Healing from Scaring After Heart Surgery

Heart surgery is a procedure that often leaves scars on the chest, sternum, back, abdomen. or other places in which an incision is made. Healing from these scars does not mean that the scars will disappear. However, they will become less pronounced over time, and there are secondary procedures which can be performed following the surgery to reduce or remove these scars. Furthermore, while some incisions are bound to leave major scars, there are a number of incisions that minimize scaring during heart surgery. What Scaring Will There Be? The type of scars that will develop after heart surgery depends upon a number of factors. Most important among these is the type of heart surgery being performed. Open-Heart Surgery is highly invasive and typically requires large incisions be made within the chest and sternum. Heart transplants, valve repairs or replacements, and a number of other procedures are often performed using open heart surgery. There are other forms surgery, which are similarly invasive but do not require cutting open the chest. One such surgery includes the repair of an aneurysm. An aneurysm occurs whenever there is a bulging blood vessel within the body. Thus, this type of “heart surgery” may occur in areas of the body far away from the heart. At the same time, some aneurysm repairs may be minimally invasive. Other forms of minimally invasive heart surgeries include: Certain forms of heart valve replacements or repairs Transmyocardial laser revascularization (TMR), which requires a small incision be made within the chest so that the heart muscle can be exposed to a high-energy laser. This relieves angina by helping the...

Recovering from Heart Surgery

Recovering from heart surgery can take anywhere from a few days to several months. The rate of recovery depends largely upon the type of surgery performed. While open heart surgery will require a longer recovery time, minimally invasive surgeries typically take a much shorter period. There are also other steps involved to ensure complete recovery. Following certain recommendations can also speed up recovery. Nonetheless, heart surgeries often require overall lifestyle changes. Steps to Ensure Complete Recovery Many people want to get out of the hospital as soon as possible after a surgery; however, a complete recovery can often be made much quicker within a hospital. Under the careful observation of medical practitioners, a person can be more able to ensure complete recovery. Whether a person chooses to recover at home or in a medical facility is an issue that the patient, family of the patient, and physician should discuss together. In either case, a personalized plan for recovery should be requested by the patient. If possible, the patient, his or her and family, and the physician will create a plan for recovery together. Can You Speed Up Recovery? There are certain steps that can be taken by all individuals to speed up their recovery after a surgery: Be patient with the healing process, and do not overexert yourself too quickly. This might mean pausing work, exercising less, or doing other things to allow the body the time it needs to heal. Eat a healthy diet. After heart surgery, a diet high in omega 3 fatty acids, CoQ10, folate, vitamin K, monounsaturated fats, magnesium, and other nutrients are recommended. These...

A Beginner’s Guide to Heart Anatomy

The heart is the symbol of love, affection, and intimacy for many. However, not everyone knows much about actual heart anatomy. What is the difference between a valve and a chamber? What are the major arteries and veins? If you don’t know the answers to these questions, then this is article is for you. Heart Chambers The heart is divided into four main parts called chambers. These four chambers are divided into two groups: The Atriums are located within the upper part of the heart. There is one is on the right side, and the other is on the left side. Oxygenated blood is pumped through the left atrium into the body. Once the blood has deposited oxygen to other parts of the body, it is pumped into the right atrium of the heart where it is recycled. The Ventricles are on the bottom of the heart and often considered its main chambers which collect blood from the left atrium and expels it toward the lungs. Heart Valves Blood flows through the heart in one direction from one chamber to the next through a series of valves. These valves consist of tissue that is about as thick as a piece of paper. Like the heart chambers, there are four heart valves between each of the chambers. Major Arteries and Veins Arteries bring oxygenated blood from the heart to the rest of the body. Veins, on the other hand, return deoxygenated blood to the heart. There are many major veins and arteries within the body. Several major arteries and veins include: The pulmonary artery which transports blood with low levels...

How Does a Low Sodium Dies Affect My Health?

