What are the postoperative issues with heart surgery?

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Many individuals suffer from heart attack on a yearly basis. Coronary artery disease or blockages in the arteries in the heart can cause heart attacks. A heart surgery will help reestablish the flow of blood to the muscles of the heart. Bypass surgery is needed when the individual has several areas of blockages or the coronary arteries are too small for the placement of stents. In most cases, surgeons utilize the internal mammary artery from the left side of the chest wall as well as the veins in the legs to avoid the obstructions to the organ. Just like with any operation, heart surgery has certain complications. The elderly, smokers and diabetics face a higher risk for complications.

Infection of the chest wall

The surgeon will create a large incision from the upper part of the breast bone to the bottom in order to access the heart. Right after the incision, the muscles attached to the sternum are cut and then the sternum is sliced in half lengthwise using a surgical saw.

Heart surgery
Coronary artery disease or blockages in the arteries in the heart can cause heart attacks. A heart surgery will help reestablish the flow of blood to the muscles of the heart.

After the exposure of the heart, the surgeon will release the left internal mammary artery from the chest wall to be used on the heart. Always bear in mind that the risk for infection is high when the flow of blood to chest wall is disrupted in this manner, especially among diabetics. Infection of the chest wall is considered rare but a life-threatening complication. Sometimes, if the infection does not react to long-standing antibiotics, the sternum should be removed.

Atrial fibrillation

The heart has an electrical conduction system that causes contraction. If heart surgery is carried out, it often causes trauma to this sensitive pathway. In most cases, the doctor will go through the right coronary arteries by hauling the heart up from the chest and positioning in an upside down manner. Take note that this movement can certainly impair the conduction system. Some individuals who had bypass surgery suffer from atrial fibrillation. This will lead to the chaotic contractions of the atrium and can be managed with medications. Always bear in mind that heart attacks can occur in some cases due to arrhythmias. As a life-threatening condition, you have to be prepared with what to do. All you have to do is to register for first aid training so that you are prepared.

Organ failure

The surgeon should stop the heart and drain blood in order to operate on it. Cardiopulmonary bypass machine is used in order to obtain a field free from blood. The surgeon will insert plastic tubing into the aorta and the right atrium to drain the blood from the individual to the machine.

The machine oxygenates the blood and returns it to the individual as the surgeon works. The machine also adds a solution to the blood particularly heparin which inhibits the formation of clots. This method will expose the red blood cells to trauma and triggers the inflammatory response which causes organ failure.

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