Published : April 29, 2024

What is Open Heart Surgery? A Detailed Guide about Open Heart Surgery Types, Procedures, Risks & Benefits

What Is Open Heart Surgery?

Open heart surgery means it is a procedure in which the doctor treats heart problems and requires opening the chest wall to make the heart easier for the surgeon to reach. To access the heart, surgeons can cut through the sternum and spread the ribs. Thus, we will examine the procedure, types of open heart surgeries and its various elements.
Types of Open Heart Surgeries

If you are going through any heart-related problems it is important to know about “what is open heart surgery and its various types. Let’s discover the various types of open heart surgery:

Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting (CABG)

During the CABG surgery, the surgeon will take a healthy artery or vein from a different part of your body. Further, the doctor will connect the artery to supply blood past the blocked coronary artery. The vein bypasses your blocked portion and creates a new path for blood to flow to the heart muscle.

Heart Valve Repair

During heart valve surgery, the heart specialist will repair the valve and replace it with an artificial valve made from pig or human heart tissues. In this procedure, one repair portion is to insert a catheter through a large blood vessel and guide it to the heart.

Heart Transplant

During the heart transplant, the doctor will remove the diseased heart and replace it with a healthy heart from a donor.

When is Open-Heart Surgery Needed?

You need open heart surgery to treat various heart-related conditions such as coronary artery disease, heart valve disease and congenital heart defects. If you notice any symptoms then get in touch with the doctor. Further, if you wonder what is the cost of open heart surgery, then your health consultant can help you get more insights.

How is Open-Heart Surgery Performed?

The doctor will offer you anaesthesia to put on to sleep and will make an incision in the chest. During that time the heart is temporarily stopped and a heart-lung bypass machine takes over its function.

Later on, the surgeon will perform the necessary repairs on the heart and the heart is restarted and the chest incision is closed.

What are the Risks of Open-Heart Surgery?

As much as open-heart surgery has a success rate, it also has some associated risks.

If you are a diabetes patient you may encounter certain risks and complications. In addition, your health concerns increase if you have lung-related health problems. Further, the people who smoke are more prone to surgical and post-surgical issues.

Other associated risk of open heart surgery include:

  • Bleeding
  • Arrhythmias
  • Allergic Reaction
  • Blood Clot
  • Bleeding

How to Prepare for Open-Heart Surgery?

During your treatment, the doctor will recommend certain instructions to follow before your open heart surgery. Make sure you stop taking certain medicines for a week or two before the surgery (as instructed by a doctor). Taking certain medicines may cause blood clots and strokes. These medicines increase your risk of bleeding.

Your doctor will ask you to fast before your surgery, as you will be given anaesthesia and it is safer on an empty stomach.

You are required to stop drinking and smoking as both can slow postsurgical healing. You will notice it increases the risk of complications. The heart specialist may ask you to wash yourself with a special soap. The soap will lessen your chance of getting any infection after surgery. You will also receive some medications from the doctor to suppress your pain.

What Happens after Open-Heart Surgery?

After your surgery is done, depending on your condition, you may stay in the hospital for a day or longer. Once you get normal, you will be moved to a regular hospital room. However, you can expect that you may have to stay several days in the hospital.

The doctor will explain how to care for your incision, and you may be suggested a firm pillow to protect your chest. In some cases, you could encounter, constipation, depression, insomnia, loss of appetite, and memory problems.

You may spend your first night in the ICU (intensive care unit). In addition, you will be given special care if your heart becomes sensitive.

What to Expect from Open Heart Surgery

When you are getting ready for your surgery, your doctor will keep a close look at your health. Your health will be monitored by several devices. Immediately after your surgery is done, you will be taken to one of the ICUs for close observation.

You will receive attentive care which will help you recover safely and quickly. Your stay may last for several days. However, it depends on your health condition. You can expect your initial recovery from surgery for at least six to seven weeks.

The doctor will suggest certain medications to help you on your road to recovery. You may wonder if is open heart surgery safe. The safety and successive rate depend on multiple factors.


Open heart surgery is a critical procedure and it treats your various heart conditions. It involves careful preparation and post-operative care. Lastly, if you have further questions or concerns make sure to discuss them with Dr Chetan Rathi, your reliable health consultant for all heart-related issues.

FAQ’s on Open Heart Surgery

How Should I Prepare for Open-Heart Surgery?

When you are preparing for open heart surgery, follow your doctor’s instructions and make sure to quit smoking and avoid alcohol.

What Happens before Open-Heart Surgery?

Before your open heart surgery you will go through several tests such as blood tests, imaging scans and coronary angiogram.

What Happens During Open-Heart Surgery?

You will receive anaesthesia and the doctor will open your chest to repair damaged heart valves and arteries.

Are There Alternatives to Standard Open-Heart Surgery?

There are two alternatives to standard open heart surgery such as transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) and robotic-assisted surgery.

When Should I Call the Doctor?

If you notice any symptoms related to chest pain then you should get in touch with the doctor.