An open heart surgery, or any form of surgery which requires the chest to be cut open is a major form of surgery with various risks associated with it. Such risks depend on the type of surgery the patient has to undergo along with his general health condition. Risks are also associated with the type and duration of the anesthesia to be used. However, needless to say, open heart surgeries are done by expert surgeons and thus proper method of after-care is usually discussed with the patients and care-givers by the doctor.

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How Dangerous Is An Open Heart Surgery?

Are Open Heart Surgeries Fatal?

With the medical advancement in the field of surgery, the death rates associated with open heart surgery is quite less. Due to such advancements in surgeries the doctors are able to take even highly risky cases today. Research shows that more than 60 percent of patients with open heart surgeries survive, the procedure when given proper treatment and after care. Although there are risks associated with open heart surgeries, they are not life threatening. Considering the symptoms of the heart disease faced by the patient, the risk of an open heart surgery is worthy to be taken in order to lead a disease-free life.

What are the Risks Associated With Open Heart Surgery?

Although the surgical risks depend on the type of surgery done by the doctor, there are few general risks, which have to be taken care of by close observation of the patient after the surgery. Some of the general risks include-

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Risk of Bleeding: The patient may have a risk to bleeding from the surgical site at where the surgery was done after the procedure.

Damage to Heart Tissue: Open heart surgery carries a risk of damage in the heart tissue. This is usually caused due to the stopping of blood supply during the operation procedure when the function of the heart is manually ceased.

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Blood Clot: There may be a risk of blood clots to occur. It may form around the heart, which may have the capability to travel through the blood vessels in the blood stream.

Stroke: The patient is at a risk of having a stroke when the blood stream has clots present in it. Careful observation of the patient by the hospital staff is essential.

Abnormal Heart Beat: Sometimes in rare cases, the patient may have a risk of abnormal heart beat and rhythm. For cases like this, pacemakers may be required to be installed.

Emergency Surgeries: Sometimes, in case of severe problems there may be a requirement of undergoing another emergency surgery to correct such heart problems.

Cardiac Tamponade: One of the rare risks of open heart surgery is a condition called cardiac tamponade. In this condition, the sac which surrounds the heart gets filled with blood making it difficult for the heart to function properly.

What are the Methods of After-Care for an Open Heart Surgery?

It is important to take care of the patient once the surgery is done. Few methods include-

Incision Care: One of the important things to keep in mind once the open heart surgery patient is discharged is the incision care. The surgery site should be taken care of properly. In case of any signs of infection like redness or puss formation, it should be informed to the doctor immediately.

Rest and Sleep: It is important to get ample sleep. This helps in healing of the open heart surgery site. The patient should lie down in such a way so that muscular strain in any form is avoided.

Rehab: The patient may have to take part in a comprehensive rehabilitation program as a part of the recovery process. Such programs help the open heart surgery patient avoid risk factors and fight anxiety and stress. It also teaches the patient about exercises that facilitate the healing process.

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Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: February 2, 2019

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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