Surgical Procedures

Cardiac Surgery

Cardiac surgery is a surgery on the heart and/or great vessels performed by a cardiac surgeon. Frequently, it is done to treat complications of coronary artery disease (for example, coronary artery bypass grafting), correct congenital heart disease, or treat valvular heart disease caused by various causes including endocarditis.

Angiogram

  • How quickly can you get me an angiogram?

    Typically, we can get you surgery within 1-2 weeks from the time we receive your diagnostic package.  In certain cases, we can get a client surgery within 24 hours.  Call or e-mail us to get a accurate quote and timeline for your surgery.

  • What is a coronary angiogram?

    A coronary angiogram is a special X-ray in which a doctor inserts a thin flexible tube known as a catheter into an artery in your leg or arm. From there, the tube is gently threaded into your heart. Then, a dye is injected into the catheter allowing the doctor to see through a monitor, whether or not your coronary arteries are blocked.

  • Why do I need a coronary angiogram?

    If your doctor diagnoses you with coronary artery disease, and it is not responding to medication, he or she may order this test to see the degree of blockage in your arteries.

    Coronary artery disease occurs when the blood vessels that supply your heart become narrowed or blocked by fatty deposits known as plaque. This plaque narrows the arteries – and sometimes even blocks them – making it difficult for the blood to get through.

    Coronary artery disease can be difficult to diagnose because symptoms often develop only after the disease is at an advanced stage. The best-known risk factors for coronary artery disease are:

    -High blood pressure

    -Smoking

    -High cholesterol

    -Diabetes

    -Family history

    Symptoms of coronary artery disease are:

    -Tightness in the chest

    -Crushing chest pain

    -Shortness of breath

    -A feeling of fullness

    -Pain in the back

    (Women are more likely to have more subtle symptoms than men.) If you have experienced these symptoms, your doctor may have diagnosed you with angina, which simply means that your heart is not getting enough blood. If medication does not control your symptoms, a coronary angiogram is often the next step.

     

  • Why do I have to wait so long for a coronary angiogram?

    An angiogram is an expensive test and not available in all communities. As a result of rationing of care by the Canadian public health system, you may have a wait for others ahead of you in line, particularly if your case is not deemed “urgent.” Because we view all heart conditions as urgent, Timely Medical Alternatives can help you find a private clinic to expedite your diagnosis so you can get appropriate treatment as quickly as possible.

     

  • Why happens after the procedure?

    A nurse or doctor will apply direct pressure for 15 minutes or longer where the catheter was inserted to make sure there is no internal bleeding. Then you will be asked to lie quietly, likely for several hours. You will not be allowed to drive home, so be sure to have arranged a ride for yourself. Your doctor will discuss the results with you and indicate whether you are a good candidate for angioplasty. Your surgeon can also give you a better estimate of anticipated recovery time at the time of your consultation.

Angioplasty

  • How quickly can you get me angioplasty?

    Typically, we can get you surgery within 1-2 weeks from the time we receive your diagnostic package.  In certain cases, we can get a client surgery within 24 hours.  Call or e-mail us to get a accurate quote and timeline for your surgery.

  • What is an angioplasty?

    Following a diagnostic angiogram, your doctor may determine you would benefit from an angioplasty. In this procedure, the physician threads a thin plastic tube topped by a very small balloon into the artery in your heart that has been narrowed or blocked by coronary artery disease.

    Coronary artery disease occurs when the blood vessels that supply your heart becomes narrowed or blocked by fatty deposits known as plaque. This plaque narrows the arteries – and sometimes even blocks them – making it difficult for the blood to get through.

    The angioplasty balloon, when it is inflated, will clear small blockages. The doctor then deflates the balloon and removes it. Sometimes, however, this is not enough to keep the artery open, and, in those cases, the doctor will insert a vascular stent. This is a small wire mesh tube that is left in the artery permanently. The stent may also be coated with drugs that are aimed at preventing post-procedure infection.

  • Why do I need an angioplasty?

    You may be a good candidate for angioplasty if:

    -you suffer from angina (persistent chest pain)

    -your doctor has not been able to manage your symptoms with medication, and,

    -you have not been able to improve with lifestyle changes (losing weight, stopping smoking, getting exercise.)

