How Long Does Open Heart Surgery Take


Open Heart Surgery

Open heart surgery is a complicated procedure utilized to treat a variety of heart issues, such as coronary artery disease, heart valve disease, heart failure, and congenital heart problems.

In this article, I’ll explain what heart surgery is, the procedure, what is performed during open-heart surgeries, how long it takes for heart surgery, and what to anticipate during recovery.


What is Open heart surgery

Open heart is an operation that can be used to treat heart conditions. It involves opening the chest wall, making the heart easier for the surgeon to access.

In order to gain access to the heart organ, surgeons slice the sternum (breastbone) and then spread the ribs. This procedure is often referred to as “cracking the chest”.

How Long Does Open Heart Surgery Take

Open heart surgery typically takes between three and six hours, depending on the extent of the procedure. The procedure requires general anesthesia.

The surgeon performs a 6- or 8-inch incision along the midline of your chest. Then, the surgeon cuts the breastbone and spreads the ribcage in order to reach the heart.

The steps of the surgery vary based on the health of the patient and the procedure, which includes coronary bypass grafting (CABG), heart transplants, and valve replacements.

After surgery, the patient is required to remain in the hospital for between 6 and 8 days, which will be easy for a couple of weeks.

The time to recover varies from patient to patient; however, it could take anywhere from six to twelve weeks (and sometimes more) to heal from an open heart procedure.

What Procedures Take Place During Open heart surgery

Open-heart surgeries can include coronary bypass grafting (CABG) as well as heart transplants and valve replacements.CABG is among the most well-known kinds of heart operations.

In CABG, a surgeon takes an artery or vein that is healthy from a different part of your body and connects it to bring blood flow over the blocked coronary artery.

The artery or vein that is grafted is able to bypass the blockage of the coronary artery and create an alternative route that allows blood to flow toward the cardiac muscle.

In most cases, this is done for multiple coronary arteries in the same procedure.

What to Expect During Recovery

Following Open heart surgery, you’ll need to remain in the medical facility for 6–8 days. During this time, you will be monitored closely to make sure that your heart functions well.

Additionally, you will be provided with medications to ease discomfort and prevent infections.

When you leave the hospital, you’ll be advised to rest for several weeks and avoid any strenuous activity. Additionally, you will need to keep up with your physician to assess your healing.

Open heart surgery Risks

As with all surgeries, open heart surgery comes with risks.

The potential complications of open-heart surgeries include bleeding and infection at the surgical location, irregular cardiac rhythms, kidney issues, or death.

But the chance of complications is typically very low, and most patients who undergo heart surgery experience an excellent outcome.

Minimally Invasive Heart Surgery

Although the standard “open-heart” procedure is still widely used and preferred in a number of instances, more minimally invasive methods are being developed to clear the blocked coronary arteries.

“Off-pump” procedures, in which the heart doesn’t need to be stopped, were first developed in the 1990s.

Other procedures that are minimally invasive include keyhole surgery (done by making very small cuts) as well as robotic surgeries (done using an electronic device that moves).


Open heart surgery can be a difficult procedure used to treat various heart ailments.

The length of time that heart surgery can take depends on the condition of your heart and the procedure, however, the standard time range is anywhere between three and six hours.

After the procedure, you’ll be in the hospital for 6–8 days and rest for a couple of weeks.

Although heart surgery is not without risk, the chance of complications is typically very low, and the majority of patients who undergo surgery for a heart are successful.

How Long Does Open Heart Surgery Take – FAQs

How long does open heart surgery usually last?

Open heart surgery typically takes around 3 to 6 hours.

Is heart surgery a common procedure?

Yes, it’s commonly performed for various heart conditions.

Is heart surgery performed on an outpatient basis?

No, heart surgery requires a hospital stay.

What types of heart conditions require heart surgery?

It’s often used for coronary artery bypass or valve repair/replacement.

Is general anesthesia used during heart surgery?

Yes, you’ll be asleep under general anesthesia during the procedure.

How long is the recovery period after heart surgery?

Full recovery can take 6 to 12 weeks, but you’ll improve gradually.

Can I drive after heart surgery?

Wait until cleared by your doctor, usually after a few weeks.

When can I return to work after heart surgery?

Depending on the type of work, it may take several weeks to a few months.

Can I resume exercise after heart surgery?

Start with light activities and gradually progress as advised.

Are there dietary restrictions after heart surgery?

Follow your doctor’s guidance for a heart-healthy diet.

Will I have a scar after heart surgery?

Yes, there will be a scar, usually along the chest.

How soon can I shower after heart surgery?

You can typically shower a few days after surgery, following your doctor’s instructions.

Are there potential complications during or after surgery?

While rare, complications can occur; your medical team monitors closely.

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