Your chest starts to tighten; it's hard to breathe. You feel your heart racing, and suddenly you feel nauseous and faint. You could be having a mild stroke or a heart attack and rush to the ER.
Heart attacks result from coronary artery disease. This is a condition where fatty plaque clogs your heart arteries and restricts the blood flow to your heart.
Many people who suffer from clogged arteries and heart attacks should be under the care of cardiologists and surgeons. These doctors may perform heart surgery procedures to de-clog the arteries and restore normal blood flow.
If you are at high risk of blocked arteries, you should know what could happen when doctors decide it is best to perform heart surgery to help. Remember, heart surgery does not treat coronary artery disease. It only widens your blocked arteries to help reduce your risk of life-threatening conditions such as heart attack.
Angioplasty is not major heart surgery. It is a minimally-invasive heart procedure where your doctor inserts a catheter through a blood vessel leading to your heart. This is then used to de-clog your artery and widen it by inflating a balloon through the artery wall.
You can be awake during angioplasty and your doctor does not need to cut you up and see your heart. After angioplasty, you may need to stay in the hospital for two days and recover at home for one week.
A bypass is major heart surgery. This procedure requires a team of heart surgeons, cardiologists, nurses and cardiac rehabilitation specialists. The surgeon makes a cut through your chest and identifies the clogged arteries in your heart.
The heart surgeons get a healthy artery from your chest or your arms and legs and sew this on top of the clogged artery. This bypasses the clogged artery and restores the flow of blood.
The bypass heart surgery usually lasts up to 6 hours. After the surgery, you will move to the ICU and then to the recovery room. You may need to stay in the hospital for 4-6 days and continue with cardiac rehabilitation when you get home.
For both angioplasty and bypass heart surgery, you need to watch out for signs of infection, bleeding and chest pain. Alert your cardiologist at once if you notice these to prevent further complications.
Heart surgeons and cardiologists can only prevent further damage to your heart. They can use various treatments such as bypass heart surgery and angioplasty to help avoid more damage. Ultimately, your heart health will depend on how you take care of your heart. If you are smoking, quit.
If your diet is fatty and salty, watch what you eat. Exercise regularly and eat more fresh fruits and vegetables. None of the heart surgery and procedures will be necessary if you take care of your heart.