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Cardiac Surgery: Meaning, Scope, and Other details

Team AckoJan 18, 2024

Cardiac Surgery can be a lifesaver when it comes to dealing with heart-related problems. It is a complex procedure that requires precision and expertise. Heart disorders can be a daunting experience, and it's crucial to understand the significance of Cardiac Surgery in treating them. Read ahead for an overview of this type of surgery. 




What is Cardiac Surgery?

Cardiac Surgery refers to a surgical field that focuses on the treatment of conditions affecting the heart and its blood vessels. It is performed by cardiac surgeons who have specialised in this field. It requires a highly skilled team of medical professionals, including anesthesiologists, perfusionists, and nurses, who work together to ensure the safety and success of the surgery.

Types of Cardiac Surgery

Here are the different types of Cardiac Surgery.

  • Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting (CABG): A surgical procedure performed to treat coronary heart disease. The surgeon will create a graft to bypass blocked or narrowed arteries.

  • Heart transplant: This is a process where a problematic heart is replaced with a healthy heart from a deceased donor.

  • Valve replacement: This surgery is performed when one or more of the heart's valves doesn't function properly, leading to issues such as regurgitation or stenosis. The faulty valve is exchanged with a prosthetic valve.

  • Other types: These include septal defect repair, left ventricular assist device implantation, and angioplasty.

Preparing for Cardiac Surgery

Before going through with Cardiac Surgery, it's important to prepare yourself both physically and mentally. Here are some steps you can take.

  • Medical exams and tests: Your doctor will likely run a series of tests to assess your overall health and identify any potential risks during surgery. These may include blood tests, imaging exams, and electrocardiograms (ECGs).

  • Medications: Your doctors may prescribe certain medications. 

What to expect during surgery

When it comes to surgery, it's common to feel apprehensive about what to expect. Here are a couple of important things to keep in mind.

  • Anaesthesia: Depending on the type of surgery you're having, you'll either be given general anaesthesia, which will put you to sleep, or a local anaesthesia, which will numb just the area being operated on. The anesthesiologist will go over your medical history beforehand to determine which option is best for you.

  • Length of the surgery: This will depend on the complexity of the procedure. Be sure to discuss this with your surgeon so you have an idea of how long you'll be under anaesthesia.

Recovery after Cardiac Surgery

After undergoing Cardiac Surgery, it is important to take the necessary steps for a successful recovery. This includes being aware of post-surgery routines such as hospital stays, medications, and follow-up appointments.

  • During a hospital stay, you will be closely monitored for any complications and will receive care from medical professionals. 

  • Medications will be prescribed in order to manage the associated pain and prevent infections.  

  • Follow-up appointments with a cardiologist will be necessary to monitor progress and make any necessary adjustments to medications or lifestyle changes. 

Risks and complications of Cardiac Surgery

Below are the risks and complications of Cardiac Surgery that you need to be aware of.

  • Bleeding: This is a common complication that can occur after surgery. 

  • Infection: The risk of infection increases after any surgery, including surgery. 

  • Stroke: Like any surgery, there is a risk of stroke during a surgery. This can cause long-term damage and may require additional medical treatment.

Frequently asked questions

Here is a rundown of common questions and their answers about Cardiac Surgery.


Who is a candidate for Cardiac Surgery?

A candidate for Cardiac Surgery is someone who has a heart condition that cannot be managed with medication or other treatments.

What are the common types of Cardiac Surgery?

The common types of Cardiac Surgery include coronary artery bypass grafting, heart valve surgery, and heart transplant.

How do I prepare for Cardiac Surgery?

To prepare for Cardiac Surgery, patients may need to stop taking certain medications, quit smoking, and make lifestyle changes.

Can Cardiac Surgery be prevented?

Some heart conditions may be preventable with lifestyle changes, but others may require medical intervention such as cardiac catheterization or surgery.

How long does a typical Cardiac Surgery procedure take?

The duration of the procedure can vary based on the type of surgery and patient factors, but most cardiac surgeries take several hours.

Are there any non-surgical treatments for heart conditions?

Yes, some heart conditions can be managed with medications, lifestyle changes, or minimally invasive procedures such as cardiac catheterization.

How can I find a qualified and experienced cardiac surgeon?

Patients can ask their primary care physician or cardiologist for recommendations, or research surgeons and hospitals online. It is important to select a surgeon with extensive experience in the specific type of surgery needed, as well as a hospital with a strong track record for cardiac care and low complication rates.

What should I do if I experience chest pain or other symptoms after Cardiac Surgery?

Patients should contact their doctor immediately and seek medical attention, as these could be signs of complications or other issues.

What are some common medications prescribed after Cardiac Surgery?

Medications may include pain relievers, blood thinners, and medications to lower blood pressure or reduce the risk of infection.

How much time should I wait to resume normal activities after Cardiac Surgery?

Patients should generally avoid strenuous activities for several weeks to a few months after surgery.  

When should I see my healthcare provider?

Patients should see their healthcare provider if they experience chest pain, breathing issues, or irregular heartbeat, or if they have concerns or questions about their recovery after Cardiac Surgery. They should also attend all scheduled follow-up appointments and monitoring to ensure ongoing heart health and address any issues as they arise.

Can I drive after Cardiac Surgery?

Patients should avoid driving for several weeks after surgery, and should follow their doctor's recommendations for resuming driving. It is important for patients to be able to move and react quickly in case of an emergency while driving, and it may take some time to fully recover strength and reflexes after surgery.


Disclaimer: The content on this page is generic and shared only for informational and explanatory purposes. Please consult a doctor before making any health-related decisions.


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