Open heart surgery is an operation to repair a fault or damage in the heart.

When is open-heart surgery needed?
Open-heart surgery, or traditional heart surgery, may be done to perform a coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) for people with coronary heart disease. 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 also performed for the following procedures:

• Repairing or replacing heart valves
• Repairing damaged or abnormal areas of the heart
• Implanting medical devices to help the heart beat properly

Undergoing Open-Heart Surgery

Once it has been decided that you need open-heart surgery, you will undergo a series of lab tests and procedures in preparation for the surgery. This often includes blood work, chest X-ray, electrocardiogram and pulmonary function testing.

In addition, you may also be asked to:

• Stop smoking
• Stop taking aspirin or other medications unless otherwise instructed by your doctor
• Stop eating or drinking by midnight the night before surgery

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