Continuing advances in heart surgery and a prolonged life expectancy have increased both the frequency and the success rate of redo cardiac surgery. Despite its success, one needs to understand its unique challenges, if you or your loved one has been recommended a repeat surgery (second, third, fourth, or more heart operation).
- Age, co-morbidities: Compared to the time of the initial heart surgery, the patient is now older and maybe possibly dealing with multiple co-morbidities/cardiac problems. This makes the operation (re-do heart surgery) high-risk and challenging.
- Internal Scar Tissues: Web-like connections between the structure of the chest develop because of the previous surgery. This makes it quite challenging to safely re-enter the chest and perform the re-do surgery (without damaging parts of the heart).
What do you need to know before scheduling a re-do heart surgery?
- Choose a skilled surgeon: Re-do heart surgeries require extensive experience and precision as it is a complicated procedure carrying risks of profuse bleeding if any undue damage is done during the surgery. It is not as commonly performed as first-time heart surgery and requires expert skills.
- Choose a specialized center: It is seen that patients who have high-risk factors or who undergo a complex re-do heart surgery must do it at the best-specialized centers where the surgical and support team has a lot of experience. Also, the center should have multi-disciplinary experts to handle complications, if any.
If you or your loved one has been recommended a repeat cardiac surgery, take your decision wisely as the success of the surgery depends upon the skill sets and the experience of both the surgeon and the center.