Types of Heart Surgeries
In the year 2005, doctors have performed around 280,000 bypass surgeries to route the new vessels around the blocked arteries and about 800,000 angioplasties to the open blocked arteries. Also, 100,000 Americans have had their heart valves surgically replaced or repaired. If your doctor suggest that you need an intervention to fix or protect your heart then you will have some pressing questions such as what type of procedure is the best choice for you and what are the risks associated with it.
It is a surgery done to remove a person’s diseased heart and replace it with a healthy heart from a deceased donor. Often this is done on patients with end-stage heart failure.
Heart Valve Repair or Replacement:
This heart surgery is done to fix the leaflets which do not open as wide as they should which happens if they become thick or stiff or fuse together. As a result, not enough blood flows through the valve. The surgery is also done to fix the leaflets which do not close tightly which can cause the blood to leak back into the heart chambers instead of moving forward into the arteries as it should. The surgeons will either repair the valve or replace it with a man-made or biological valve to fix these problems.
Transmyocardial Laser Revascularization:
TMR surgery is used to treat angina is when no other treatments work. If TMR is done alone, then it may be performed through a small opening in the chest. The surgeon uses lasers to make small channels through the heart muscle and into the heart’s lower chamber. Although it is not fully known how TMR relieves angina, the surgery may help the heart grow tiny new blood vessels. The oxygen-rich blood may flow through these vessels into the heart muscle which will relieve angina
Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting:
CABG is the most common type of heart surgery which improves the blood flow to the heart. It is the only treatment for severe coronary heart disease (CHD). During CABG, a healthy artery or vein from the body is connected or grafted to the blocked coronary artery. The grafted vein or artery bypasses the blocked portion of the coronary artery and creates a new path for the oxygen-rich blood to flow to the heart muscle. The surgeons may bypass multiple blocked coronary arteries during a single surgery.
Other types of heart surgery include the arrhythmia treatments, aneurysm repair and surgery to place the ventricular assist devices or the total artificial hearts.
Can surgery extend your life?
While the heart surgery cannot cure the heart disease, it relieves chest pain and helps you live longer. Patients with serious coronary artery disease undergoing bypass surgery are nearly 50% more likely to be alive in five years than the patients receiving the drug treatment alone. Angioplasties can also relieve chest pain but the results aren’t lasting since 40% of the patients undergoing it need a bypass surgery within a decade.
According to a recent overview of both procedures by the researchers at Stanford University School, the long-term survival following the two procedures is just about the same. The results for around 10,000 patients from 23 clinical trials in the United States and Europe showed 98.2% survival for the bypass surgery and 98.9% for angioplasty.
Risks versus benefits of bypass
If your life isn’t in immediate threat, you should take time to weigh the pros and cons of any approach. Though major surgery is always risky but a minor procedure may not give you the relief you want. Your surgeon should not be offended if you get a second or third opinion.
Luckily very few patients are facing such dilemmas. The number of bypasses performed each year has dropped by roughly a third in the past decade, and as per the surgeons the angioplasties will soon be on the decline too.
Medicines such as statins and the beta-blockers make it easier than ever to live with the heart disease. Patients are not likely to be in horrible pain as they used to be and often there is no need for angioplasty.