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Most Common Heart Surgeries

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What Should I Expect Before And After Surgery

Bypass Surgery: Most Common Heart Surgery in an Unlikely Patient

Before surgery, you will likely meet with your surgeon to discuss the details of the procedure. You will also be given specific instructions on what to do and not do in the days leading up to surgery. After surgery, you can expect to spend some time in the hospital recovering. You may also be given pain medication and instructions on how to care for your incision.

What Happens After Heart Surgery

After your heart surgery is done, youll be moved to the intensive care unit . Youll recover in the ICU for at least one day. Youll then move to a regular hospital room for continued rest and care.

How long you stay in the hospital depends on the surgery you had and how your body responds to it. Each persons recovery is different. Your hospital team will keep a close eye on you and make sure youre healing as you should. Theyre also prepared to notice and respond to any problems that come up.

How Long Does It Take To Recover From Heart Surgery

Recovery depends on the type of surgery and other factors like your overall health. Most people need six to 12 weeks to recover from open-heart surgery. Some people need even more time.

Follow your care teams instructions on when you can drive, go back to work, lift heavy objects or do other activities. Your care team will also offer advice on how to care for your incision. Its important to take things slow and give your body time to heal.

As you recover, you may feel:

  • A clicking sensation in your chest. This should go away after a week or two. If it doesnt, call your surgeon.
  • Bruising or minor swelling at your incision site.
  • Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep.
  • Less hungry. You may even feel nauseated around food for a couple of weeks. This is normal and common.
  • Pain or tightness in your shoulders and upper back.
  • Sad, depressed or moody.

These are normal responses to surgery. But that doesnt mean you have to face them alone. Tell your family or friends how youre feeling. If the pain feels severe or medication doesnt help, call your care team.

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For Weight Loss Achieved By Reducing The Size Of The Stomach

A bariatric surgery is carried out for weight loss and is especially challenging for surgeons as they have to employ particular instruments since the internal organs are hard to separate and in most cases have a layer of slippery fat surrounding them. The risk is greater with possible complications from anaesthesia, even the dosage of drugs need to be higher as they are easily absorbed by the fat. The patients also present a higher chance of contracting pneumonia.

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Why Might I Need Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery

Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (CABG)

Your doctor uses coronary artery bypass graft surgery to treat a blockage or narrowing of one or more of the coronary arteries to restore the blood supply to your heart muscle.

Symptoms of coronary artery disease may include:

  • Swelling in the hands and feet

Unfortunately, you may not have any symptoms in early coronary artery disease, yet the disease will continue to progress until theres enough artery blockage to cause symptoms and problems. If the blood supply to your heart muscle continues to decrease as a result of increasing blockage of a coronary artery, you may have a heart attack. If the blood flow cant be restored to the particular area of the heart muscle affected, the tissue dies.

There may be other reasons for your doctor to recommend CABG surgery.

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What Is Heart Surgery Like

Because there are many types of heart surgeries, one patients experience may be dramatically different than anothers. A patient may be asked to undergo tests before surgery, such as a chest X-ray or an electrocardiogram . Typically, the surgeon will want the patient to stop taking any blood-thinning medications, and stop smoking and possibly drinking alcohol in the weeks before surgery.

A team of specialists, including cardiac surgeons, anesthesiologists, and operating room nurses, will work together to perform surgery. The length of surgery will vary. CABG typically takes three to six hours, while the implantation of a VAD can take several hours, depending on the severity of the condition and such factors as scar tissue from previous operations, which can make the surgeons work more complex.

Depending on the surgeryespecially if its open heart surgerythe patient is usually given general anesthesia and will remain asleep through the procedure. He or she may wake up attached to machines that monitor the heart, as well as tubes in the chest to drain fluid from around the heart. Some patients, including those who have surgeries to implant pacemakers, may go home the next day. Others will start their recovery in the intensive care unit, followed by several days in the hospital.

Pain may linger in the chest and muscles, but this goes away eventually. Some patients are referred to medically supervised cardiac rehabilitation programs.

What Should I Expect During Recovery

  • Follow your doctors advice to manage pain. Your neck may be sore, and it may be hard to swallow. Your doctor will prescribe medicine for pain. Eating softer foods can help.
  • Take all medicines as directed by your doctor. This may include an antiplatelet medicine .
  • Limit swelling and pain. For the first week, For the first week, keep your head propped up on pillows when you are lying down to limit swelling.
  • Dont drive until your doctor says its okay.
  • Limit strenuous activity for a few weeks. Dont lift heavy objects, and dont do any strenuous exercise until your doctor says its okay. You can go back to work and normal activities when your doctor says its okay.
  • Watch for symptoms. Pay attention to certain changes in how you feel, especially neck swelling or a headache on the side where the procedure was done. Let your doctor know if you notice any of the symptoms listed below.
  • If youve had a stroke, youll have additional treatment such as medicines or stroke rehab. Ask your doctor or nurse for a copy of Intermountains guide titled Life after Stroke or TIA to learn more.

