Surgical Procedures

Overview

The heart is the core of human life – with its constant pumping of blood, controlling the flow of blood and supplying oxygen to each organ; it is the heart that makes life move. There has been a lot of effort put into studying and maintaining the heart in a normal functioning manner. As medical studies advance more and more non-invasive or minimally invasive procedures are developed to maintain the health of the heart.

Still, there might be situations, where the surgeons need to open the body to reach the heart and correct any medical anomaly. Such heart procedures where the doctor needs to cut open the chest for surgery is called Open Heart Surgery. There can be a number of reasons for a heart operation, the most common types of heart surgery are

  • 1.Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting for grafting/ attaching a healthy artery to a blocked one ensuring proper blood flow to the heart
  • 2.Checking and repairing the damage in one of the Valves
  • 3.Correcting the heart beat by implanting some device
  • 4.Transplanting a heart to replace a damaged one

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The Open heart surgery is one of the most intensive surgical procedures and requires specialists to perform. Before any heart surgery, it is extremely critical that you have a thorough consultation with your doctor including

  • Any medicines that you are taking (OTC, diabetes or blood thinning ones)
  • Discuss your smoking and alcohol habits

The day before the open heart surgery, the doctor will ask you to bathe with a special antibacterial soap to minimize risk of infection. Once you are in the operation theatre, the staff will monitor your heart rate and other statistics. After this, the anaesthesiologist will administer general anaesthesia. The anaesthesia will ensure that you feel no pain during the heart surgery.

To start the open heart surgery procedure, the doctor makes an 8-10 inch long incision in your chest through your breastbone to reach your heart. During the procedure, your heart may be connected to a heart-lung bypass machine to ensure blood is not covering the heart during the procedure. Modern day surgeries do not require such a pump and hence are sometimes even referred to as “off-pump” surgery.

After completion of the heart procedure, the doctors close the incision. The open heart surgery can take anywhere between 3-6 hours and requires at least one day’s stay in the Intensive Care Unit.

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