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Types of heart surgery: What are they?

Types of heart surgery

Heart surgery is a medical procedure performed to remove any irregularities with its arteries, valves, or the muscles. It is a complex operation performed on a human body after brain surgery. It can be performed on both adults and children. The patient is required to undergo a series of medical tests to determine if they need heart surgery or not. If the answer is yes, then read more about it in the types of heart surgery listed below to help understand what to expect.

When is a heart surgery recommended?

Common reasons doctors recommend a heart surgery are:

  • To replace or repair the heart valves for controlling the blood rush through the heart
  • To restore the damaged or abnormal heart structures
  • Transplant damaged heart with a healthy heart
  • To implant prescribed medical implants that will increase the efficiency of the heart

6 different types of heart surgeries

Here are some heart surgery types:

1. Coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG)

Coronary artery bypass grafting surgery is one of the common kinds of heart surgery. This surgery is performed by grafting or connecting a healthy vein or artery to a clogged coronary artery.

This new vein is then capable of bypassing the blocked section of the artery. In other words, this is an original path for the blood to flow healthily towards the heart muscle.

This surgical procedure can significantly reduce the possibility of a heart attack and relieve chest pain. This surgery is also known as bypass surgery.

2. Traditional heart surgery

Conventional heart surgeries are done by opening the chest walls by cutting the breastbones of the patient. The patient is immediately aligned to heart-lung bypass equipment, once the heart is appropriately exposed. Now, the doctors can operate upon a heart that is not beating or having any blood flow in it.

3. The heart valve repairing surgery

In this procedure, the surgeons will either repair the faulty valve or will ultimately replace it with a biological or artificial valve. Biological valves are created from the heart tissues of a cow, pig, or human.

Another option to repair the heart valve is by inserting a catheter and sending it to the heart. A small balloon is attached, which is inflated and deflated to widen the valve.

4. Maze surgery

It is a complex surgery performed for treating the condition of atrial fibrillation. Maze surgery is also known as surgical ablation.

The surgeon will do small incisions, freezing, radio waves, or ultrasound energies to create scar tissue. This scar tissue sends electric signals by a controlled route to the lower ventricles.

Maze surgery can also be performed through smaller cuts on the chest or at the time of open-heart surgery. This procedure can be done if the patient is going for valve replacement or repair or bypass surgery.

5. Implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) or pacemaker implant

Arrhythmia is a condition in which either the heart beats too fast or too slow. In other words, the heart showcases an abnormal beating rhythm.

Medication is the first preferred treatment for this condition. In case, drugs don’t improve the rhythm, pacemaker implantation is the next option.

After discussion with you, the doctor will perform the surgery to implant a pacemaker that will control the heartbeat through electrical pulses. ICD also works similarly, only the difference is, it starts sending electric shock on detecting any danger of arrhythmia, to restore the normal rhythm.

6. Heart transplant

It is a surgical procedure in which a damaged or non-functioning heart is replaced with a healthy heart. This surgery is performed on the patients that are suffering from end-stage heart failure or coronary severe artery disorders, and all other treatment options have failed.

Risks associated with heart surgery

Heart surgeries are very complicated and risk-bearing medical procedures. Although, with advanced medical practices, the risks have been mitigated up to a large extent, still, here are some common risks that still prevail in every surgery:

  • Infections
  • Internal bleeding
  • Heart stroke
  • Reactions from anesthesia
  • Temporary or permanent damage to the lungs, liver, kidney and heart tissues
  • If the patient is already sick before the operation, death can be a possible risk associated with heart surgery
  • Risk factors multiply in cases of peripheral artery disease, lung or kidney disease, or diabetes

Final words on types of heart surgery

Heart surgeries are quite complicated, but the success rates and quality of life are quite good in developed countries. Recovery time after surgery will depend upon the type of surgery. Usually, every patient is required to spend one or two days in ICU and then at least a week in a standard unit.

Before being released, your doctor will likely take you through what your new home routine and wellness plan ought to look like, including potentially eating walnuts for heart health. Returning to a regular routine of activity will take several months, so be patient with the progress and reach out to loved ones for physical and mental support.

2 thoughts on “Types of heart surgery: What are they?”

  1. This is a fantastic way to cover the types that’s far more easily understandable that a lot of what you find online. I hadn’t heard of surgical ablation being called ‘maze’ surgery before, so I’ve learned something new there too!
    Caz xx

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