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When Should I See My Healthcare Provider

  • Signs of infection by your incision, like oozing or redness.
  • Slurred speech or other signs of a stroke.

It may be hard to know when a symptom is just a part of recovery, or when its a sign of a complication. When in doubt, pick up the phone and call your care team. Its better to get checked out and learn nothings wrong than to ignore a problem that needs medical care.

A note from Cleveland Clinic

Heart surgery is a life-changing event for you and your loved ones. Take the time to learn more about your condition and the surgery that you need. Talk with your healthcare provider and ask any question that comes to mind. Keep your support system close during this journey, and dont be afraid to ask for help when you need it. If you dont have family and friends nearby, talk with your provider about available resources and support groups.

Whats Recovery Like After Bypass Surgery

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Itâs a gradual process. You may feel worse right after surgery than you did before. You might not be hungry and even be constipated for a few weeks after the surgery. You could have trouble sleeping while youâre in the hospital. If the surgeon takes out a piece of healthy vein from your leg, you may have some swelling there. This is normal.

Your body needs time to recover, but youâll feel better each day. It’ll take about 2 months for your body to feel better after surgery.

Youâll visit your doctor several times during the first few months to track your progress. Call them if your symptoms donât improve or youâre feeling worse.

Talk with your doctor about the best time to return to your normal day-to-day activities. What’s right for you will depend on a few things, including:

  • Your overall health
  • How many bypasses you’ve had
  • Which types of activity you try

You’ll need to ease back in. Some common plans include:

Driving. Usually 4 to 6 weeks, but you need to make sure your concentration is back before you get behind the wheel.

Housework. Take it slow. Start with the simple things you like to do and have your family help with the heavy stuff for a bit while you recover.

Sex. In most cases, you should be physically good to go in about 3 weeks. But you may lose interest in sex for a while after your surgery, so it could be as long as 3 months before you’re ready to be intimate again.

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Coronary Angioplasty And Stenting

Coronary angioplasty and stenting is used to open up narrowed or blocked arteries which supply your heart muscle. This treatment is done to provide relief from symptoms of angina.

During angioplasty and stenting, the narrowed artery is stretched open with a balloon , and a metal strut known as a stent is implanted into the coronary artery. This keeps the narrowing open and allows your blood to flow more freely through it.

Angioplasy is also known as Percutaneous Coronary Intervention .

What Happens After Heart Bypass Surgery

Youâll wake up in an intensive care unit . The breathing tube will still be in your mouth. You wonât be able to talk, and you’ll feel uncomfortable. Nurses will be there to help you. Theyâll remove the tube after a few hours, when you can breathe on your own.

During the procedure, the medical team will probably have put a thin tube called a catheter into your bladder to collect urine. When youâre able to get up and use the bathroom on your own, theyâll remove it.

They also attached an IV line before the surgery to give you fluids and medications. Youâll get it removed once youâre able to eat and drink on your own and no longer need IV medications.

Fluids will build up around your heart after the procedure, so your doctor will put tubes into your chest. Theyâll be there for 1 to 3 days after surgery to allow the fluid to drain.

You may feel soreness in your chest. Youâll have the most discomfort in the first 2 to 3 days after the procedure. You will probably get pain medicines for that.

Youâll also be hooked up to machines that monitor your vital signs — like your heart rate and blood pressure — around the clock.

You should be able to start walking 1 to 2 days after surgery. Youâll stay in the ICU for a few days before you’re moved to a hospital room. Youâll stay there for 3 to 5 days before you go home.

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What Are The Risks Of Heart Bypass Surgery

All surgeries come with the chance of problems. Some include:

  • Blood clots that can raise your chances of a stroke, a heart attack, or lung problems
  • Problems breathing

Many things affect these risks, including your age, how many bypasses you get, and any other medical conditions you may have. You and your surgeon will discuss these before your operation.

Once youâve recovered, your symptoms of angina will be gone or much better. Youâll be able to be more active, and youâll have a lower risk of getting a heart attack. Best of all, the surgery can add years to your life.

What Are Congenital Heart Defects

Aortic Dissection Repair Surgery

Congenital heart defect is a term that covers a large variety of cardiac abnormalities that develop during pregnancy. Those abnormalities can change the normal flow of blood through the heart, and affect how a new heart will develop and function throughout a persons life.

A babys heart starts to form in the womb at six weeks of gestation, and problems can develop in the walls or valves in the heart and/or the nearby arteries and veins. This can result in a wide spectrum of defects and diseases, requiring different kinds of treatments, operations, and procedures.

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Cardiac Resynchronisation Therapy And Cardiac Resynchronisation Therapy Defibrillator Device

If you have heart failure, you may need a special type of device called cardiac resynchronisation therapy device. As well as treating heart arrhythmias, this device also synchronises your hearts chambers to contract and relax in a regular way, which improves the pumping action of your heart.

