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Cardiac surgery 

Cardiac surgery
Chapter:
Cardiac surgery
Author(s):
DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199651344.003.0009
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date: 04 June 2020

The most common cardiac surgical procedures in the UK are coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG), with over 25 000 operations performed each year and heart valve surgery with approximately 8000 heart-valve operations each year. Other surgical procedures that nurses may come across include surgery for AF, cardiomyopathy, and congenital heart defects. The principles of care for these operations are similar, so they will be discussed at the same time; where there are differences, these will be clarified. In the UK, CABG has been performed for more than 40 years. During this time, some techniques have changed and now minimally invasive surgery and ‘off-pump’ surgery is more common. Changes in techniques for valve repair or replacement have meant that those previously at high risk for open heart valve replacement now have other options open to them. While length of stay for routine surgery has decreased, 25% of patients having CABG are over 75 years and are likely to have more severe cardiac disease and other comorbidities, which can lead to increased length of stay, with potential problems. The aim of this chapter is to discuss the care of patients who require cardiac surgery, from placement on the waiting list to discharge. Although this involves the whole healthcare team, the focus of the chapter will be on the role of the nurse. In many centres roles that were traditionally performed by doctors may now be done by either specialist nurses or surgical care practitioners (who may or may not be nurses).

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