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Beating Heart Surgery - What All Should You Know

Written and reviewed by
Dr. Gaurav Minocha 92% (657 ratings)
DM - Cardiology, MD, MBBS Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery
Cardiologist, Ghaziabad  •  25 years experience
Beating Heart Surgery - What All Should You Know

Beating heart surgery is known to help improve the lives of many individuals each year. The surgery is done on the heart while your heart continues to beat. It is usually recommended in the case of a coronary artery disease.

Beating Heart Surgery or Coronary Artery Bypass Graft Surgery (CABG) or Off-Pump Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery (OPCAB) is a bypass surgery performed on your heart while it is beating. When your arteries cannot supply adequate blood to your heart and other body parts, you are required to undergo a CABG surgery.

Your heart will not be stopped during the surgery and your lungs will continue to function during the surgery to ensure proper blood flow. A tissue stabilization system is used to immobilize the area of the heart on which the surgeon needs to work.

What happens before a beating heart surgery?
A complete health check with chest X-rays, blood work, an electrocardiogram (ECG), and a coronary angiogram is done. The ECG detects the source of the problem. An angiogram is like an X-ray which uses a dye to show all the arteries that supply blood to the heart. These tests help the surgeon decide whether the patient is fit for the surgery and where the blocks are in the arteries.

What happens during a beating heart surgery?
The surgeon cuts a section of healthy vein or artery from a part of your body and treats it. This is the graft that will be used to create a bypass in the blood circulation of the heart. One end of the graft is attached to an area above the artery blockage in your heart. The other end is fixed to the area below the blockage. Once the graft is perfectly attached, the bypass is created and the blood flow to your heart is restored.

The trickiest part in a CABG surgery is to suture or stitch the muscles of the beating heart. Hence, the stabilization system to keep the heart steady during the surgery is used. The stabilization system is made up of a heart positioner and a tissue stabilizer. The heart positioner guides and holds the heart in a fixed position, which provides easy access to the blocked arteries. The tissue stabilizer holds the area of the heart steadily while the surgeon can perform the surgery.

What happens after a beating heart surgery?
While your duration of stay in the hospital may vary depending on the outlook of your surgery, you will be in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) so as to be monitored throughout the day. Once you are stable and alert, you will be transferred to the room, where you will be taken care of till you are stable to be discharged. Specific instructions on diet, incision care, medications, activity, and other routine will be given. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

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