Our Dedicated Nurse, Bev Barnes answered questions about heart surgery - before, after and during.
AXA PPP healthcare asked: Welcome to today's live chat on heart surgery with Bev Barnes.
Ruth asked: What types of heart disease are treated with surgery?
Bev Barnes, Dedicated Nurse answered: Dear Ruth, the types of heart disease treated with surgery are coronary artery disease, cardiac valve abnormalities, arrythmias and diseases of the heart muscle. Please feel free to ask specific questions about any concerns you might have
fiona asked: Hi, my grandfather has a pacemaker which needs replaced. I'm really worried about this but he seems unfussed, what does it involve?
Bev Barnes, Dedicated Nurse answered: Dear Fiona, Having a pacemaker can greatly improve the quality of life and for some people it can be life saving.
Most pacemakers are very reliable and comfortable. They're smaller than an average matchbox and weigh about 20 to 50 grams. A pacemaker sits just under the collar bone and will have one or more leads which are placed into the heart through a vein. The pacemaker battery has a life span which is checked regularly and within 3-6 years after the initial implant, will need to be replaced. This is a straight forward procedure and is used for people whos medication alone cannot control their heart arrythmias. Your granddad is likely not worried as he has been reassured by his specialist about the procedure.
Anonymous47 asked: What types of cardiac surgery procedures do patients undergo?
Bev Barnes, Dedicated Nurse answered: There are many kinds of cardiac surgical procedures from minimally invasive procedures to unblock the heart vessels to open heart surgery to replace the valves inside the heart structure. Have you any specific heart surgery you would like further advice on?
anon asked: after surgery is there any advice on what i should be eating to recover quickly?
Bev Barnes, Dedicated Nurse answered: The best post operative diet you can have is a well balanced nutritious diet that includes all of the food groups , lean proteins including fish, carbohydrates, preferably wholemeal, plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. And stay hydrated.
Sallyd asked: How long does it take to recover generally?
Bev Barnes, Dedicated Nurse answered: A simple heart procedure such as a angioplasty (open up blocked coronary arteries) the physical recovery will be approximately a week. If however you had a heart valve replaced, the physical recovery will be six to eight weeks. However please be aware that each person is different and the recovery time depends on the type of surgery they have and how well they were prior to surgery.
Lindsey asked: I heard that bypass surgery change a personality, is that true?
Bev Barnes, Dedicated Nurse answered: Dear Lindsey, a bypass surgical procedure involves replacing some of the small damaged blood vessels that supply the heart muscle by using some small veins from the patients leg. the operation is complicated and the patients are put on a heart bypass machine during the surgery. There is a quite a long post operative recovery period, and afterwards patients often reflect on the life style changes they may have to make. Although this is a recognised safe operation, many people feel they have faced their mortality. this can affect the way the person view their life moving forward.
Anonymous2 asked: As heart surgery is such a major operation, do you have any advice on how to prepare mentally for such a procedure?
Bev Barnes, Dedicated Nurse answered: Having a clear understanding of why you need surgery and what is involved will help you prepare for surgery. You can get more specific Information from very supportive web sites, for example The British Heart Foundation and NHS choices. Each individual is different and where some people can take surgery in the stride, others need more support and guidance. Hopefully this has answered your question. if you have any specific anxieties and need further information, Please feel free to ask if you are a member of AXA PPP to speak to the dedicated heart nurses on 0800 2182 303.
Heather asked: How long would it be to get back into any sort of physical routine after heart surgery? i.e. going back to the gym or vigorous exercise?
Bev Barnes, Dedicated Nurse answered: Dear Heather, post operative exercise guidance depends on the type of surgery you have had. You will be guided by your specialist and also the support of the local cardiac rehabillitation nurses. If you exercised regularly prior to surgery, please be assured that the majority of heart conditions following surgery after a period a post operative recovery, you can return gradually to a full exercise programme. the major exception to this is following implantable heart devices where contact sport is not advised