There is also a type of CRT that can be used as above and in addition can deliver a “shock” to treat dangerous heart arrhythmias and then synchronise your hearts chambers to normal rhythm once more. This is CRT-D .

Procedure Completion Both Methods

  • Your doctor will sew the sternum together with small wires .

  • He or she will insert tubes into your chest to drain blood and other fluids from around the heart.

  • Your doctor will sew the skin over the sternum back together.

  • Your doctor will put a tube through your mouth or nose into your stomach to drain stomach fluids.

  • He or she will then apply a sterile bandage or dressing.

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    He considers it telling that off-pump coronary bypass surgeries in the U.S. dropped from 23 percent in 2002 to 17 percent in 2012.

    The vast majority of cardiac surgeons dont want to hurt their patients, and while they want to be innovative, I think when they stop doing this operation, you know that theres got to be a problem, he said.

    Why Choose Geisinger For Your Heart Surgery

    Every Major Tool A Heart Surgeon Uses | Expert Toolbox
    • Experienced cardiac surgeons: All Geisinger heart surgeons are board certified and fellowship trained. These credentials mean they have passed a rigorous certification exam and have advanced training in their particular specialty.
    • Comprehensive surgical offerings: We lead the way in performing coronary artery bypass graft surgeries. Our capabilities extend into all types of heart surgery, including heart valve surgery and surgery for heart failure, cardiomyopathy and arrhythmia.
    • Team approach to care: Heart surgery requires a team of care providers and specialists, working together before, during and after surgery. This necessity is why ProvenCare®, a Geisinger program that standardizes quality care, began with a type of cardiac surgery.
    • Latest innovations: We perform the latest minimally invasive surgeries, so that you can recover faster. Our team works together to perform hybrid procedures in our high-tech electrophysiology suite. Team members include:
    • Cardiac electrophysiologists, or doctors who treat irregular heartbeats
    • Interventional cardiologists, or doctors who perform non-surgical heart procedures

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    How Successful Is Heart Surgery And What Are The Risks

    Risks associated with heart surgery include infection, irregular heartbeat, and bleedingas well as such serious problems as heart attack and stroke. Older people, women, and those with serious diseases, such as diabetes or lung disease, are at higher risk for complications.

    But surgeons using the latest techniques, technologies and approaches often have excellent results, even for many high-risk patients.

    Who Performs Open Heart Surgery

    The following specialists perform open heart surgery:

    • Cardiac surgeons specialize in the surgical treatment of conditions of the heart and its blood vessels. Cardiac surgeons may also be known as cardiothoracic surgeons.

    • Congenital cardiac surgeons specialize in the surgical treatment of heart defects present at birth.

    • Thoracic surgeons specialize in the surgical treatment of diseases of the chest, including the blood vessels, heart, lungs and esophagus. Thoracic surgeons may also be known as cardiothoracic surgeons.

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    How Is Heart Surgery Done

    There are variety of approaches to heart surgery:

    • Open surgery: The surgeon makes an incision down the front of the chest, then cuts through the breastbone to get to the heart. The patient breathes with the help of a breathing tube connected to a ventilator and is connected to a heart-lung machine that takes over the hearts pumping action to keep blood circulating throughout the body. This allows the surgeon to perform the operation on a heart that remains still.
    • Off-pump heart surgery: This is also called beating heart surgery, and it is used for CABG surgeries in some patients. Off-pump surgery doesnt use a heart-lung machine. Instead, the surgeon uses a tissue stabilization system to immobilize the area of the heart where they plan to operate while the rest of the heart continues to pump.
    • Minimally invasive heart surgery: Small incisions are made inside of the chest so that the surgeon can work between the ribs. Minimally invasive heart surgery may require the use of a heart-lung machine. Surgeons use this approach for a variety of procedures, including bypass surgery, and aortic and mitral valve replacements. Surgeons evaluate patients to determine whether they are candidates for minimally invasive surgery.

    What Approaches Do Surgeons Use To Do Heart Surgery

    6 most common heart surgeries

    The approach a surgeon uses to do heart surgery depends on your heart problem, your general health, and other factors. Approaches to heart surgery include:

    • Open-heart surgery is when the surgeon cuts the chest open to reach the heart. Because it’s difficult to operate on a beating heart, medicines are used to stop the heart. A heart-lung bypass machine keeps oxygen-rich blood pumping through the body during the surgery.
    • Off-pump heart surgery is open-heart surgery on a beating heart without using a heart-lung bypass machine. The surgeon holds the heart steady with a device. Surgeons may use off-pump heart surgery to do coronary artery bypass grafts , but only in certain cases.
    • Minimally invasive heart surgery uses small cuts between the ribs. The cuts may be as small as 2 to 3 inches. The surgeon inserts tools into the chest through the cuts. This type of heart surgery may or may not use a heart-lung bypass machine.
    • Robotic-assisted surgery is a type of minimally invasive surgery. The surgeon uses a computer to control tools on the arms of a robot. This allows the surgeon to be very accurate when doing difficult operations.

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