working full time, and enjoying life to the fullest. The same is true of individuals in their 70s and 80s, and more than ever before, people in their 90s are living independently and enjoying active lives. This trend is expected to continue as people continue to live longer.

    Our perception of the term elderly has changed as the lifespan has increased and as people are more physically fit and active throughout their lives. For some, an elderly person is a frail older adult, others simply look for white hair, but when it comes to surgery there is some merit to the idea that you are only as old as you feel.

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    Ask U.S. doctors your own question and get educational, text answers â it’s anonymous and free!

    Ask U.S. doctors your own question and get educational, text answers â it’s anonymous and free!

    HealthTap doctors are based in the U.S., board certified, and available by text or video.

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    What Happens During Heart Valve Repair Or Replacement Surgery

    Heart valve repair or replacement surgery requires a stay in a hospital.Procedures may vary depending on your condition and your healthcareproviders practice.

    Generally, open-heart valve repair or replacement follows this process:

  • You will be asked to remove any jewelry or other objects that may interfere with the procedure.

  • You will change into a hospital gown and empty your bladder.

  • The surgical team will position you on the operating table, lying on your back.

  • A healthcare professional will start an intravenous line in your arm or hand for injection of medicine and to give IV fluids. More catheters will be put in blood vessels your neck and wrist to monitor the status of your heart and blood pressure, and to take blood samples.

  • The anesthesiologist will continuously monitor your heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, and blood oxygen level during the surgery.

  • Your doctor will put a breathing tube through your mouth into your lungs and connect you to a ventilator, a machine that will breathe for you during the surgery.

  • Your doctor will place a transesophageal echocardiogram probe into your esophagus so he or she can monitor the function of the valves.

  • A soft, flexible tube will be put into your bladder to drain urine.

  • A tube will be put through your mouth or nose into your stomach to drain stomach fluids.

  • Someone on the surgical team will clean the skin over your chest with an antiseptic solution. If there is a lot of hair at the surgical site, it may be shaved off.

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