Any surgery performed on muscles, valves, or arteries of the heart by cutting it open is known as Open Heart Surgery, also known as traditional heart surgery. It is performed to fix any fault in the heart's arteries, veins, or valves. One of the most common reasons to perform open heart surgery is hardening arteries when fatty material creates a plague in the valves.
Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting (CABG) is one of the common heart surgeries performed. In this procedure, a healthy artery is placed, which bypasses the defective one, and transfers fresh blood to/from the heart. The surgery can be performed on adults as well as children (mainly due to congenital heart disease).
Open heart surgery is done as an inpatient procedure which requires all-inclusive planning by our top heart doctors. However, in some cases, emergency surgery might also be performed if the situation arises.
Finding a good heart hospital and doctor with the optimal qualifications and years of experience is important. The more experience, the higher the success rate of the operation. Then, before preparing for the procedure, we recommend you be honest with your heart surgeon regarding any heart condition or previously prescribed medications. It is crucial to inform if you are taking any medications for ailments like flu, herpes, fever, etc.
Your doctor will make some changes to your diet and sleep pattern. For a smoother procedure, it is advisable to sleep and eat properly, with an adequate amount of workout.
You must also quit smoking and eliminate alcohol consumption 2-3 weeks before the surgery to minimise the risk of tremors during and after the surgery.
You won't be allowed to eat or drink a night before the surgery to ensure the food does not interfere with the anaesthesia.
If you are taking herbal supplements such as blood thinner, you'll be asked to stop taking those. This is to prevent any additional loss of blood.
Tests & Imaging
The doctors might ask you to undergo several tests, such as blood and imaging tests, to check if you are fit for the surgery.
In addition, the operation team might inject antibiotics before the surgery to prevent infection.
- If you feel anxious, you can also talk to your anesthesiologist. They might help you with something to relax.
- If you feel uneasy or sick, the procedure can always be rescheduled.
It is important to ensure someone is available to take you home after the heart surgery. Also, ensure to visit your doctor a day or two before the surgery for further consultation and to discuss the procedure in detail.
Remember to discuss the risks and complications involved. Some of the risks the doctors might point out are:
- Blood clots which might cause a heart attack
- Irregular heartbeat
- Breathing difficulty
- Fuzziness or Memory Loss
- Chest Pain
- Kidney or Lung Failure
However, with the advancement of technologies & state-of-the-art infrastructure, the chances of infections or any risks have been minimized.
The following are the benefits of open heart surgery procedure:
- In an open heart surgery procedure, a new heart donated by a donor can be replaced with a defective one.
- Medical devices can be implanted easily for a rhythmic heartbeat.
- This procedure also helps in repairing or replacing defective valves.
- It also helps in repairing defects and anomalies within the heart.
- A lower risk of heart attacks in future.
- A pain-free life for up to 15 years.
- Longer survival rates
If you are experiencing any of the enlisted heart issues, you might be eligible for open heart surgery:
- Heart valve disease
- Heart attack
- Arrhythmias (including Atrial Fibrillation)
- Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm
- Coronary Artery Disease
- Congenital heart defects like Atrial Septal Disease (hole in the heart) and Hypoplastic Left heart syndrome (underdeveloped heart structures)
- Rheumatic Heart Disease
- Abnormal Heart Murmurs
Who is not eligible?
You are not a suitable candidate for open heart surgery if you have the following conditions.
- Extreme Physical Disability
- Serious disease in other organs such as the Kidneys or Lungs.
- Lesch-Nyhan Syndrome
- Motor Neuron Disease
- Advanced Heart Disease
It is important to follow the instructions given by expert heart doctors post-surgery for a better recovery. Also, with so many advancements in science, surgeries have become much easier than before.