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How Do I Know If I Require Heart Surgery

How Do I Know If I Require Heart Surgery

Patients who need heart surgery are generally referred to an interventional cardiologist by their family doctor or clinical cardiologist. Based on an evaluation by a heart surgeon, you will be told whether an invasive procedure is necessary or not.   best-heart-doctor-nyc

This is definitely one way that you’ll know whether you need heart surgery or not, but it is generally the last step in the process rather than the first. To understand where the surgical process begins, you will need to back up by several months or even years, depending on your diagnosis.

Signs that may or may not point to Surgery

Patients with progressive conditions like coronary artery disease (CAD) or heart failure usually see heart surgery as an inevitability. This may be true, but that kind of intervention isn’t your only treatment option.

The road to surgery usually begins with trying other treatments first. No matter what your heart condition is, you are most likely looking at the same three treatments prior to surgery:

  • Medication
  • Therapeutic methods
  • Dietary and lifestyle changes

Different combinations of these modalities are used to treat various heart conditions.

For example, CAD responds very well to dietary changes, while the progression of heart failure can be slowed using circulation therapy. Neither of these approaches are invasive, and some patients aren’t eligible for surgical options, so they need alternative treatments.

When surgery isn’t Immediate

The standard surgical treatment for CAD is coronary bypass. The standard treatment for advanced heart failure is a transplant. Neither of these eventualities are immediate and neither of them is guaranteed.

Some patients are too weak or too high risk for heart surgery. In cases like this, stents or EECP can be used to open up blocked arteries and improved the circulation capabilities of the heart. Assistive devices like the L-VAD make it possible for patients to wait longer for a transplant match.

All that said, there are a few indicators to consider that don’t necessarily relate to your symptoms. For instance, your quality of life is an excellent indicator for taking invasive measures.

Ask yourself whether or not it would improve with surgery. Are there things you’re not able to do now, that you could do after surgery? Would surgery relieve the stress and discomfort you go through on a daily basis? If your answers to questions like these is yes, it’s probably time to talk to a surgeon.

Following the recovery protocol from start to finish will give you the best chance at a new lease on life after heart surgery; especially following a sudden heart attack.

Dr. Seldon, a Heart Doctor and Cardiologist in New York City, offers same day appointments and all testing is done on site.  Call us at (212) 367-8000.

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