Cardiothoracic surgeries are demanding but rewarding at the same time.
If you or a loved one is dealing with heart disease, chances are you’ve already heard about a cardiothoracic surgeon or might have even met one.
These surgeons perform open surgeries of the heart and other organs in the chest area. They work with other medical professionals to monitor and treat patients.
What’s the difference between a cardiologist, pulmonologist, and cardiothoracic surgeon?
Your doctor may recommend that you see a cardiothoracic surgeon or heart surgery specialist if they deem that you need specialised care.
A cardiologist and pulmonologist are different from a heart surgeon doctor, but they’re all focused on organs in the chest area.
A cardiologist can diagnose illnesses that involve the heart and recommend a treatment plan with the help of prescriptions. They do not perform open surgery, but they do conduct a full evaluation before it.
A pulmonologist, on the other hand, can assist you with concerns related to your lungs and also help you be on your way to recovery through medication.
However, similar to a cardiologist, they also don’t perform open surgeries. These physicians all perform crucial roles in restoring the health of their patients. Depending on your diagnosis, you may or may not need to see a heart surgery.
If you’ve undergone heart surgery, your cardiothoracic surgeon may also refer you back to a cardiologist for long-term care. But in some cases, you may need to follow up with both of them.
What are the risks involved in heart surgeries?
All surgeries have associated risks. Choose your medical team carefully, and understand potential risks and complications (which include the following) before undergoing any heart surgery.
- Bleeding or infection
- Adverse reaction to anesthesia
- Heart attack
- Blood clots
- Brain damage
Heart surgeries are major procedures, but they’re relatively safe. A successful operation can strengthen and fix defects on heart muscles and also promote proper heart function.
Recovering after a heart surgery
Regaining strength after a heart procedure can be a different journey for every individual. Depending on the type of operation, your recovery may be shorter or longer.
Your heart surgery specialist creates a long incision on your chest, which can take time to heal. It’s normal to feel tired, so you need to rest and take a break from physical activities. Staying at home and avoiding heavy lifting and pushing are also advised.
It also helps to monitor your incision for any abnormalities, such as swelling or continued redness. If, at any point, you experience a high fever, increasing pain, unusually low or high blood pressure, or excessive weight gain, contact your physician immediately.
You may need to have your prescriptions adjusted or work with another specialist, such as a physical therapist, to assist you with your recovery.
Booking consultations with a cardiothoracic surgeon
It’s understandable to feel scared or anxious about receiving heart treatments. But as much as possible, don’t delay seeing a cardiologist or your physician.
Secure a proper diagnosis, understand your condition, and know more about the next steps you can take to improve your health.
Remember that you’ll be referred to a heart surgeon specialist only if your medical team sees it necessary.