Open heart surgery is undoubtedly scary, but often necessary to treat a number of heart problems. Your cardiologist, who is your primary care physician, and your cardiothoracic surgeon will consult with you to decide if you absolutely need the procedure.
Being as prepared as possible can take away some of the anxiety associated with such a major operation. The rate of open heart surgeries has declined due to the rise of less invasive procedures, but in some cases, cutting the chest open is extremely necessary.
Here are four facts you should know about this procedure:
The most common open heart surgery is CABG.
The CABG, which stands for coronary artery bypass graft, is performed to open blocked arteries in the heart, says a cardiothoracic surgeon in Singapore. About 80% of patients who had undergone CABG reported to being free of chest pains five years after the operation.
It’s not always ‘opening’ the chest.
The term ‘open heart surgery’ can be misleading. Owing to advancements, surgeons can perform the surgery by making only small incisions in your breastbone (two-five inches long), instead of wide openings. This is just enough to separate the muscles and gain access into the heart.
Apart from CABG, open heart surgery can treat a number of heart problems.
Your surgeon would open heart surgery if you need a heart transplant (when the heart is damaged) or a replacement of the heart valves, allowing blood to travel through the heart. You would also need them to treat abnormal or damaged areas of the heart and to put in medical devices aiding the heart to beat normally.
The recovery will be gradual.
For most patients, it may take up to six weeks before they recover from the operation, and up to six months to experience the full effect of the surgery. Nevertheless, the general outcome is favourable and the benefits can last for years.
Bear in mind that the surgery doesn’t prevent heart problems from reoccurring. To maintain heart health, always remember to eat healthy, lead a more active lifestyle and control high blood pressure.