Patients' Resources

Stroke and heart attack are two dreaded consequences of coronary artery disease (CAD), which occurs when fatty plaques clog up your coronary arteries. Eating fatty and cholesterol-laden foods is seen as the main reason for fatty plaques to build up in your arteries.

Because fatty plaques build up overtime, you may not experience symptoms until the plaque build-up is more than 70%. By then, you will experience chest pain, heart palpitations and shortness of breath; as well as dizziness, nausea and sweating. Worse, clogged arteries may result in stroke or heart attack.

Your cardiologist will be able to advise you of available heart surgery procedures to de-clog your arteries and reduce the risk of having a heart attack.

Below are three heart surgery procedures that will help repair your clogged arteries. These heart surgery procedures range from minimally invasive to invasive.

Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (CABG) Heart Surgery

In a CABG heart surgery, your cardiac surgeon will use healthy blood vessels from another part of your body–usually the legs, arms or chest– to create new routes for blood to flow back to your heart again, thereby “bypassing” the blocked artery. Owing to recent developments, cardiac surgeons can now perform a CABG heart surgery using only a 3-inch graft between your ribs, compared to the 8-inch graft they would otherwise perform near your breast bone.

Valve Replacement and Repair

Valve problems may occur in the heart if the valve is too narrow (stenotic) or incompetent (leaky). If severe, the valve may need to be replaced with a new valve (valve replacement surgery) or in some cases, the existing valve may be operated on and corrected without the need for a new valve (valve repair).

If valve replacement surgery is required, the existing valve is changed to an artificial valve which can be made of metal, plastic, or a biologic material made from animal or cadaveric tissue. Heart valve surgery is a major operation requiring at least 1 week’s stay in hospital and 6-8 weeks to fully recover.

Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation (TAVI)

TAVI is a minimal heart surgery procedure that replaces a damaged valve without removing it. Surgeons do this by creating a valve-within-valve. Your cardiologist may recommend a TAVI if he sees that you may not survive traditional valve replacement which is a more invasive heart surgery procedure.

How To Know Which Heart Surgery Procedure Is Best For You

A cardiologist may recommend any of these heart surgery procedures depending on factors such as your over-all health, the status of plaque build-up in your coronary artery, your weight and age among others.

As a patient, it helps for you to know that traditional invasive heart surgery procedures now have their minimally invasive counterparts. These minimally invasive heart surgery procedures allow you to have shorter hospital stay, faster recovery, smaller scarring, and reduced risk of infection.

Keeping your cholesterol intake in close watch will help you avoid having clogged arteries and all the complications that go with it. Watch what you eat and exercise regularly to keep your heart healthy.