Types of Cardiac Surgeries
There are two basic types of cardiac or heart surgery performed on children at Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health. These are open and closed heart surgeries.
Closed Heart Surgery
During closed heart surgery, the surgeon works on structures outside the heart (such as arteries). Sometimes the surgery will completely repair the heart problem; other times it will only fix the heart problem until the child is old enough and strong enough to have the heart defect fixed more completely.
Examples of closed heart surgery include:
- Repair of coarctation of the aorta
- Placement of a Pulmonary Artery (PA) Band
- Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA) ligation
- Blalock-Taussig (BT) shunt
For closed heart surgery, the surgeon will usually make the incision or the opening on the side of the chest, and moves the ribs apart to reach the structures he will repair. This type of surgery does not require the use of cardiopulmonary by-pass.
Open Heart Surgery
Open heart surgery usually involves repairing or fixing structures located inside the heart. With this type of surgery, the incision is usually made in the center of the chest and the breastbone is opened to reach the structures the surgeon will work on. Open heart surgery involves placing the child on a heart-lung bypass machine or cardiopulmonary by-pass. This is also referred to as "a pump" during the operation. Special tubes called cannulae are placed in the arteries and the veins of the heart. Blue blood returning from the body to the heart is sent through the pump where it receives oxygen and then is returned to the body. The child's body temperature is cooled before the child is put on the pump. The child's temperature is lowered so that the cells of the body will need less oxygen and less blood flow during the operation.
Some examples of open heart surgeries include:
- Fixing a ventricular septal defect (VSD)
- An atrial septal defect (ASD)
- The arterial switch operation
- The Norwood operation
- Valve replacements
- Repair of AV canal
- Repair of Tetralogy of Fallot
- The Fontan operation
- The Ross procedure
There are many factors which influence or affect how long it will take your child to recover from surgery and how long he/she will be hospitalized. Some factors which influence recovery include your child's type of congenital heart defect (heart problem), type of surgery, your child's age, and how healthy he/she is before surgery.
Each child is different and they recover at different rates. The information presented in this web page is meant only as a guide. You will want to ask your doctor how long he expects your child to be hospitalized and how long it will take your child to recover from surgery.