- What is heart surgery and who needs heart surgery?
The heart is an important organ as it pumps blood through the lungs to the whole body. It is divided into four chambers that open through the heart valves.
Many of the conditions of the heart have to be treated surgically. Any surgery of the heart is known as cardiac or cardiovascular surgery. These surgeries are performed by highly skilled cardiothoracic surgeons, in advanced hospital set-ups.
Heart surgery may be required in adults as well as children to treat heart conditions like:
Ischaemic heart disease, coronary artery disease or congestive heart failure
Diseases and defects of the heart and its valves like endocarditis, rheumatic heart disease, abnormal heart murmurs, etc.
What are the different types of heart surgery?
Depending on the type of heart problem, the health of the patient, and other factors, the following types of heart surgeries can be performed:
The surgeon makes a large cut in the chest to open the rib cage. Hence, the chest of the patient is opened, but not necessarily the heart. The patient is connected to an artificial heart called the heart-lung bypass machine, while the cardiothoracic surgeons correct the problem.
Some common procedures using this approach are:
- Coronary Artery Bypass Graft Surgery (CABG)
- Heart valve repair or replacement surgery
- Aneurysm repair
- Insertion of ventricular assist devices
- Heart transplant
Closed heart or minimally invasive heart surgery:
Small incisions or cuts are made between the ribs through the chest for the surgery. The heart-lung bypass machine may or may not be used at the discretion of the surgeon. This type of heart surgery is used for procedures like:
- Stent placement
- Cardiac catheterization
- Repair or replacement of heart valves
- Insertion of ventricular assisted devices
- Transmyocardial Laser Revascularisation (TMR)
- Robotic surgeries
What to expect before, during, and after heart surgery?
In case of planned surgery, the healthcare team shall advise you on the admission procedure and protocols before the surgery. Some tests may be carried out to evaluate your fitness for the surgery.
What are the survival rate, risks, and benefits of heart surgery?
With the advances in medical technology, heart surgery is known to have excellent outcomes, with almost 90% of patients surviving the surgery.
Heart surgery survival rate:
Early detection of disease, surgical expertise, use of advanced technology, and excellent aftercare increase the chances of survival post-surgery. Patients with heart surgery are known to have survived for as long as 15 to 30 years.
However, heart surgery, being a major surgery, carries some risks, such as:
- Arrhythmias or irregular heartbeats
- Bleeding or infection in the surgical site
- Memory loss, difficulty in concentrating, and other cognitive loss
- Tissue damage in heart, kidneys, liver, and lungs
The risk of complications may be higher for emergency surgeries or in the presence of underlying diseases like diabetes.
Heart surgery recovery and rehabilitation:
The kind of heart disease and the type of surgery govern the recovery time. It usually takes 6-12 months to recover fully and resume a normal lifestyle. Your healthcare team shall advise you on:
- Care of the incision site
- Identifying signs of infection
- Cardiac rehabilitation exercises and physiotherapy
- Follow up appointments
- Emergency advice
- Lifestyle changes like quitting smoking, diet management, physical activity, and stress management.
What factors should be considered while choosing a hospital for heart surgery?
Heart surgery is one of the most critical surgeries. Hence, the hospital should be chosen wisely. Consider factors such as the experience of the cardiothoracic surgeon and cardiac anesthetist, an advanced setup with infrastructure, and a trained team with nurses, and physiotherapists to support the pre-operative and post-operative needs of heart surgery.
What factors govern the cost of heart surgery?
The cost of surgery depends on many factors, namely:
- Type of surgery and consumables, equipment required
- Expertise of the cardiothoracic surgeon and team
- The underlying medical condition of the patient, which can affect the hospital stay, additional tests and medicine requirement
- Room category as per hospital’s billing policy
To know more about heart surgery, you can request a callback and our heart surgery specialist will call you and answer all your queries.
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Heart Surgery. Available at: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/heart-surgery. Accessed on February 14, 2018
Mayo Clinic. Coronary bypass surgery. Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/coronary-bypass-surgery/about/pac-20384589 Accessed on February 14, 2018
- European Heart Journal. The clinical outcome after coronary bypass surgery: a 30-year follow-up study. Available at: https://academic.oup.com/eurheartj/article/30/4/453/412600 Accessed on February 14, 2018.