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Heart defect repair is surgery to repair a heart problem that prevents blood from flowing as it should through the heart. You will be asleep during the surgery. For an open-heart surgery, the doctor may make a large cut in your chest. The cut is called an incision. It usually is made through the breastbone (sternum). But some types of heart defects are repaired through a cut in the side of the chest between the ribs.
The doctor may connect you to a machine that does the jobs of your heart and lungs. It's called a heart-lung bypass machine. This machine lets the doctor stop your heartbeat while working on your heart. If this machine is used during surgery, the doctor will restart your heartbeat and stop the heart-lung machine after the defect is repaired. The doctor will disconnect the heart-lung machine. Then the doctor will use stitches or staples to close the incision in your chest.
You may stay in the hospital for a few days after surgery.
Some heart defects can be repaired with one surgery. But some people may need more than one surgery to repair the defect.
Surgery can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for surgery.
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Adaptation Date: 3/21/2022
Adapted By: Alberta Health Services
Adaptation Reviewed By: Alberta Health Services
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