You will usually be admitted to the hospital the day before your surgery. Simply check in at the hospital admissions desk. The hospital should have a record of your pre-admission tests and forms that you completed. Read moreTags: Intensive-care medicine, Intensive-care unit, surgeon, General anaesthesia, Anesthesiologist, Surgery, Cardiac surgery, Anesthesia
Consider yourself lucky to need heart surgery now and not more than 20 years ago. It wasn’t until the mid-1970s that the heart-lung bypass machine, which takes the place of your heart and lungs and keeps you alive during the operation, could be used safely. This machine plus improved surgical techniques and medicines, more sophisticated monitoring machines and more experienced surgeons have made open-heart surgeries widely accepted and much safer today.
The following are brief /explanations of certain kinds of open-heart surgery:
- Coronary artery bypass
- When your heart muscle does not get the blood and oxygen it needs because one or more or your arteries are clogged up, your surgeon may recommend coronary artery bypass surgery. Part of a vein from your leg (saphenous vein) or part of an artery from your chest wall (internal mammary artery) will be used to bypass the part of your coronary artery that is blocked. This new bypass section will improve the flow of blood and oxygen through the artery. It is quite common to have as many as four or five bypasses done at one time. Neither your chest wall nor your leg will be harmed as a result of the vein or artery being removed.
- Heart valve repair or replacement
- Your heart has four valves, one for each chamber of your heart. Each time your heart beats, these valves open and close to let blood in and out of the chambers. One or more of these valves may become damaged from a birth defect, scarring from rheumatic fever or an infection. If medicine can’t correct the problem, your doctor may recommend surgery to repair or replace the valve.
- Congenital heart defect repair
- A congenital heart defect is a condition that you were born with. About one-quarter of adults who have a congenital heart defect have a condition called atrial septal defect. This is really a hole in the wall (atria) that separates the two upper chambers of your heart. This causes blood with oxygen and blood without oxygen to mix together. Usually, too much blood from the left atrium goes into the right atrium and then into the lungs. During surgery for this condition, the hole is closed.
- Heart muscle disease surgery
- There are different kinds of heart muscle diseases. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a disease of the heart muscle that makes all or part of it thicker or overgrown. When your heart muscle gets thicker, it affects blood flow into and out of the heart. Sometimes, surgery can help this condition. If your septum (the wall between your ventricles) is so thick that it sticks out and blocks the flow of blood to the aorta and the rest of your body, a surgeon can remove part of the thickened septum so that blood can again flow freely to the aorta.
- Pericarditis surgery
- Pericarditis is when the sac (pericardium) that surrounds the heart becomes inflamed. Although it’s not common, this condition can keep coming back. If this happens, surgeons may remove the entire sac from around the heart. This usually gets rid of any symptoms (like pain and irritation) without causing any harm to the heart.
Your heart surgeon will explain the results of your tests and why surgery is being recommended. He will also explain the surgical procedure and the results you can expect. He will tell you about the risks of having or not having the surgery, the benefits of having the surgery and any options you have in place of surgery. You must consider the balance of the risks you will be taking and the benefits you will receive. Don’t be afraid of offending the surgeon or embarrassing yourself by asking questions about anything you don’t understand. Remember, the more you know, the more you will become confident about your decision. The following is a list of questions to help you get started.
Questions to ask
These are basic questions to ask your surgeon. If you think of others, write them down and bring them with you to your visit. Go over the list with your spouse and family. Ask if they have other questions they would like to have answered. Before you leave the surgeon???s office, try to get all your questions answered. Be sure you understand everything clearly. If you think of questions after you leave, write them down and call your surgeon back.
- How will the surgery improve my condition?
- Tell me again what will happen during the surgery?
- Will I need blood transfusions?
- How long will the surgery last?
- How long will I be in the intensive care unit (ICU or CCU)?
- How much pain should I expect and how will it be controlled?
- What will the scar look like?
- What are the possible complications of surgery, and how likely are they to happen?
- Can I recover completely from this surgery? If so, how long will it take?
- How long will I be in the hospital?
- How long will my recovery take after I am home?
- What will I be able to do and not do during recovery?
- Will I need special equipment when I get home?
- When can I return to work?
- If I choose not to have surgery, will I get worse or remain the same?
- Is there an alternative treatment that does not involve surgery?
- How long do I have to decide?
- If I decide to have the surgery, how soon should I have it?
Making your decision
Once you have the information you need to consider all your options, you may be surprised that the best decision for you is becoming pretty clear. That doesn’t mean that it’s an easy decision to make, but at least it will be one you will feel good about and will know what to expect as a result of your decision.Tags: Surgery, surgeon, Nursing, heart surgeon, Evaluation methods, open heart surgery
The thought of having heart surgery can be pretty scary. You may be most afraid of what you don’t know about it. Like -
- How should you prepare?
- What exactly will happen during surgery?
- How long will it take?
- What will your recovery from surgery be like?
- How long will it be before you fully recover?
- Will you ever be the same again?
- When can I return to work?
- When can I return to sex after heart surgery?
This information will answer many questions for you and your family and hopefully put some of your fears to rest. But it can’t answer all of the questions that you might have about your own heart problem and the treatment of it. Always rely on your doctor and your healthcare team for that.
If your heart problem was discovered by your primary care doctor, he has probably referred you to a heart specialist, called a cardiologist.
Following an exam and many tests, the cardiologist has recommended surgery to treat your heart problem. The cardiologist then referred you to a heart surgeon.
This booklet will let you know what to expect during your visit with the surgeon. And it will explain what will take place before, during, and after your heart surgery.
If you have already met with the surgeon, review the first part of this booklet to make sure you understand everything you need and want to know before making a final decision about having the surgery.
Remember, peace of mind is very important to your good health. Your doctors want you to have all of the facts so you can make the decision which is best for you.
- Your visit with a heart surgeon.
- Types of Open Heart Surgery.
- Getting Ready for Open Heart Surgery.
- Your Hospital Admission for Open Heart Surgery.
- On the Road to Recovery After Open Heart Surgery.
- Possible Problems After Open Heart Surgery – when to call the doctor.