Before Minimally Invasive Heart Surgery

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.

Older man lying in hospital bed talking to health care provider. Another healthcare provider standing by bed. Preparing for Surgery

  • Tell your doctor what medications you’re taking, especially aspirin or an anticoagulant, sometimes called a “blood thinner.” Ask if you should stop taking them.

  • If you smoke, stop now to improve 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. It 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, which 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 due to anticoagulant therapy (if you had valve surgery)

  • Heart attack, stroke, or death

  • Problems with your heart’s rhythm, requiring medications or a pacemaker