What is open heart surgery for?

Open heart surgery is a type of surgery that is performed on the heart and its blood vessels. The term "open heart" refers to the fact that the chest is opened during the procedure, allowing the surgeon to directly access the heart. The most common types of open heart surgery are:

  1. Coronary artery bypass surgery (CABG): This procedure is used to improve blood flow to the heart by redirecting blood around blocked or narrowed coronary arteries. This is done by using a blood vessel from another part of the body, such as the leg or the chest, to bypass the blocked artery.
  2. Heart valve surgery: This procedure is used to repair or replace a heart valve that is not working properly. The valve can be repaired or replaced with a mechanical or a bioprosthetic valve.
  3. Heart transplant: This procedure is used when the heart is too weak or damaged to function properly. The patient's heart is removed and replaced with a healthy heart from a deceased donor.
  4. Atrial Septal Defect (ASD) and Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD) repair: This procedure is used to repair a hole in the heart. When the hole is in the atria, it is called ASD, and when it is in the ventricles, it is called VSD.
  5. Cardiomyopathy surgery: This procedure is used to treat diseases of the heart muscle (cardiomyopathy) such as dilated cardiomyopathy, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, and restrictive cardiomyopathy.

Open heart surgery is a major procedure that requires general anesthesia, and it carries significant risks, including bleeding, infection, and complications related to the heart-lung machine that is used to support the patient's circulation during the surgery. Recovery time can vary depending on the type and extent of the surgery, but generally, it can take several weeks to months.

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