Open Heart Surgery


The most invasive procedure. If diet and exercise not effective in treating heart disease, medication usually prescribed. If still persists causing pain an invasive procedure usually performed. Several types to improve blood supply to heart. Coronary arteriography (mapping of coronary arteries) used to locate arterial blockages done using procedure called cardiac catheterisation. Thin plastic tube (catheter) guided through artery in arm or leg and leads it into the coronary arteries. Inject liquid dye into catheter. Visible on X-ray.


Percutancous Transluminal Coronary Angioplasty (PTCA) one option. Angioplasty or balloon angioplasty. Guide a catheter toward blocked area of artery. Second catheter with small balloon on tip passed through first catheter. When tip reaches blocked area, balloon inflated. Compresses the plaque build-up widening the artery for blood flow. Finally, balloon is deflated and removed. Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (CABG) takes healthy blood vessel. Construct a detour around blocked coronary artery. One end grafted (attached) right below blockage while other end grafted right above blockage. Blood flow restored. In double bypass surgery two grafts performed. In triple three grafts. Quadruple is four grafts.


Most radical is transplant of heart or part of heart. PatientŐs diseased heart removed and healthy donor heart attached. Complicated operation because so many blood vessels have to detached and re-attached. Patient is connected to a heart-lung machine that keeps blood circulating. Rejection is a problem. Tissue type must be a perfect match so not many such operations. Many patients donŐt survive the wait for a donor heart.