Getting a Heart Surgery - What You Should Know

Healthy Heart|May.14, 2018


The heart is probably the hardest working muscle in the body. Pumping life through your veins day in and day out; though sometimes even the heart needs a little help to function at it's best.

Take, for example, a condition like coronary artery disease. This heart condition indicates the presence of any of the heart condition which causes an insufficiency in the blood flow to the heart. Heart attack and angina are some of the known result of restrictions to blood flow.

This restriction in blood flow is caused by the layer of fatty deposits on the artery walls, also called as atheroma. This may lead to discomfort and pain in the chest, called angina. If the plaque (fatty deposits) of the atheroma crack, a blood clot is formed to repair the artery wall, thus blocking the artery further. This causes a heart attack. During a heart attack, due to restricted blood flow, the affected heart muscles are damaged and stop functioning partially or fully.

Different Kinds of Heart Surgery

There are multiple ways to treat these conditions, coronary angioplasty and coronary artery bypass surgery being the two important surgeries to treat it. Coronary angioplasty is a procedure that squashes the fatty deposits on the walls of the coronary artery to make way for the blood to flow.

Angioplasty is a fairly familiar procedure; however, it has been, now, optimised to getting the patient back on their feet following the procedure. Effectively, reducing the recovery time and helping you get back to daily life faster than if you'd undergone the procedure couple of years back.

A Coronary angioplasty may involve placement of devices called "stents," depending on the type and extent of blockages in the coronary arteries. Stents are wire mesh tubes which are accurately placed in the part of the artery that was blocked, to reopen it and re-establish the blood flow.

Though your attending medical expert will be the best judge of your requirements, when it comes to stents, here are a few things you should be aware of:

In some situations, the cardiologist might recommend you a Coronary Bypass Surgery, which involves bypassing the narrow parts in the coronary arteries to re-establish normal blood flow. This is assessed through an angiogram test which shows the areas and extent of blockages in the arteries, allowing the cardiologist to make an informed decision.

Here's a snapshot to help you understand heart attacks and the latest technologies available for treatment:

Other types of heart surgeries involve treating some part which is affected. A heart valve surgery, for instance, can repair or replace a damaged valve in the heart. heart valves regulate the direction and quantity of flow of blood. Pacemaker surgery involves repairing or replacing the natural pacemaker in the heart which regulates the heartbeats.

After a heart surgery

After your operation, you will be asked to rest for a few hours as the anaesthetic is still in effect. You may be kept in an intensive care unit or specialised recovery unit for a few hours to monitor your condition. This will involve placing certain medical equipment connected to your body. The doctors will monitor your blood flow, heart rate, breathing, and overall functioning and response of the body to the surgery.

Once you are discharged from the hospital, you will be allowed to go back home. You will need to observe the recommendations given by your doctor very closely for a speedy recovery. You need to take your medications strictly and may need to return to the doctor to get your surgical wounds dressed from time to time.

After surgery, you should consult your dietician on the best diet for you at this time, so as to allow a healthy nutrition without putting any strain on your system. You can resume physical activity in a measured way. Some physical activity will help you recover but you must ensure to consult your doctor on this in detail. The hospital may also have a cardiac rehabilitation team who can guide you on precautions you must observe and ways for you to recover faster.

Look out for any warning signs after the surgery – like shortness of breath, pain in the chest, swelling in the surgical wounds, recurring fever etc. Anything you find alarming must be reported to your doctors at the earliest.

Getting back to a normal life after a surgery can be fast if you are earnest about following the steps recommended by your doctor and dieticians. After recovery, you can consult your doctor from time to time on when you can resume work, travel, and other activities which might potentially cause stress to your system.

With great advancements in the finesse with which heart surgeries are carried out today, heart patients have little to worry over. More and more people recover fully after a heart condition now, as compared with a few decades ago. Better knowledge of your own condition and what could potentially make it worse, combined with strict adherence to good health practices will help you get rejuvenated in no time.


Disclaimer: This publication/editorial/article is meant for awareness/educational purposes and does not constitute or imply an endorsement, sponsorship or recommendation of any Products. Please consult your doctor/healthcare practitioner before starting any diet, medication or exercise.