Moving to a low sodium diet might help save your life. A high sodium diet is all-too-common with the prevalence of fast food restaurants and processed foods growing throughout the world. High sodium levels, however, pose many risks to the health of the heart. On the contrary, a low sodium diet reduces all of these risks and increases overall health. What is a Low Sodium Diet? A low sodium diet is exactly what it sounds like. It is a diet that includes low levels of sodium. To lower the level of sodium within a diet requires removing or minimizing the amount of foods that are high in sodium while replacing them with low sodium alternatives. Processed foods which are often found in cans or boxes are typically the highest sources of sodium. Food purchased at many restaurants, especially fast food restaurants, are also often high in sodium. As well, salt is extremely high in sodium. Reducing salt is one of the most effective methods of adhering to a low sodium diet, but there are many other ways to remove high levels of sodium from one’s diet. For example, nutrition labels let people know how much sodium is present per serving. Many restaurants also publish nutritional information which can be examined to determine what low-sodium dishes could be purchased in lieu of high sodium alternatives. Lastly, meats and dairy include much higher levels of sodium than fruits and vegetables. Reducing the amount of meat and dairy in one’s diet is one step toward lower sodium. Replacing them with fruits and veggies can also aid in creating a low sodium diet....

What Is a Pulse Deficit?

A pulse deficit is a condition which affects the relationship between the pulse and heart. It can be very dangerous if not treated properly, so understanding what a pulse deficit is important. This is especially true if heart conditions run in the family. There is no need to worry, however. Once you know the symptoms of pulse deficit, it’ll be much easier to treat it appropriately. And, fortunately, there are many treatments for pulse deficit that are easily available. What is a Pulse Deficit? When the heart beats blood through the body, it can be felt as a pulse. This pulse is caused by the vibrations of the blood moving through the arteries. Typically, the pulse rate is in synchronization with the heartbeat. This means that every time the heart beats, there is a pulse rate. However, there are times when the heart beats faster than the pulse rate. When there are fewer pulses than heartbeats, a pulse deficit develops. This sometimes referred to as “irregular heartbeat” or “atypical pulse rate”. Causes of a Pulse Deficit There are many reasons why a pulse deficit may develop including: Heightened states of anxiety Following a period of exercise or other physical activity Situations of extreme or chronic pain Heavy blood loss When the body is wounded Low blood pressure or hypotension Heart disease Heart failure Overactive thyroid gland It’s also important to consider which heart valve needs replacing. If the mitral valve (valve responsible for closing off the upper left chamber of the heart) requires a replacement, a mechanical heart valve is said to last until age 70. However, if it’s...

All About Mechanical Heart Valves

What is a Mechanical Heart Valve? A mechanical heart valve functions similarly to a tissue valve. Its purpose is to allow blood to flow through the heart by opening and closing with each heartbeat, just like a healthy heart valve. While tissue valves are made from animal tissue such as pig or cow, mechanical valves utilize materials such as pyrolytic carbon, titanium coated with pyrolytic carbon, Teflon, polyester, or dacron, depending on the specific valve and component of the valve. This makes mechanical heart valves more durable than tissue heart valves. Advantages of a Mechanical Heart Valve Because of their durability, mechanical heart valves are much longer lasting than tissue valves, which means you most likely won’t need a replacement further down the line. This isn’t the case with tissue valves, which typically need replacing after 10 to 18 years. It’s also important to consider which heart valve needs replacing. If the mitral valve (valve responsible for closing off the upper left chamber of the heart) requires a replacement, a mechanical heart valve is said to last until age 70. However, if it’s the aortic valve (valve that closes off the lower left heart chamber) that requires a replacement, mechanical heart valves are not as effective beyond age 55. Risks of a Mechanical Heart Valve One of the biggest risks of mechanical heart valves is the formation of blood clots on and around the valve. Sometimes, clots formed on the valve itself lead to the malfunctioning of the mechanical valve. Other times, these blood clots can break off and make their way to the brain, causing strokes. To prevent...