I remember watching an episode of MASH where BJ was telling a reporter who came to report on the war that a particular patient was in a dangerous place to be because the wound was close to the heart and that anything close to the heart is risky. Well, if close to the heart is risky, then actual heart surgery has to be tops on the list of risky procedures. After all, the heart is basically what keeps us all alive. So, if you're contemplating having heart surgery, there are a few risks that you should be aware of.
Before going over the risks, so as not to burden you with unnecessary fears, many forms of heart surgery, including what's probably the most common form of heart surgery today, bypass surgery, has been performed for over 30 years now. The surgeons trained in these procedures are very knowledgeable and they literally have this down to a science. Many surgeries go down with few complications, and some with none at all. However, there are risks that you should be aware of.
The patients who are at greatest risk for having heart surgery are those that are over the age of 70. This has nothing more to do with just the fact that as we get older, our bodies do not rebound as quickly from shocks to its system, and surgery is most definitely a shock, regardless of what the surgery is. So the older you are, the more risk there is of developing complications.
Others at risk are women and those who have had previous heart surgery. Also, those who have another serious medical condition, such as if they are diabetic, are also at greater risk of developing complications during or after heart surgery.
The actual complications vary in both what they are and the frequency in which they occur. In about 5% of heart surgeries, the patient will have a heart attack. Again, most of these are your older patients and those with other problems or those that fall in the high risk categories. In another 5% of surgeries, the patient may suffer a stroke. This risk is greatest for patients over 70. In some cases, blood clots may form. The good news is, that in only 1 to 2% of the cases does death occur, which means that there are no real serious complications in about 98% of the surgeries that take place.
In about 30% of the patients who have heart surgery, post surgical complications such as fever and chest pain occur. These however, are not serious and most of these patients go on to have full recoveries.
As I stated up top, heart surgery has come a long way over the years. The doctors are quite proficient in the procedures and very few patients have serious complications. Still, knowing the risks is important.
Hopefully, this article has adequately presented those risks to you.
To YOUR Health,
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