    Angioplasty is a minimally invasive procedure that does not require a general anesthetic and has an excellent record of success in appropriate cases.

    Prior to angioplasty, you will require an angiogram to determine the nature and extent of the blockages in your coronary arteries. Short blockages that are close to the beginning of the artery respond best to angioplasty. Longer, more complicated blockages, however, may require coronary bypass surgery.

  • Why do I have to wait so long for an angioplasty?

    An angioplasty is an expensive procedure and not available in all communities. As a result of rationing of care by the Canadian public health system, you may have to wait for others ahead of you in line, unless your case is considered to be an “emergency.” At that point, your risk factors may have increased. Because we view all heart conditions as urgent, Timely Medical Alternatives can help you find a private hospital to expedite your treatment so you can get back to living a full life.

    If a stent (a tiny mesh tube that looks like a small spring) is being used, the doctor will remove the first catheter and insert new one with a closed stent surrounding a deflated balloon. He or she will position it where the artery was previously widened and inflate the balloon, expanding the stent. The doctor then deflates and removes the balloon, leaving the stent behind. The entire angioplasty procedure may be as brief as 30 minutes or may take up to two hours, depending on the complexity of your case.

  • What happens after the procedure?

    You may be required to stay in bed for up to 24 hours after your angioplasty. After you return home, you will likely be given instructions to limit your activities, not lift anything heavy for several weeks and to drink plenty of water to flush the dye out of your system. You may be prescribed aspirin or other drugs to thin your blood. In an appointment following the procedure, your doctor will likely perform tests to see how the blood is flowing through your treated artery.

    Your surgeon can give you a better estimate of anticipated recovery time at the time of your consultation.

     

Heart By-Pass Surgery

  • How quickly can you get me a heart by-pass?

    Typically, we can get you surgery within 1-2 weeks from the time we receive your diagnostic package.  In certain cases, we can get a client surgery within 24 hours.  Call or e-mail us to get a accurate quote and timeline for your surgery.

  • What is coronary bypass surgery?

    The most commonly performed major surgery in North America, coronary bypass surgery takes a piece of vein from the leg or chest and uses it to replace part of a heart artery that has been blocked or narrowed. The surgeon may need to perform a single, double, triple, quadruple or quintuple bypass. This simply refers to the number of coronary arteries bypassed (partly replaced) during the surgery. Note that having a greater number of bypasses does not imply a person is more sick, nor does a lesser number mean the person is more healthy.

  • Why do I need coronary bypass surgery?

    If your doctor has diagnosed you with coronary artery disease, and your disease has not be controlled by medication or lifestyle changes, and an angioplasty is not possible (or it succeeded but the artery has narrowed again), you may be a good candidate for coronary bypass surgery.

    Coronary artery disease occurs when the blood vessels that supply your heart become narrowed or blocked by fatty deposits known as plaque. This plaque narrows the arteries – and sometimes even blocks them – making it difficult for the blood to get through.

  • Why do I have to wait so long for coronary bypass surgery?

    Coronary bypass surgery requires a highly specialized medical team and is not available in all communities. As a result of rationing of care by the Canadian public health system, you may have to wait for others ahead of you in line, particularly if your case is not deemed “urgent.” This is a particular concern with coronary bypass surgery, because your risk of complications is significantly higher if the surgery is done on an emergency basis.

    Timely Medical Alternatives can help you find a private clinic to expedite your diagnosis so you can get your surgery before it becomes an emergency.

  • What happens after coronary bypass surgery?

    After your surgery, you’ll be taken to the intensive care unit for several hours to several days and carefully monitored. Your total hospital stay will likely be in the five to seven day range and your total recovery period will be somewhere between four and 12 weeks – depending on your overall health and the nature of your surgery. Your surgeon can give you a better estimate of anticipated recovery time at the time of your consultation.

    Your surgeon will likely recommend a cardiac rehabilitation program. It will also be important for you to make lifestyle changes such as stopping smoking, improving your diet and increasing exercise.