Before Minimally Invasive Heart Surgery

Healthcare provider with electronic tablet talking to man in hospital bed.Minimally invasive heart surgery is done for a coronary bypass or heart valve surgery. It uses a smaller cut (incision) than open heart surgery. The day of your bypass or valve surgery, a patient educator or a nurse may talk with you and your loved ones. He or she can tell you what to expect. You’ll most likely feel a little nervous before surgery. The hospital staff will do all they can to answer your questions and help you relax.

Getting ready for surgery

  • Tell your doctor what medicines you’re taking. This is especially true if you take aspirin or a blood thinner (anticoagulant). Ask if you should stop taking them.

  • If you smoke, stop now. This will help your blood flow and breathing.

  • Don’t eat or drink anything after midnight the night before surgery.

  • The anesthesiologist is the doctor who gives you anesthesia. This medicine keeps you asleep and free of pain during surgery. He or she will talk to you about this before your surgery.

  • Any hair in an incision area may be removed. You may also be asked to wash with an antibacterial soap the morning of surgery.

  • If you are having valve surgery and need dental work, you may be told to have it done before surgery. This is because dental work can let bacteria enter the bloodstream. This may cause infection around a new valve.

Possible risks and complications

Risks and complications of minimally invasive heart surgery may include:

  • Lung complications

  • Severe bleeding

  • Infection

  • Nerve injury

  • Damage to bones and muscles

  • Problems because of anticoagulant therapy if you had valve surgery

  • Heart attack, stroke, or death

  • Problems with your heart’s rhythm. You may need to take medicines or have a pacemaker.

  • Damage to the arteries in the legs if the surgeon uses these during heart valve surgery

  • Surgery not able to be completed as planned and the need for a large incision