Sign in

When Is Open Heart Surgery Performed?

When Is Open Heart Surgery Performed?

Heart surgery, medically termed cardiac surgery, refers to any operation done by a heart surgeon on the cardiac muscles, arteries, or valves. The term “open heart surgery” refers to the conventional surgical approach of addressing any heart problems wherein a cut or opening is made in the chest to directly access the heart.


If you have been suggested to undergo open heart surgery to correct blockage, replace diseased heart valves or others, then this article will help you. Dr. Sujay Shad, the best heart surgeon who performs Open Heart Surgery in Delhi at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, will tell you all about this life-saving procedure.


What are the common types of open-heart surgery?


In this procedure the heart surgeon cuts through the breastbone and spreads the ribs to reach the heart. During the surgery, the patient is put on a heart-lung bypass machine. The patient’s heart beating is stopped and the heart’s working is taken over by the bypass machine. 



Open heart surgery is commonly of the following kinds:


Heart bypass surgery (Coronary Artery Bypass Graft): This surgery is performed in case of blockage. It involves creating a separate route, a bypass to allow the oxygen-rich blood to reach the heart.

Heart valve surgery: This surgery is done to repair or replace diseased heart valves that cause blood to backflow.


Surgery to correct a congenital heart defect: This corrective Open Heart Surgery in Delhi fixes or treats a structural defect in the heart present since birth. Some of the types of paediatric heart surgery are patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) ligation, coarctation of the aorta repair, atrial/ventricular septal defect repair, and tetralogy of fallot repair.   


When is open heart surgery performed?


Open heart surgery may be done to treat any of the following conditions:


Aortic disease: Aorta is the largest artery of the body that carries oxygen-rich blood from the heart to the rest of the body. It may get damaged or malfunction with diseases like atherosclerosis (plaque build-up), hypertension, genetic disorders like bicuspid aortic valve disease or Marfan syndrome, and connective tissue disorders like Turner syndrome or Ehlers Danlos syndrome. Open heart surgery can help repair and replace the damaged aortic valve.


Coronary artery disease: This disease is the result of the narrowing of the coronary arteries which supply blood to the heart. Open heart surgery can help treat coronary artery disease by creating a bypass for blood to flow.


Arrhythmias: It is a cardiac condition wherein the heart beats abnormally, either too slow too fast, or irregularly due to malfunctioning electrical impulses. Open heart surgery can help the heart properly beat by implanting medical devices like pacemakers.  

Heart valve disease: Valves allow the blood to flow in a forward direction between the upper and lower heart chambers and even out of the heart. There are two ways by which the heart valve can get diseased: Stenosis (stiffening or thickening of the flaps) and regurgitation (leaky valve or valve insufficiency). Open heart valve surgery can be performed to repair or replace any diseased valve.


Heart failure: It is a condition when the heart fails to pump properly to allow enough blood flow to meet the individual body's needs. Many cardiac conditions can end up with heart failure. These include cardiac amyloidosis, cardiac arrhythmias, cardiomyopathy, congenital heart disease, cancer-related heart disease, constrictive pericarditis, heart valve disease, and coronary artery disease. Open heart surgery can be done to transplant a donor's heart in place of a damaged heart.


Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy: In this cardiac condition, the walls of the left ventricle of the heart become thick and stiff and the blood supply gets obstructed. It can lead to atrial fibrillation, stroke, heart failure, and ventricular arrhythmias that can cause cardiac arrest. Septal myectomy is a kind of open-heart surgery that can treat this heart condition.


How is open heart surgery performed?


In general, open-heart surgery is performed by following these basic steps:


  1. The patient is provided with general anaesthesia so that they remain unconscious and pain-free during the surgery.
  2. Next, the surgeon makes an 8 to 10-inch long cut in the chest. Through the cut, the surgeon passes all or a portion of the patient’s breastbone to get access to the heart.
  3. Once the heart is exposed, the patient’s heart may be connected to a heart-lung bypass machine.
  4. Then, the surgeon addresses the specific issues of the heart like repairing or replacing the valve/artery, implanting a medical device, creating a bypass, or transplanting the donor heart.
  5. After the needful is done, the surgeon closes the breastbone with wire and leaves the wire inside.
  6. Lastly, the original cut is stitched up and the heart is covered with sterile bandages.


Are there any risks of having open heart surgery?


Just like any other surgery, open heart surgery also poses some risks. The potential risks include:


  • Heart attack or stroke
  • Blood clot
  • Huge loss of blood
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Kidney or lung failure
  • Chest pain and low-grade fever
  • Fuzziness or memory loss
  • Troubled breathing
  • Pneumonia
  • Chest wound infection (mostly in diabetics, obese people, or those who have undergone CABG surgery)
  • The risk is increased when a heart-lung bypass machine is used.



What at-home care do I need to recover from my open heart surgery?


As per Heart Surgery Doctor in Delhi, After coming back home following your heart surgery, you must do the following:


  • Take proper care of your incision site and regularly inspect it for any signs of infection.
  • Manage your pain or discomfort with prescribed painkillers.
  • Avoid intake of caffeine, tobacco, narcotics, and alcohol as these can impair the natural healing process.
  • Take adequate sleep, eat heart-healthy food, and drink plenty of water.


When is open heart surgery preferred over minimally invasive heart surgery?


In recent times, minimally invasive heart surgeries, also known as the keyhole approach, have taken over the traditional open-heart surgery. That’s because the keyhole approach offers many benefits like no broken breast bone, no risk of bone infection, minimal pain, short recovery, minimal downtime, and small scarring. However, not every heart patient can go for the keyhole approach.


The factors that decide which approach to go ahead with include the patient’s heart condition, general health, age, improved patient outcomes, and other pertinent considerations. Certain patients’ condition or the complexity of the case necessitates the surgeon to perform open heart surgery.


Consult the Best Heart Surgeon!


Dr. Sujay Shad, a renowned cardiologist and heart surgeon for Open Heart Surgery in Delhi at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital. He is a skilled heart surgeon who has successfully conducted many life-saving heart surgeries.


Reach out for a consultation today to learn more!

Zupyak is the world’s largest content marketing community, with over 400 000 members and 3 million articles. Explore and get your content discovered.
Read more