Open-heart surgery is a procedure that can help treat a range of heart conditions so that patients can get back to living healthy and happy lives. The type of surgery performed depends on the patient and the condition that the surgeon is treating, and it can seem scary – but with an experienced and professional heart surgeon London, your procedure will be nothing to worry about. Below, we’ll look at why these procedures are necessary and how they are performed.
What is open-heart surgery?
Open-heart surgery is a procedure in which patients have surgery performed on the muscles, arteries, and valves of the heart. One of the most common open-heart surgeries that are performed on adults is a coronary artery bypass, which allows any blockages to be ‘bypassed’. Open heart procedures can sometimes be referred to as traditional heart surgery. As the world of medicine and technology is progressing, these surgeries can often be performed with smaller incisions, rather than having to open the chest. Below, we’ll look at why and how the procedures are performed.
What is the procedure used to treat?
As previously mentioned, they can be used to help blocked arteries regain the ability to carry blood to the heart with an artery bypass, but there are a few other reasons that someone may need open-heart surgery, for example, to repair or place valves in the heart or repair areas of the heart itself. Open heart surgery may be necessary if a patient is having medical devices implanted, or they are having a complete heart transplant.
During the procedure, the patient will be administered a general anaesthetic so the surgeon can get to work. Either a large incision is made in the central line of the body, or smaller incisions may be made instead in various places – depending on the reasons for the surgery. The surgeon will then go on to expose the heart and connect the patient to a bypass machine, which allows the blood supply to the heart to be cut off safely, so the surgery can take place. The problem with the heart will be addressed, arteries are attached to blocked ones to help with blood flow, or medical devices are implanted. At the end of the surgery, the sternum will be connected back together if it has been cut, and the patient will be on their way to recovery.
Recovery times can differ depending on the surgery you are having. Usually, it can take up to 4-6 days before you can return home, however, if the surgery is a high risk, or you are a high-risk patient you may be in hospital for a longer period. Your doctor will tell you the timeline of your recovery period. For example, it may take you a few weeks to stop feeling weak and unwell, and you may have to wait a while before you get back to your everyday activities like driving. Physical therapy is recommended by health professionals to help you get back on your feet after one of these procedures.
What to expect post-surgery
Your doctor will give you a list of recommendations to help with your recovery – one of the main ones being to take things slowly! Others may include how to protect the area operated on, as well as a healthy diet with a lot of fruit and vegetables – food with high salt content and greasy should be avoided as much as possible. It is recommended that patients stick to regular physical activity in line with their condition to help control blood pressure and cholesterol so that they can get back on their feet in a controlled and healthy way after their open-heart surgery.