Open-Heart Surgery: Risks, Procedure, and Preparation

If you need open-heart surgery, you should know about the different types of open-heart procedures. Learn about the different types of open-heart surgery, including heart bypass, valve replacement, and more. 

Cardiac surgery is the last resort for conditions such as a blocked coronary artery, damaged valves, arrhythmia, and heart failure. The results are generally permanent, with the patient needing minimal medication post-surgery. However, it is an intense procedure with risks of bleeding, infection, and stroke.

Additionally, post-operative care plays a significant role in ensuring complete recovery. Thus, doctors at the best heart surgery hospital in Bangalore suggest the following post-surgery care at home for patients:


When a patient’s arteries are blocked due to cholesterol build-up, the heart receives and pumps a suboptimal volume of blood. In severe cases, the blood flow to the heart can completely stop, leading to a heart attack.

Doctors may recommend an angioplasty if they find that medication has not reduced the blockage significantly. Angioplasty is a procedure where the doctor unblocks an artery with the help of a catheter and stent. A long catheter (slender tube) is inserted into the patient’s arm or thigh.

The doctor then carefully guides it to the location of the obstruction and inflates a balloon at the end of the catheter to physically dislodge the blocking material. Finally, he installs a flexible tube-like metal structure called a stent at the location to keep the artery walls from collapsing.

The procedure causes very little pain and can be performed under local anesthesia. Post-operation, the site of catheter entry can feel sore. Patients remain under observation at least for a day, following which they can go home.

They must avoid rigorous physical activity for at least two days post-surgery. Long-term care includes leading a healthy lifestyle and consuming a balanced diet.

Open-Heart Surgery is a free-to-play medical simulation game that lets you operate on a heart!

Coronary Artery Bypass Graft Surgery (CABG):

 If a stent does not suffice, doctors may decide to perform bypass surgery. They take a portion of blood vessels from the patient’s leg or arm and use it to create a new route for the blood to flow, bypassing the blockaded part. It is an intense surgery that can take up to six hours. 

Post-surgery, the patient is intubated and kept under observation in the Intensive Care Unit. Medicines to regulate blood pressure are delivered intravenously. After a week, the patient shifts to a general ward, where they can move about and eat independently. They may, however, experience some soreness and night sweats.

Once they go home, patients are prescribed medication to prevent blood clots and bleeding. While platelet inhibitors are prescribed for a year, blood thinners such as aspirin may continue for longer.

Patients slowly get back to their routine lives – the first three months post-surgery, patients can walk, slowly climb stairs and perform light household chores. Most patients can drive after two months and perform moderate exercise after three months.

The Open-Heart Surgery program at the University of Toronto is an innovative, teaching, and research-intensive program that is dedicated to the care of heart patients.

Heart Valve Surgery:

Heart valves control the direction of the flow of blood. Blood can regurgitate (flow backward) if they malfunction, causing insufficient blood flow per cycle. Eventually, the heart overworks to compensate for it, leading to further complications.

Thus, surgeons may decide to replace an unhealthy or malformed heart valve with a functional artificial valve. Artificial valves mostly replace the aortic or mitral valves in the left chamber of the heart.