What is redo cardiac surgery?
Redo cardiac surgery is very common in patients who live longer as a result of an initial heart surgery. Redo heart surgery is required to repair a flaw in the reconstruction method or replace a degenerated or dysfunctional prosthetic heart valve. The surgery is normally performed for heart valve repair, bypass surgery, aneurysm repairs and prosthetic mitral valve endocarditis (inflammation of the inner heart layer due to an artificial cardiac valve).
Why is it done?
Redo cardiac surgery is needed when a patient who has had previous heart surgery lives longer as a result, requiring further surgery to maintain the results and effectiveness of their heart’s health. A redo heart operation can provide a longer life, less chest pain and more energy. Many heart conditions are progressive, and whilst initial heart surgery would have helped improve heart function and health, conditions can still progress.
What does it involve?
The surgery can be performed in three different ways. The first is as open surgery, where a long incision is made in the chest and sees the breastbone separated. The second is a minimally-invasive technique in which three or four small incisions are made in the chest. Finally, there is the percutaneous method, where the chest cavity is accessed through a needle puncture on the skin.
How do you prepare for redo cardiac surgery?
Like with any surgery you will have a period of fasting and possibly stopping certain medications before the operation. You will likely also be under general anaesthetic for redo cardiac surgery.
Aftercare would be the same as initial heart surgery. There will likely be a hospital stay of a few days, with monitoring. Once stable you can return home, slowly returning to normal activities over a period of a few weeks.
Alternatives to this treatment:
Redo cardiac surgery is usually required to avoid the possibility of heart attack or heart failure, but there may be different surgery options which will be discussed with your cardiologist.