Heart defect repair is surgery to fix a heart problem that prevents blood from flowing normally through the heart. The doctor will make a large cut (incision) in your chest. The incision usually is made through the breastbone (sternum). But some types of heart defects are repaired through an incision in the side of the chest between the ribs. The doctor will connect you to a machine that does the jobs of your heart and lungs (heart-lung bypass machine). This machine will allow the doctor to stop your heartbeat while he or she works on your heart.
After the heart is repaired, the doctor will restart your heartbeat and disconnect the heart-lung machine. Then the doctor will use stitches or staples to close the incision in your chest.
Some heart defects can be repaired with one surgery. But it is possible that you may need more than one surgery to fix the defect.
You will probably spend about 5 days in the hospital.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Having surgery can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect and how to safely prepare for surgery.
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Current as of: September 21, 2016
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine & A. Evan Eyler, MD, MPH - Family Medicine, Psychiatry
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