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Heart Attack and Surgery

Read more about Surgery.

Overview

Surgery for heart attack may help restore and/or improve blood flow to the heart muscle, which helps the heart perform better. Possible devices and procedures that may be included in treatment after a heart attack include:

  • Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting (CABG): This procedure is performed to re-establish blood flow to the heart muscle by moving blood vessels from other parts of the body to the heart, providing a route around the obstructed coronary (heart) arteries. It is often recommended when there is a severe blockage in the main artery or obstructions in several arteries. (See coronary artery disease.)
  • Angioplasty: This is a procedure to open a blocked artery.
  • Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD): Patients with a history of heart attack and diminished pumping function are at increased risk for heart arrhythmias, including life-threatening ventricular fibrillation. Those patients may benefit from having an ICD device implanted in their chests.
  • Coronary Artery Brachytherapy: Radiation is sometimes used to open coronary arteries that have narrowed after stent placement.
  • Laser Revascularization: Transmyocardial laser revascularization (TMLR) is a technique that uses a laser to create small channels into a wall of heart muscle to allow new blood vessels to grow and ultimately improve blood flow.

Effect of Surgery on Heart Attack

All procedures for heart attack patients aim to help restore and/or improve blood flow to the heart muscle, which helps the heart perform better:

  • Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting (CABG) helps improve blood flow to the heart by bypassing obstructed coronary (heart) arteries.
  • Angioplasty helps improve blood flow by opening a blocked arteries.
  • An Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD) responds to the presence of an abnormal heart rhythm by delivering an electrical shock to jumpstart the heart and return it to a normal rhythm.
  • Coronary Artery Brachytherapy uses radiation to open coronary arteries that have narrowed after stent placement.
  • Laser Revascularization helps improve blood flow by creating small channels in a wall of heart muscle to allow new blood vessels to grow.

Side Effects and Warnings

Surgeries for congestive heart failure pose significant risks to the patient. See individual procedures for more information:

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