Empowering Patients: The Rise of Minimally Invasive Heart Surgery in Patient-Centered Care.

Empowering Patients: The Rise of Minimally Invasive Heart Surgery in Patient-Centered Care.

Traditionally, open heart surgery was quite a frightening affair. The surgeon had to cut very huge incisions to reveal the heart and it was generally a very frightening and complicated procedure that had many taking their chances against heart disease. But fast forward today and that’s all changing with the introduction of new age technology. This has made heart surgery a less complicated process which can sometimes be done even when the patient is still conscious or partly under anesthesia. Without further ado, let’s dissect just why this form of heart surgery is catching on and how it is helping to empower patients.

What is minimally invasive heart surgery?

In the past, open heart surgery involved massive incisions and surgeons typically had to cut through the breastbone and spread the ribs in order to reach the heart.

After surgery, surgeons may use cords and steel wires to reconstruct part of the damaged chest wall. It was definitely a scary process, and it often took countless hours, while patients took quite a number of weeks to recover.

With minimally invasive heart surgery, however, surgeons don’t need to necessarily crack open the chest. Instead, they may choose to make 2-inch, or thereabout, incisions in between the ribs without having to break any bones as opposed to making a large single cut across the chest.

That said, surgeons use this process to remedy a plethora of health issues, some of which may include:

  • Congenital heart disease
  • Cardiac tumors
  • Atrial septal defect
  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Coronary heart disease, etc.

How minimally invasive heart surgery empowers the patient

1.Patients may be able to supervise the process

While it is generally the case that you have to go under anesthesia for most surgical cardiac procedures, there is a new variation to the procedure that allows the patient to stay awake during the process. They only partially numb the chest area and surgeons proceed while the patient is still conscious. 

However, this is nothing new. In 2000, a 51-year-old male was conscious during his coronary artery bypass graft, making a huge milestone as one of the earliest cases of conscious heart surgery in the US. 

Commonly known as wideawake surgery, this allows the patient to be more actively involved in the process. They can monitor intricate details about the ongoings, and this can go a long way to improve their confidence in the process. What’s more, it can help to mitigate cases of surgeon misconduct. 

2. Faster recovery times

Naturally, the larger the cut, the longer it takes to heal. With minimally invasive heart surgery, however, patients can be back on their feet, quite literally, even just a few hours after the procedure. That’s because the small incisions take less time to heal, while there’s significantly lower tissue damage compared to the case of traditional heart surgery. 

The other reason why patients recover faster from minimally invasive heart procedures is also due to the elimination or partial use of anesthesia, which can have the following lasting side effects:   

  • Dizziness 
  • Aches and pains
  • Soreness
  • Headaches 
  • Itchiness and so on

With anesthesia out of the way, coupled with smaller incisions, patients can be back to their normal day-to-day routine in no time at all. 

3. Better quality of life 

This procedure can help to correct heart defects for the patient, and this may, first of all, help to reduce the progression of heart disease or even get rid of it altogether in the best-case scenario. 

Ultimately, this can lead to an increase in life expectancy, while the patient can gain contentment in the acknowledgment that the problem has been fixed. Besides increasing longevity, this can also have a positive mental effect, leading to both better emotional and physical well-being. 

What’s more, the correction of these heart problems may also help your patient regain some sense of normalcy. They may now be able to perform activities that they previously couldn’t, which empowers them to be more content with their lives.

4. Lower risk of complications

Medpark Hospital reports that 80% of the patients they encounter are low-risk heart patients, which makes them a prime candidate for minimally invasive heart surgery. It can be extremely beneficial in such cases as it shows great potential in helping physicians and patients find a more permanent fix. 

That said, since this procedure involves minimal disturbance of heart tissues and chest damage, it naturally means there’s less risk of developing surgery complications such as:

  • Profuse bleeding 
  • Stroke
  • Incision site inflammations 
  • Venous thromboembolism 

With a lower incision surface area to work with, there is also less risk of the patient developing problems at the site of the incision such as infections, swelling, and bleeding. 

5. More affordable treatment 

The cost of open heart surgery can easily rise to north of $200,000 depending on the complexity of the procedure and other unique factors at play. Traditionally, the prohibitive cost of this type of surgery has locked out many from being able to access the quality treatment that they need in time, with many paying the ultimate price. 

However, minimally invasive heart surgeries are changing all that, helping to lower the cost of the procedure by reducing the complexity of the process. As a result, there are decreased chances of extensive hospital stays, while this can also reduce the risk of readmissions (and their associated expenses) due to fewer complications. 

All in all, this type of procedure is helping to solve the monetary barrier, thereby financially empowering patients with lower monetary abilities to be able to get the treatment they need without having to break the bank. 


A new chapter in cardiac care blossoms

Minimally invasive heart surgery is helping to put patients in the driver’s seat of the care process. It gives them more say and visibility over the procedure, while it ensures that they spend less time in a hospital bed and more of their energy getting back to their normal life. From improving recovery rates to keeping them actively engaged in cardiac care, it’s not hard to see why minimally invasive heart surgery is becoming the standard of modern cardiac care. Be sure to subscribe to the Techindia blog for more game-changing insights into new cardiology trends.


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