Deaths due to heart diseases are very common. Heart surgeries are stressful and it is thus important to know what to expect from the surgery, how to lower the risk of having a heart surgery and what aftercare treatment is essential for the patient.
What is a heart bypass surgery?
Coronary artery bypass surgery or heart bypass surgery is an operation that is done to bypass the blocked or damaged arteries in the heart with a blood vessel graft that helps in restoring normal blood flow to the heart. The graft is mostly taken from the leg, arm or the chest of the patient. This is one of the most common heart surgeries that is performed.
Fatty deposits or plaque gets built up in the coronary arteries and this leads to chest pain, shortness of breath and irregular heartbeat. The coronary arteries supply blood rich in oxygen to the heart which gets blocked by the fatty deposits in the walls of the arteries. If left untreated, it causes blood clots which can lead to heart attack. Sedentary lifestyle, high blood pressure, smoking and obesity are few of the reasons why someone might develop coronary artery disease.
The doctor will carry out certain tests before doing the surgery.
- A CBC or complete blood count is done so that if the patient has a low blood count the doctor will be prepared for blood transfusion
- Prothrombin time (PT) and thromboplastin time (PTT) values measure the bleeding and clotting time of blood
- Chest x-ray is done to check the size and the shape of the heart and aorta
- Cardiac catheterization identifies the location of blockages in the coronary arteries that helps the doctor plan the surgery
- Kidney and liver function tests are performed to check the health of these organs
The risks associated with bypass surgery are bleeding, breathing problems, wound infection, injury to the nerves or blood vessels, formation of blood clots, irregular heartbeat, kidney failure, heart attack, stroke or death.
The patient will be kept in the hospital for about a week under observation. The recovery time may be long and it normally ranges from 4-6 weeks depending on the health of the patient.
Any redness, swelling or damage in the incision should be shown to the doctor immediately. The patient will be given some pain medications and advised to avoid any stress. The aftercare would also include maintaining a healthy lifestyle, having a healthy and balanced diet and cutting back on sugar, salt, fats, smoking and alcohol.
Heart bypass surgery does not cure heart diseases. The patient can have another blockage and thus it is necessary to maintain a healthy lifestyle and take the medications prescribed by the doctor.
Heart Transplant Surgery
Heart Transplant Surgery is an open heart surgery in which an incision is made in the chest to separate the chest bone to open the rib cage so that the heart can be operated on.
The procedure involves removing the diseased heart and sewing the donor’s heart in place. The major blood vessels are then attached to the donor heart which causes the new heart to start beating when blood flow is restored. Pain medications are given after the surgery and the patient is kept in a ventilator to help him breathe. Tubes attached to the chest help in draining out the fluids from the lungs and the heart. Fluids and medications are given through intravenous tubes.
Any signs of shortness of breath, fatigue, fever or weight gain needs to be indicated to the doctor without delay.
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