What You Should Know About Heart Surgery

Heart surgery can be a life-saving treatment for many types of heart disease. Your physician will determine if heart surgery is right for you.

Your doctor will review your medical history and perform tests to gain a complete understanding of your heart’s condition. If necessary, open-heart surgery or minimally invasive surgery may be required.


Angioplasty, also known as percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), is a commonly used treatment for blocked coronary arteries. It can provide chest pain relief and lower the risk of experiencing heart attack or stroke.

Before beginning an angioplasty procedure, your doctor will perform an angiogram. They insert a catheter into an artery in your groin, arm or wrist and thread it towards the problem area. They inject special dye into the blood vessels to indicate where any blockages exist before taking an X-ray picture for confirmation.

Once they reach the blockage, your doctor will insert a tube with a balloon at its end through the catheter into the coronary artery that’s narrowed. When inflate, this pushes plaque against the wall of the artery and widens it, improving blood flow to your heart.

Your doctor will then insert a metal tube coated with medication to keep the artery open (drug-eluting stent). Stent placement is commonplace during most angioplasty procedures and helps keep the artery less likely to narrow again.

Coronary artery bypass graft (CABG)

CABG, also known as carotid artery bypass surgery (CABG), involves your surgeon taking a blood vessel from another part of your body (usually from your leg or arm) and redirecting it around blockages in the coronary arteries. This procedure can be performed on one or more arteries simultaneously for maximum benefit.

People with severe coronary artery disease (CAD) or heart problems that do not respond to other therapies may be suitable candidates for CABG surgery. This includes people with multiple narrowed coronary arteries or a severely blocked left main artery.

CABG surgery is a popular and reliable treatment for coronary artery disease (CAD). Not only does it reduce the risk of heart attacks and death from coronary artery disease, but it also allows you to lead a more active lifestyle while keeping your heart in better shape.

Mitral valve repair/replacement

The mitral valve, one of four valves in your heart, helps blood flow from your left atrium into the left ventricle and beyond to your body. If this valve doesn’t function properly, it places additional strain on other areas of the organ.

Sometimes, medical or surgical repairs to your mitral valve can resolve minor issues. However, if the damage is too severe, a replacement of the valve may be necessary.

Your doctor can assess the severity of the issue and whether to repair or replace your valve. Together, they’ll decide which option is best for you.

If your heart valve has a thickened or weak flap (leaflet) that allows blood to flow backward, surgery can be used to cut away parts of the leaflets for tighter seal and stitch in an annuloplasty ring to support the base of the mitral valve. This procedure usually involves minimally invasive techniques.

Heart transplant

Heart transplant surgery is a surgical procedure that replaces an unhealthy or damaged heart with one from an organ donor (the recipient). This may be necessary when the patient’s other health issues are worsening due to their heart’s condition.

A healthy heart is essential to good health and can prevent serious complications that could lead to death. For those with severe heart disease, a heart transplant may be the best option.

Before your doctor can decide if you are eligible for a heart transplant, they perform several tests and evaluations. These may include a physical exam, blood tests, and diagnostic testing.

If the screenings and evaluations indicate you are a suitable candidate for transplant, you will be placed on a waiting list. This list prioritizes patients based on their current health status, how long they have been on the waitlist, and the severity of their conditions.

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