Open heart surgery is a major procedure. Deciding where to have the procedure done is therefore a huge decision – one you can’t take lightly. When it comes down to it, what are the factors influencing your decision? Of course you want a facility with highly-skilled heart specialists, including a cardiothoracic surgeon and an array of advanced technologies. But what if you could get all of that and still be close to home?
Firelands Regional Medical Center can offer you this option. Our Complete Heart Center is the only hospital in the area providing open heart surgery – you can be treated here and recover here, all while being close to your family and friends.
Open heart surgery, which is the general term for a surgery that cuts open the chest to allow access to the heart, may include the following procedures:
Who conducts the open heart surgery? Open heart surgery is performed by a team of medical experts, including a cardiothoracic surgeon and other doctors and nurses.
How long will the surgery take? Depending on the condition being treated, open heart surgery can take anywhere from three to six hours, or longer.
What happens during open heart surgery? Once you are under anesthesia, the surgeon makes a 6 to 8 inch incision down the center of the chest and cuts through the bone below to open the rib cage.
A heart-lung bypass machine may be connected to the heart, taking over its pumping action. Medicines are used to stop the heartbeat, allowing the surgeon to operate on a heart that isn't pumping. After surgery, the heart is restarted with electricity, the chest bone is closed with wires, and the incision is stitched or stapled.
Open-heart surgery can also be done without the bypass machine. For an off-pump heart surgery, the surgeon uses a mechanical device to steady the heart, but the heart continues to beat and pump blood. According to the NHLBI, benefits of off-pump surgery may include less bleeding; a faster recovery; and a reduced risk of complications, such as stroke.
Are there any risks with open heart surgery? Yes. Risks are highest for people over age 70 or for those who have had a previous heart surgery. The NHLBI states open heart surgery risks include:
How long will it take to recover? The NHLBI states it could take three months or longer to fully recover from the procedure. After you have open heart surgery at Firelands and you go home, you can take comfort in the fact that you’re not far from your medical team as you recover.
When you choose Firelands for open heart surgery in Norwalk, Sandusky or surrounding areas, you don't have to travel far to receive the highest quality care. Learn more about what to expect before, during and after open heart surgery at Firelands.