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Open Heart Surgery - What All Should You Know

Reviewed by
MCh (CTVS)
Cardiothoracic Vascular Surgery, Darbhanga  •  12 years experience
Open Heart Surgery - What All Should You Know

Open heart surgery is a complicated heart procedure. Howeevr, it is still an important surgical procedure to fix critical heart ailments.

Here is a quick fact-checker about this procedure:

  • The Coronary Artery Bypass Graft or CABG is one of the frequently performed procedures in the open-heart surgery space. This is a procedure that is related to fixing the blocked arteries of the heart. A study conducted by the National Institutes of Health revealed that most patients who had undergone CABG become angina-free within a span of five years.
  • Many hospitals refuse to share any data related to the surgery. It makes sense to run a background check on the surgeon who is scheduled to perform the procedure. Society of Thoracic Surgery lists all doctors and the number of procedures they have performed in this space.
  • This is one of the few surgeries where a doctor needs to make a deep incision close to 2-2.5 inch through the breastbone to separate muscle and get access to the heart.
  • The recent trend is that the doctor can achieve the same result with beating heart CABG where heart does not need to be stopped just to avoid the complications of heart lung machine Once the procedure is over, the doctor closes the incision made through the breastbone with sternal wires. Subsequently, the patient is taken off from the heart-lung machine.
  • The patient might find himself tangled with many tubes as he wakes for the first time after the surgery. These wires take the fluid out of the body. They serve as a temporary pacemaker for the patient.
  • It is important to get a clarification from the surgeon as to from which location of the body would the veins be taken from to perform CABG. Most doctors prefer the vein from the leg.
  • The patient is kept in an ICU for a couple of days before he is shifted to the general ward where he spends close to a couple of weeks before he is released. After the patient gets home, the typical recovery time for the patient is approximately 6-8 weeks.
  • One has to usually deal with heightened emotions after an open-heart surgery. 
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult a specialist & get answers to your questions!
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