The heart is the “powerhouse” of your circulatory system. 

Although, it is just a muscle but it is special because of its life-saving functions. For healthy living, your body needs healthy cells, and healthy cells need an uninterrupted supply of oxygen. To keep a sustaining oxygen supply, blood circulation is a necessity which is the function of the heart. Pumping blood throughout the body systems with every heartbeat is what makes the heart a vital organ.

Heart disease, a broad term that covers wide-ranging circulatory, valvular and cardiac issues, has become the leading cause of death on a global level. In certain cases, issues are resolved with lifestyle changes, nutritional shift, pharmacological or nonsurgical procedures. But, sometimes, surgery becomes the need of an hour to avoid future complications. Before discussing cardiac surgery, first, you should know the major structural details of the heart.

  • Atria – upper two chambers
  • Ventricles – lower two chambers
  • Four valves – mitral valve, tricuspid valve, aortic valve, and pulmonary valve

Cardiovascular/Cardiac surgery

If we start with the history of heart surgeries, it will take you back to Dr. Ludwig Rehn, who is known for performing the very first cardiac surgery which went successful. It includes all surgical procedures involving the arteries and valves, heart, and cardiac muscles to make your body work efficiently. A few of the major reasons why healthcare professionals recommend surgery are to treat or lower the chances of heart attacks, control arrhythmias, fix narrowed arteries, defective valves, and developmental or inherited disease.

CABG

The most common surgery preferred for heart issues due to its multiple advantages is CABG (Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting). It includes picking the healthy artery or vein from any body part and connecting it to the narrowed vessel to source blood past the damaged or plaque-build coronary artery.

Valve surgery

Defective valves either cause regurgitation that is, improper closing of valves resulting in backflow of blood, or stenosis that is, tightening of the valves limiting the blood flow.

Valve surgery is performed for Heart valve repair or replacement. Mostly, it is an open-heart operation. In repair, the damaged valve is fixed by inserting the catheter in any vessel having large diameter and high blood flow. The small balloon is inflated and deflated at the catheter tip broadening the valve to keep the normal flow. Whereas the other option of replacement is the replacing of a damaged valve with a prosthetic or a biological valve, either made of human heart tissue or any mammal. The artificial valve can be sewn through minimally invasive surgery, as well.

Aortic surgery

In case of having a medical diagnosis of the enlarged aorta (aneurysm), or punctured aortic valves, Aortic surgery is performed. It is done to recover the heart blood flow through aortic valve repairing or replacement. Other options are resizing aortic vessels with inflatable balloons, or removing the diseased part of the aorta.

Minimally invasive surgery 

Minimally invasive surgery, also known as keyhole surgery, is the future of medicine and surgical procedures. Smaller incisions are made as an alternative to a large cut-opening offering faster recovery with lesser pain. Through a tiny opening, a thin tube with a light and a lens is inserted offering an improved view of the heart and organs. It is performed through four procedures:

  1. Laparoscopy
  2. Endoscopy
  3. Percutaneous surgery
  4. Robot-assisted surgery

Why prefer Minimally invasive surgery

  • Lesser blood loss
  • Minimal hospital stay
  • Reduced surgery duration
  • The lesser intensity of pain
  • Minimal scarring 
  • Slight risk of wound infection

Overview of the latest Minimally invasive surgeries

Transcatheter structural heart surgery – A operation especially catered to cure heart structural issues, no matter if developmental or inherited. Its endoscopic tube can be accessed through the groin, thigh, abdomen, chest, neck, and collar bone.

Endovascular surgery – A procedure of inserting stent implants within the aortic lumen to sidetrack blood flow.

Coronary angioplasty – A technique of placing a stent or a deflated balloon (later inflated to a fixed size) inside obstructed vessels to widen their narrowed lumen.

Recovery time

One of the major advantages of choosing minimally invasive surgery is quicker recovery time. Where traditional surgery can take 6-12 weeks for a full recovery. Minimally invasive surgery is capable of minimizing recovery time in half as a maximum of 4-6 weeks.