Heart Bypass Surgery: Purpose, Procedure, Risks, Recovery
Heart bypass surgery is the most common type of cardiac surgery performed on people all over the world. When one or more of the blood vessels that carry blood to the heart muscles become partially clogged, doctors prescribe heart bypass surgery. Heart bypass surgery reroutes blood around the segment of the blocked artery.
Purpose of Heart Bypass Surgery
Heart bypass surgery is used to relieve the symptoms of coronary artery disease. When a waxy material called plaque builds up inside the heart’s arteries, it prevents blood and oxygen from reaching it.
Heart bypass surgery can help in the following cases:
- If there is significant chest discomfort due to a blockage in several arteries.
- If at least one of the coronary arteries is diseased, leading to the left ventricle operating inefficiently.
- If the left main coronary artery is blocked.
- If other operations and treatments do not work.
- If there are new blockages.
The procedure of Heart Bypass Surgery
Surgeons use heart bypass surgery to operate the patients if other less invasive procedures and medications do not work. In heart bypass surgery, a blood artery from the chest, arms, or legs is removed and used to form a diversion or bypass around the blockage. This permits blood to return to the heart.
Surgeons can operate on many arteries at the same time. A double bypass involves two repairs, a triple bypass involves three, and a quadruple bypass involves four repairs. The quintuple bypass is the most complicated cardiac bypass surgery as it involves bypassing all five of the heart’s main arteries.
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Risks of Heart Bypass Surgery
Heart bypass surgery, like any open-heart surgery, has risks. Recent technical advances have enhanced the technique, improving the likelihood of a successful operation. But every surgery carries some risk of potential complications, and so is the case with this one.
Following are some of the risks of heart bypass surgery:
- Blood clots
- Chest pain
- Renal failure
- Heart attack
Recovery after Heart Bypass Surgery
It will take some time. For a few weeks following the operation, you may not feel hungry and possibly be constipated. While you are in the hospital, you may have difficulty sleeping. You may have some swelling in your leg if the surgeon removes a healthy vein from your leg.
Your body will take some time to heal, but you will start to feel better every following day. After the surgery, your body will need around 2 months to recover.
Consult your doctor to determine the right time to resume your routine activities. What’s best for you will be determined by your overall health, your medical history, your bypass surgery history, the type of your daily activities, etc.
To resume driving, it usually takes 4 to 6 weeks, but even after that the best time to start driving is when you gain your concentration for driving back.
For household work, take the aid of your family for lifting heavy stuff and doing other things that put pressure on your body.
As far as your professional life is concerned, you will need to regain your concentration, confidence and physical strength before getting back to work. After around 6 weeks, you may be ready to return to light duty. Within 3 months, you should be back in your normal capacity.
Apart from all this, cardiac rehabilitation may be recommended by your doctor after heart bypass surgery. It offers a medically supervised exercise program, lifestyle instructions, nutrition assistance, etc.
Symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest discomfort, and high blood pressure are likely to improve after a successful heart bypass operation. A heart bypass can improve blood flow to the heart, but you should include some healthy lifestyle changes to avoid heart problems in the future.
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