Open heart surgery

Open-heart surgery is a medical procedure to treat various heart defects. With the expansions of technology and techniques used in the operating room, the surgery is now more successful than ever before. Read on to learn more about the procedure, ways to increase survival rate, and getting an open heart surgery in Iran.

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Open Heart surgery in Iran

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How open heart surgery is done?

Open-heart surgery begins with putting you under general anesthesia. This is performed by an anesthesiologist who is a member of your medical team. The medical team also includes a surgeon, cardiologists, nurses, and therapists. 

An open-heart surgery involves cutting through the chest bone and operating the incision through a 6 to 8-inch incision. Basically, open-heart surgery is performed on-pump; meaning the surgeon operates while the heart has stopped beating. In this technique, a heart-lung bypass machine is responsible for adding oxygen to the blood, keeping the blood warm and moving. The medical team will do its best to ensure blood loss is as limited as possible. However, many cases might need a blood transfusion during and after the surgery.

The most common type of open-heart surgery is coronary artery bypass grafting or CABG. The method involves grafting a healthy artery; usually from the legs or the arms. This healthy artery can be attached to the hard and narrow vein. As a result, fresh blood can bypass the block and reach the heart with more ease.

When the procedure is over, the surgeon will close the incision. The breast bone is usually closed using wires. For closing the original tissue, sutures or stitches are used.

After the open heart surgery, you will wake up with several tubes in your chest, intravenous lines in your arm, thin tubes in your bladder, and tubes that attach you to machines monitoring your heart. 

After a few nights in the ICU, you will be moved to regular rooms. Your hospital stay could vary between 3 to 7 days. 

How long does open heart surgery take? 

Some sources state that the CABG surgery takes about 3 to 6 hours; however, the length of the surgery varies depending on the type of the procedure and the specifications the individual might require.

If you are planning on receiving open-heart surgery in Iran, you should request a leave of absence for at least a month. Most of this time will be allocated to hospital stay which includes both the nights prior to the surgery and after the surgery.

What is the open heart surgery survival rate?

With the constant development of technology, the heart surgery survival rate is on the rise. According to a study even in patients with 70 years of age or older, the 5-year survival rate is 85%. As of 2015, the survival rate increased up to 95% among patients who underwent coronary bypass surgery. 

Is Open-heart surgery necessary?

Your doctor might decide you need to undergo open heart surgery if you are diagnosed with a heart defect that can be treated by surgery. Open heart surgery can include any of the following treatments. 

  • Coronary artery bypass grafting
  • Replacing or repairing heart valves.
  • Repair areas of the heart that are damaged or abnormal (in the cases that the condition is severe)
  • Replacing a malfunctioning heart (heart transplantation)
  • implant medical devices to facilitate the function of the heart

A consultation session with medically experienced experts will help you make a sounder decision. You can have a free consultation with our consultants to find out if open-heart surgery is necessary for you. 

Can babies have open heart surgery?

Babies can suffer from various types of heart defect even before they are born. Open heart surgery on babies can be performed at any age. Some heart defects are more severe than the others and open-heart surgery for children can be operated in various methods; it usually depends on the degree of the condition. Basically, the procedure is quite similar to that of adults.

Precautions before the operation

Open-Heart surgery is a complicated surgery that requires serious precautions. The more you follow the pre-op instructions, the higher the success rates will be. 

  • Inform the doctor precisely about the types of drugs you are taking at the moment. Even over-the-counter medications, vitamins, food supplements, and herbal medicines should be mentioned.
  • The doctor should know if you are struggling with any type of illness. Herpes breakout, common cold, flu, or fever should not be taken for granted.
  • Most doctors will suggest you quit smoking for at least 2 weeks before and after the surgery.
  • You should also avoid blood-thinners including aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen.
  • Alcohol should be restricted as well. However, heavy drinkers should not put alcohol aside right before the surgery. People who have more than three drinks a day should consult their surgeon concerning stopping alcohol consumption. Quitting alcohol right before an open-heart surgery may lead to alcohol withdrawal syndrome and life-threatening complications after open-heart surgery.
  • One day before the surgery, wash your body with a certain soap. Doing so helps you decrease the chances of any potential infection.
  • Do not eat or drink anything after midnight before the surgery.
  • Since your movement will be restricted after the surgery, it is suggested to wear loose and comfortable clothing.
  • Feeling anxious before open heart surgery is totally normal. You can seek reassurance from your healthcare team.
  • The medical team might run some tests such as heart monitoring or taking blood samples on the day of the surgery.

