What Complaints Require An Open Heart Surgery?

It is essential to understand what open heart surgery is. Open heart surgery is an operation where the specialist cuts the breastbone and exposes the heart to perform surgery related to the muscles, valves, and the arteries of the heart. Coronary artery bypass is the standard open heart surgery performed among adults.

Open heart surgery is additionally known as traditional heart surgery. However, recent developments in the medical field are providing the opportunity for surgeons to utilize minimally invasive techniques that reduce the length of the incision and speed up the surgery. These techniques are also helpful in reducing the risks involved with open heart surgery. Furthermore, the patient sees a speedy recovery and stays for a shorter period in the hospital after the operation.

What Complaints Require An Open Heart Surgery?

Apart from a patient suffering from coronary heart disease, the following complaints also require open heart surgery:

  • Repairing or replacing heart valves
  • Repairing spoiled or abnormal regions of the heart
  • Placing medical devices that helps in improving the heartbeat

An open heart surgery requires the surgeon to make an incision to expose the heart. As stated above, the operation is helpful in curing blocked arteries, leaky valves, and other illnesses related to the heart.

It is not possible for the surgeon to proceed with the operation when the heart is beating. Therefore, they bypass the function by using a heart-lung machine that pumps oxygen-rich blood into the body. It is here that the heart stops its functionality, allowing the surgeon to carry out the necessary repairs.

After completing the operation, the surgeon stops using the heart-lung machine, closes the incision, and gives a shock to the heart to restart the same. The shock enables the heart to beat again and function regularly. Based on the procedure received, the heart functions in the usual manner by pumping blood continuously.

Risks Involved In An Open Heart Surgery

Risks involved in an open heart surgery include:

Preparing For The Operation

Depending on the signs encountered by the patient, the age, gender, undergoing treatments, and reports obtained from the diagnostic tests, the surgeon will choose the appropriate treatment and provide information related to the preparation for the surgery.

All the details provided to the doctor will help him/her in preparation for the surgery. For instance, if a patient uses blood-thinning medicines and possesses the habit of smoking/alcohol abuse, the doctor asks the patient to stop taking the medication and keep away from smoking and alcohol. It is crucial to talk about alcohol consumption, as one can experience alcohol withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms are life-threatening and pose a severe threat to the open heart surgery.

The instructions also include the use of a particular soap before the day of the surgery, which effectively kills the bacteria on the skin. It is crucial, as it helps in eradicating the chance of development of infection post-surgery. The surgeon will provide additional information upon arriving at the hospital on the day of the surgery.


Recovery requires at least six weeks of stay in the hospital. It is a crucial phase, and the surgeon refers the patient to the rehab team and a dietician. The rehabilitation program and the diet help in improving the condition after the surgery. The team also provides information that is useful in reducing the pain and obtaining enough sleep to enhance the immune system.

A surgeon does not take out the heart during an open heart surgery until it is the replacement of the heart itself with the donor’s heart.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:March 4, 2019

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