What to Expect When You’re Having Open Heart Surgery
When the chest is cut open and surgery is performed on the heart’s muscles, valves, or arteries, it is known as an open-heart surgery. It is also called traditional heart surgery. Today, with many new innovative cardiac operations, surgery can be performed with smaller incisions rather than wide openings.
1. When is Open Heart Surgery Needed?
2. Procedure of Open Heart Surgery
3. Things to Expect Following an Open Heart Surgery
When is Open Heart Surgery Needed?
Open heart surgery in Chandigarh is usually done in the following cases:
- To perform Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting (CABG)
- Heart transplantation
- Implanting medical device in the heart
- Repairing damaged areas of the heart
- Repairing or replacing heart valves
Procedure of Open Heart Surgery
Before your surgery, you should disclose about any medications you’re taking, including over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and herbs to your cardiologist. Notify them about your alcohol consumption and about any illnesses that you’re suffering from.
Your doctor may ask you to stop smoking and cease using blood-thinning medicines such as aspirin or ibuprofen two weeks before surgery.
Before starting with the surgery, the patient is given general anaesthesia. This ensures that they are sleeping and remain pain-free for the entire procedure. Then the surgeon creates an 8 to 10 inch incision in the chest. To expose the heart, the surgeon breaks through all or part of the patient’s breastbone.
The patient may be linked to a heart-lung bypass machine after the heart is loacted. The surgeon creates a new channel around the obstructed artery by using a healthy vein or artery and then uses a wire to close the breastbone and leaves the wire within the body. The original cut is sewn back together.
Things to Expect Following an Open Heart Surgery
- You may find trouble sleeping: Following heart surgery, many patients have difficulty in sleeping for a while. Insomnia can be caused by a variety of factors such as the effects of anaesthesia, recovery-related irritation, stress, and alteration in your everyday routine.
In two to three weeks, your normal sleeping pattern should resume.
- Your eating habits may change: It’s possible to lose appetite or simply being too tired to eat after the surgery. Don’t worry, your appetite will return to normal in no time.
Till then you are recommended to eat small and frequent meals throughout the day. Proper nutrition is required for your body to heal and grow stronger. A high-protein, low-fat, low-cholesterol, and low-sodium diet is advised during the period of recovery.
- You may have to manage pain: Post-surgical pain is inevitable but can be managed by medications, very light warm compress, meditation and other such relaxation techniques.
- You may feel emotionally unstable: Physical and emotional recoveries are both parts of getting your strength back after open-heart surgery. So if you are sad or emotional in the weeks following your surgery, it is quite normal.
Up to three months after the procedure, many patients experience mood swings such as depression, anxiety, loneliness, helplessness, and rage. But even if you may not feel like doing anything, do resume your hobbies, get dressed daily, meet people and get plenty of rest.
- You may not be able to do your normal activities for some time: Patients are not able to resume activities such as driving for at least 4 weeks. Your surgeon may be able to advise you better on when you are ready to get back to your normal activities.
- You may need continuous care: Check-ups with your doctor will be part of your post-surgery treatment. You may need to follow up with your cardiologist for the rest of your life for continuous heart monitoring and treatment.
Changes in lifestyle such as eating healthier, exercising more, quitting to smoke, and managing stress should become a part of your life post open heart surgery. You will also need certain medications for life as well as cardiac rehabilitation.
In the end, expect a slow and steady recovery. It might take up to six weeks before you start feeling better, and it could take up to six months to fully benefit from the surgery.
Click here to find out about Open Heart Surgery in Chandigarh: https://www.healinghospital.co.in/cardiology-department/