• Shruti GOCHHWAL

FAQs On Heart Surgery

The heart is a very important organ that pumps blood to every part of the body. FAQs on heart surgery it is crucial for this organ to function efficiently.

A heart surgery is a procedure that works towards fixing any heart-related problems- fixing the muscle, valves, arteries,  aorta, and other large arteries connected to the heart.

Here are answers to some of the most FAQs on heart surgery:

1.  How should I prepare for surgery?

Usually, your doctor will give you very thorough instructions prior to your surgery. It is very important to see all of them through.

The day before surgery one must do two important things:

  1. Fast

Do not consume any food or water after midnight before your surgery.

  1. Medicate and disinfect

The patient will be given instructions as to what drugs must be stopped or given and also will be made to shower in anti-microbial soap prior to the surgery.

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2.  What happens during a heart surgery?

Here’s what happens after you are asleep on the table:

  1. A breathing tube will be inserted to help the person breathe.

  2. A catheter tube will be inserted in the vein to allow the administration of fluids or medications.

  3. A chest tube will be inserted to drain out any fluid or air from the chest cavity.

  4. An arterial catheter will also be inserted to the artery to check for blood pressure.

  5. A Foley catheter will be inserted to drain out the urine.

  6. An oral gastric tube is inserted in the stomach through the nose or mouth.

After this, the main part of the surgery will begin.

3.  How long is a heart surgery?

The duration of a heart surgery varies on the type of procedure or problem. On average it lasts for 3-6 hours.

4.  How long will I be kept in the hospital after heart surgery?

The patient will be first kept in the ICU for 1-2 days and then transferred to the general ward for observation for 5-7 days.

The length or duration a person has to be kept really depends on their vital signs, lab work, progress, and recovery.

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5.  How long is the recovery period?

The recovery period from a faqs on heart surgery is a very gradual one. It may take around 6 weeks to start feeling better and a few months before you feel the full benefits of the surgery.

Symptoms usually get better after 4-5 weeks.

6.  What are the restrictions after a heart surgery?

They include:

  1. Avoiding lifting, pulling, or pushing heavy things.

  2. Avoiding holding your breath for too long

  3. Do not drive for a month or until your doctor advises you to do so.

  4. Avoid foods excessively high in fats and cholesterol and caffeine.

  5. Avoid foods that have excess sugar and salt.

  6. Go for walks but not overwork yourself.

7.  Why is an open heart surgery performed?

An open-heart surgery is usually performed to do one or more of the following:

  1. Replace or repair damaged heart valves

  2. Repair other damaged areas of the heart

  3. Insert medical devices like the pacemaker to help the heartbeat and pump blood efficiently.

  4. Heart transplant: To replace the heart with another functional one.

Credit: US Air Force


8.  What are the most common complications after a heart surgery?

Here are some possible complications after heart surgery:

  1. Excessive bleeding

  2. Arrhythmias

  3. Infections

  4. Memory loss

  5. Trouble thinking

  6. Kidney problems

  7. Heart attack

  8. Lung problems and pneumonia

9.  Post Surgery Symptoms: How much pain will I be in after heart surgery?

A patient will feel brief, sharp pains on either side of your chest and around the incision area will be sore or swollen.

Itching, tightness, and numbness along the incision are also common. You will also experience muscle pain on the neck, shoulder, back, or chest.

The doctor will prescribe medications that will help relieve such symptoms or discomfort.

Note

The answers to the questions mentioned above may not be precise. This is because every problem or every human body is different- meaning there will be a different procedure, approach, or healing capacity for every individual.

Thus, it is important to closely follow and trust the instructions and opinions of your doctor who will be able to provide you with some more specific answers.

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