Heart surgery is any surgical procedure that is done to correct a heart problem(s) in children and adults. In the U.S., more than half a million heart surgeries are performed annually. Here at Caribbean Heart Care, we now perform 300 to 400 heart surgeries each year with a success rate of over 97 percent.
What is heart bypass surgery?
Heart bypass surgery or coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) is the most common surgery procedure performed on adults. This surgery is done to redirect the flow of blood from major arteries leading to the heart that are blocked. During bypass surgery, surgeons take healthy arteries or veins from another part of the body to ‘bypass’ blocked arteries as a means of improving heart blood flow as well as reducing chest pain and the risk of heart attack.
What else may require heart surgery?
Heart surgery may also be done to:
- Repair or replace defective heart valves
- Repair abnormalities or damage to the heart’s structure
- Regulate heart rhythms or blood flow with implantable devices
- Replace a damaged heart with a healthy donor heart (i.e. heart transplant).
What is ‘open heart’ surgery?
Once a patient’s chest is opened for surgery to be performed on the heart, it is referred to as ‘open heart’. This is done by cutting through the breastbone to expose the heart.
In traditional ‘on-pump’ heart surgery, once the heart is exposed, the patient is connected to a heart-lung bypass machine which mechanically pumps blood through the patient’s body giving surgeons the opportunity to operate on an unbeating heart.
A more recent medical advance has led to the introduction of ‘off-pump’ surgery (also called ‘beating heart’ surgery), which does not require placing the patient on a heart-lung bypass machine for surgery to be performed on the heart.
Are all heart surgeries ‘open heart’?
No. There are some surgical procedures that are ‘minimally invasive’. This means the surgical incisions are much smaller than in traditional open heart surgery, and may reduce the risk to the patient as well as the amount of time required for recovery.
If you have been told that your require heart surgery, your cardiologist and surgeon will evaluate all surgical options before deciding on which type of heart surgery is the best in your case.
What are the chances of my surviving heart surgery?
With the many advances that have taken place in field of heart surgery, the vast majority of heart patients have an excellent chance at survival. In fact, if you have a severe heart problem, having heart surgery will in all likelihood reduce your symptoms and help you live a longer and better quality of life.