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.
Surgical Treatment Of Afib
Atrial fibrillation, or AFib, affects more than 2.2 million Americans, and is an abnormal rhythm of the heart, which can cause the heart to pump less effectively. Chronic atrial fibrillation can cause permanent changes in the heart, leading to heart failure and an increased risk of stroke.
Many patients undergo catheter-based ablations for AFib, or are treated with medications, but still experience symptoms. These patients may be good candidates for minimally invasive thoracoscopic MAZE procedures, which use radiofrequency ablation and cryoablation to burn and freeze the pathways where the AFib originates. This procedure can be done in a minimally invasive way, with just a few small incisions on each side of the chest.
The hospital stay is minimal, and most patients have a restored normal rhythm, says Dr. OKeefe. At the TriHealth Heart Institute, we have the most comprehensive AFib treatment options in the city, and great collaboration between surgery and electrophysiology cardiologists.
The TriHealth Heart Institute believes that the best way to approach any cardiac treatment option, whether it is for valve disease, coronary artery disease, or atrial fibrillation, is a multidisciplinary approach, with cardiologists and surgeons making decisions together about the best treatment options for patients, but the patient remains the most important member of that team and the treatment as to start with them.
What Is Coronary Bypass Graft Surgery
Coronary artery bypass graft surgery is a procedure used to treat coronary artery disease. Coronary artery disease is the narrowing of the coronary arteries the blood vessels that supply oxygen and nutrients to the heart muscle. CAD is caused by a build-up of fatty material within the walls of the arteries. This build-up narrows the inside of the arteries, limiting the supply of oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscle.
One way to treat the blocked or narrowed arteries is to bypass the blocked portion of the coronary artery with a piece of a healthy blood vessel from elsewhere in your body. Blood vessels, or grafts, used for the bypass procedure may be pieces of a vein from your leg or an artery in your chest. An artery from your wrist may also be used. Your doctor attaches one end of the graft above the blockage and the other end below the blockage. Blood bypasses the blockage by going through the new graft to reach the heart muscle. This is called coronary artery bypass surgery.
Traditionally, to bypass the blocked coronary artery, your doctor makes a large incision in the chest and temporarily stops the heart. To open the chest, your doctor cuts the breastbone in half lengthwise and spreads it apart. Once the heart is exposed, your doctor inserts tubes into the heart so that the blood can be pumped through the body by a heart-lung bypass machine. The bypass machine is necessary to pump blood while the heart is stopped.
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What Is The Most Common Heart Valve Replacement
Out of the four valves of the heart, the most common form of heart valve replacement is that of the aortic valve. Patients are seen to be more at the risk of aortic stenosis where the aortic valve narrows down, creating a hindrance to the flow of blood. In such case, the aortic valve is surgically replaced for steady flow of the blood.
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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Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery
Once your doctor has opened the chest, he or she will stabilize the area around the artery to be bypassed with a special instrument.
The rest of the heart will continue to function and pump blood through the body.
The heart-lung bypass machine and the person who runs it may be kept on stand-by just in case the procedure need to be completed on bypass.
The doctor will do the bypass graft procedure by sewing one end of a section of vein over a tiny opening made in the aorta, and the other end over a tiny opening made in the coronary artery just below the blockage.
You may have more than one bypass graft done, depending on how many blockages you have and where they are located.
Before the chest is closed, the doctor will closely examine the grafts to make sure they are working.
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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.
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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What Are The Risks
Most heart surgeries are major surgeries. Although often successful, they do entail risks. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute identifies some of these risks as:
- Damage to tissues in the heart, kidneys, liver, and lungs
- Death, especially for someone who is already very sick before surgery
The risk is higher if you have other diseases or conditions, such as diabetes, peripheral artery disease, or kidney or lung disease.
Surgeries And Other Procedures
Your healthcare team may recommend surgery or other procedures to treat your heart condition. Heres what you need to know.
Ablation helps restore normal heart rhythm.
It can be used to treat rapid heartbeats or rapid, uncoordinated heartbeats .
Ablation is used most often if your condition has not responded to medication.
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What Happens After Open
When you wake up after surgery, you will have two or three tubes in your chest. These are to help drain fluid from the area around your heart. You may have intravenous lines in your arm to supply you with fluids, as well as a catheter in your bladder to remove urine.
