Heart valve disorders can affect any of the valves in your heart. Your heart valves have flaps that open and close with each heartbeat, allowing blood to flow through the heart’s upper and lower chambers and to the rest of your body. The upper chambers of the heart are the atria, and the lower chambers of the heart are the ventricles.
A heart transplant is a surgical procedure used to treat the most serious cases of heart disease. This is a treatment option for people who are in the end stages of heart failure. Medication, lifestyle changes, and less invasive procedures haven’t succeeded. People must meet specific criteria to be considered a candidate for the procedure.
According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) is the most common type of heart surgery done on adults. During this surgery, a healthy artery or vein is grafted (attached) to a blocked coronary artery. This allows the grafted artery to “bypass” the blocked artery and bring fresh blood to the heart.
Open-heart surgery is sometimes called traditional heart surgery. Today, many new heart procedures can be performed with only small incisions, not wide openings. Therefore, the term “open-heart surgery” can be misleading.
Open-heart surgery may be done to perform a CABG. A coronary artery bypass graft may be necessary for people with coronary heart disease.
Coronary heart disease occurs when the blood vessels that provide blood and oxygen to the heart muscle become narrow and hard. This is often called “hardening of the arteries.”
Hardening occurs when fatty material forms a plaque on the walls of the coronary arteries. This plaque narrows the arteries, making it difficult for blood to get through. When blood can’t flow properly to the heart, a heart attack may occur.
Open-heart surgery is also done to:
According to the National Institutes of Health, a CABG takes from three to six hours. It’s generally done following these basic steps:
Risks for open-heart surgery include:
According to the Heart and Vascular Center at the University of Chicago Medicine, the heart-lung bypass machine is associated with increased risks. These risks include stroke and neurological problems.
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