Stroke and heart attack are two dreaded consequences of coronary artery disease (CAD). CAD happens when fatty plaques clog up your coronary arteries. Eating fatty and cholesterol-laden foods is one of the main reasons for fatty plaques to build up in your arteries.
Fatty plaques build up over time, so you may not experience symptoms until the build-up is higher 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 advise you on treatment options 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.
In a CABG heart surgery, your cardiac surgeon will use healthy blood vessels from another part of your body – the legs, arms or chest– to create new veins. This allows blood to flow back to your heart again, thereby “bypassing” the blocked artery. Cardiac surgeons can now perform a CABG heart surgery using only a 3-inch graft between your ribs, as oppose to the 8-inch graft they would otherwise perform near your breast bone.
Valve problems may occur in the heart if the valve is too narrow (stenotic) or incompetent (leaky). The valve may need to be replaced (valve replacement surgery). In some cases, the existing valve may need an operation to correct the need for a new valve (valve repair).
If you need valve replacement surgery, the existing valve is replaced with an artificial valve. This can be metal, plastic, or a biological 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 for recovery.
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.
A cardiologist may recommend any of these heart surgery procedures depending on factors such as your health, plaque build-up, your weight and age.
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 a close eye on your cholesterol intake will help you avoid clogged arteries and other complications. Watch what you eat and exercise to keep your heart healthy.