You will also be attached to machines that monitor your heart. Nurses will be nearby to help you if something should arise.
You will usually spend your first night in the intensive care unit . You will then be moved to a regular care room for the next three to seven days.
Taking care of yourself at home immediately after the surgery is an essential part of your recovery.
Exceptional Outcomes With Cardiac Surgery For Heart Damage Repair
Heart surgery is one of the many treatment options offered by the highly skilled cardiac surgeons at Loyola Medicine. Loyolas multidisciplinary team of cardiac surgeons specializes in the diagnosis and surgical treatment of disorders of the heart and chest.
Whether you have been diagnosed with heart valve disease, a blocked heart artery or a congenital heart defect, Loyola cardiologists and cardiac surgeons have extensive experience in heart surgery, providing exceptional outcomes and improving your quality of life.
Doctors at Loyola aim to repair your heart using minimally invasive techniques whenever possible. If your condition cannot be treated using minimally invasive techniques, traditional open heart surgery may be recommended.
Open heart surgery is any surgery in which your chest wall is cut open and surgery is performed on your heart muscle, valves, arteries or other parts of your heart. Open heart surgery can be performed for a variety of reasonsand according to the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute , coronary artery bypass grafting is the most common type of heart surgery done on adults. Heart surgery may also be done to repair your heart valves, repair damaged areas of your heart or implant devices to help your heart beat properly.
Doctors at Loyola have access to state-of-the-art technology and world class facilities, providing you with expert technique in even the most complex open heart surgical procedures, including:
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Heart Procedures And Surgeries
If you’ve had a heart attack, you may have already had certain procedures to help you survive your heart attack and diagnose your condition. For example, many heart attack patients have undergone thrombolysis, a procedure that involves injecting a clot-dissolving agent to restore blood flow in a coronary artery. This procedure is administered within a few hours of a heart attack. If this treatment isn’t done immediately after a heart attack, many patients will need to undergo coronary angioplasty or coronary artery bypass graft surgery later to improve blood supply to the heart muscle.
See diagnostic tests and procedures to better understand the tests you may have to undergo to find out if you had a heart attack, how much damage was done and what degree of coronary artery disease you have.
What Does A Heart
Operating on a heart safely while it is beating is difficult. A heart-lung machine takes over the function of maintaining the circulation of blood and oxygen throughout the body so that the surgeon can work on a still heart. This process is called perfusion, and it is managed by perfusionists. These machines can take over the hearts pumping action for hours.
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Q How Do I Care For Someone Who Has Undergone Heart Surgery
How Successful Are Surgeries For Congenital Heart Disease
Surgeries for pediatric congenital heart disease are more advanced than ever. At one time, children with a critical heart defect rarely survived but one study estimates there are now more than 2 million infants, children, adolescents, and adults living with congenital heart disease in the United States.
Better survival is partly a result of successful surgical care when these patients were babies and small children. Today, about 95 percent of babies born with a non-critical defect are expected to live to at least 18 years of age, and almost 70 percent of those with a critical defect are expected to survive to 18 years of age.
Treatments continue to improve as doctors learn more about such factors as genetics, which can impact not only congenital heart disease, but how well babies do after surgical treatment.
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How To Prepare For Open
Tell your doctor about any drugs you are taking, even over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and herbs. Inform them of any illnesses you have, including herpes outbreak, cold, flu, or fever.
In the two weeks before the surgery, your doctor may ask you to quit smoking and stop taking blood-thinning medications, such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen.
Its important to talk to your doctor about your alcohol consumption before you prepare for the surgery. If you typically have three or more drinks a day and stop right before you go into surgery, you may go into alcohol withdrawal. This may cause life-threatening complications after open-heart surgery, including seizures or tremors. Your doctor can help you with alcohol withdrawal to reduce the likelihood of these complications.
The day before the surgery, you may be asked to wash yourself with a special soap. This soap is used to kill bacteria on your skin and will lessen the chance of an infection after surgery. You may also be asked not to eat or drink anything after midnight.
Your healthcare provider will give you more detailed instructions when you arrive at the hospital for surgery.
What Are Congenital Heart Defects
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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What Approaches Do Surgeons Use To Do Heart Surgery
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.