Post operation Recovery Tips and aftercare

After open-heart surgery, it is important to follow the instructions religiously. Your doctor will give you some instructions to ensure higher survival rates. The instructions include tips to ease the pain and look after the incision area and stitches.

  • Keep the incision area clean and dry. Within a few days, you will be able to take a bath or shower; the doctor will let you know concerning the number of days you should wait before taking a shower.
  • You should use the pain medications proscribed by your doctor to ease the pain. It is normal to feel some discomfort, soreness, and itchiness around the incision area. The discomfort might increase around the area where the healthy vein was grafted from. The soreness will fade away over time.
  • If you are a woman who has undergone open-heart surgery, you should wear a bra that is both soft and non-underwired every day and night for a month after the surgery.
  • Try gentle exercises in the first 6 to 8 weeks after the surgery. You can start with normal household activities.
  • Although building up your activity is beneficial in the long run, you should be attentive as not to stand in one place longer than 15 minutes. Not lifting, pushing, or pulling things that weigh more than 10 pounds.
  • Walk on a daily basis.
  • Usually, you can drive within a month. But the doctor will let you know when is the appropriate time to sit behind a wheel.
  • Maintain a sufficient amount of sleep.

How much would open heart surgery cost in Iran?

Heart surgery is a costly surgery due to its complexity. It involves a whole medical team's attention and requires using high-tech equipment. Yet, like any other procedure, open-heart surgery is performed in Iran at an affordable price and a success rate and proficiency similar to those in developed countries. Given the cost of open-heart surgery in countries like New Zealand ($57000), the UK ($20000) or India ($16000), the cost of open-heart surgery in Iran is exceedingly cheap. In Iran, you can undergo open-heart surgery at approximately $10000.

Why Iran?

Undergoing surgery as complex as open-heart surgery abroad is not hassle-free. You should make sure the trip is worth the effort. Iranian cardiologists are remarkably proficient in carrying out surgeries. They believe in offering world-class medical service at an affordable price. When you choose Iran as your destination for receiving heart surgery, you can make sure you are saving money without cutting quality.

Risks and side effects

Open heart surgery is a procedure performed routinely. With techniques improving over the years, complications are more uncommon than ever before. Some side effects that might occur include: 

  • Wound infection
  • Pain
  • Blood clots
  • Anesthesia reaction
  • Memory loss or problems with concentrating
  • Irregular heartbeats
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Strokes
  • Brain injuries
  • Emotional side effects such as depression, anxiety, and stress

The likelihood of risks may increase if the person has a history of smoking or is over 70 years old.

To avoid infection, you should make sure you keep the incision area dry and clean. Signs of infection include increased drainage, redness and warmth around the incision and fever. 


Is open heart surgery safe?

Over the last 30 years, open-heart surgery has proven to be much safer than before. Today, less than 2% of people undergoing surgery might experience life-threatening complications such as stroke or brain injury.

Is open heart surgery painful?

During the surgery, you will be under general anesthesia, unconscious and asleep. After the procedure, it is normal to feel some pain or discomfort in your shoulders. It will get better within four to six weeks. You can control the pain using OTC pain killers.

Can open heart surgery cause cancer or depression?

Cancer is not considered as a possible side effect of heart surgery. Depression, however, is a potential complication of any surgery including open-heart surgery. Rehabilitation programs are sometimes offered by hospitals to mitigate this emotional effect of the procedure.

Can open heart surgery be done twice?

About one-third of open-heart surgeries are repeat procedures. Although the surgery is complex and might entail some risks, the overall outcome is usually successful. 

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