Heart bypass surgery in Iran: all you need to know
Heart bypass surgery, also called coronary bypass, and medically known as coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) (pronounced Cabbage) is the most frequently performed open-heart surgery. By treating conditions related to blood vessels, heart bypass surgery can effectively relieve chest pain, stabilize irregular heartbeats, resolve shortness of breath and prevent conditions that can be a threat to your life.
What is heart bypass surgery?
Coronary bypass surgery is a procedure to go around or bypass the blockage that exists in an artery by rerouting the blood flow. The main purpose of the surgery is to redirect the blood around the area that is clogged or partially blocked due to plaque formation.
During the procedure, a healthy blood vessel taken from another area in the body is used as a graft. The graft is attached to the artery in a way that helps the blood flow detour the blockage. As a result, blood and the oxygen it carries can reach the heart muscle again.
For the patient, this means a lower risk of heart attack and a longer life expectancy. Among all the methods to treat blocked arteries, heart bypass surgery has the highest success rate and the longest survival rate.
Types of CABG
Coronary bypass graft can be categorized in different ways. Based on the number of damaged arteries that need to be repaired, there are three types of heart bypass surgeries:
Single, double, etc. artery bypass
The procedure is performed when there is one blocked artery that is hindering blood flow. In most cases, the cardiologist recommends coronary bypass for a single artery when less-invasive methods such as stent placement have proved to be unsuccessful.
When there is more than one damaged artery, the heart bypass surgery is called a double artery bypass (to repair two arteries), triple artery bypass (to repair three arteries), and quadruple bypass (to repair four arteries).
Since coronary bypass procedure is a type of open-heart surgery, it could be performed either on-pump or off-pump. The main difference between these two types of CABG is whether the surgeon uses a heart-lung (cardiopulmonary) machine or not.
On-pump coronary bypass
During the on-pump coronary bypass, the surgeon stops the heart for a short period of time. In the meantime, a heart-lung machine is used to take over the functions of your heart and lungs. As a result, the surgeon can easily operate on a still heart.
Off-pump coronary bypass
Sometimes, the operation can be performed without stopping the heart; this method is known as off-pump heart bypass. It is a relatively new technique and has fewer complications.
Minimally invasive heart bypass surgery
With your cardiologist’s approval, heart bypass surgery could also be performed in a less invasive manner. Minimally invasive coronary bypass surgery does not require cutting the chest open. Moreover, it eliminates the need to perform the surgery using a heart-lung machine.
During minimally invasive coronary bypass, small incisions are made on the chest and the cardiologist uses surgical instruments to perform the CABG surgery through these incisions. Compared to the traditionally performed coronary bypass, this technique has several advantages:
- A shorter recovery
- Fewer complications
- Lower risk of infection
- Smaller scars
- Less pain after the surgery
- Lower cost
How is heart bypass surgery performed?
The procedure might take between three to six hours and require a several-day hospital stay (two days of which will be spent in the intensive care unit). During the procedure, you will be put under general anesthesia. Depending on how severe the blockage is and the number of arteries that need to be repaired, the steps of the procedure vary. Generally, CABG procedure steps are as follows:
- The first step of surgery is taking a healthy blood vessel (graft) from another part of the body. The graft is usually removed either from the leg or inside the chest wall. Harvesting blood vessels from other areas in the body requires making an incision that is likely to leave a scar.
- Then, the surgeon makes an 8 to 10-inch-long incision on the center of your chest. Once your chest is cut open, the medical team can have access to your heart and coronary arteries.
- During on-pump heart surgery, your heart will be temporarily stopped using medications. To keep blood and oxygen flowing through your body, a heart-lung machine takes over the function of the heart and lungs.
- The surgeon will then use the vein graft to bypass the blockage. This is done by attaching one end of the graft before the blockage and another end immediately after the blockage or in the aortic valve. As a result, the blood flow is redirected around the blockage or the narrowed artery.
- Once the grafts are in place, the heart-lung machine is turned off and the chest bone is closed using wires and internal stitches. Drainage tubes and pacing wires might be left inside your chest for a short period of time.
Angioplasty vs. heart bypass surgery
Balloon angioplasty is a less invasive alternative to heart bypass surgery. It can be performed in less than a few hours and is normally done under local anesthesia. To perform angioplasty, the surgeon makes a tiny incision on the arm or groin so that he or she can thread a thin tube called a catheter through the artery. The balloon that is on the tip of the catheter is inflated when it reaches the plaque, pushing the fat deposits against the inner walls of the blood vessel. Stent placement might also follow the procedure. It involves leaving a stent in the artery to help keep it open.
Once you are diagnosed with coronary artery disease, the cardiologist might suggest angioplasty or coronary artery bypass depending on your individual case. While both procedures aim to improve blood flow in the artery, heart bypass and angioplasty are different in a number of ways:
- In most cases, angioplasty is recommended when a single artery needs to be repaired. For multiple blockages, coronary artery bypass is almost always the way to go.
- Angioplasty requires a small incision in the groin or arm. Compared with heart bypass surgery which entails opening the chest, angioplasty is less invasive and will leave less visible scars.
- Factors such as using general anesthesia, cutting the chest open, or performing on-pump bypass surgery can lead to certain risks and complications. Angioplasty involves a smaller scar and is performed under local anesthesia. Consequently, fewer post-surgical complications can be expected after angioplasty.
- After angioplasty, a one to two-day hospital stay might suffice. But with the more invasive coronary bypass, the patient may be required to stay in the hospital for more than a week or two.
- The recovery after coronary bypass surgery can be painful and might take up to three months. During this period, you are prohibited from doing certain physical activities. Recovery from angioplasty, however, is as brief as a few days.
- Coronary artery bypass can offer more survival rate and durability. According to an article published by Harvard Health Publishing, citing a study examining 17,000 bypass surgeries and angioplasties performed in 2003 and 2004, 30% of angioplasty patients needed a repeat procedure within 18 months after the procedure. Whereas, only 5% of those who underwent heart bypass surgery needed the procedure repeated.
When is coronary bypass graft needed?
A cardiologist might recommend heart bypass surgery when you are diagnosed with coronary artery disease. It is a condition in which the blood vessels that transport blood to the heart become blocked or narrowed. It can affect blood flow and consequently the amount of oxygen that reaches the heart.
The initial signs that indicate your blood vessels are clogged include:
- Irregular heartbeats
- Chest pain (angina)
- Shortness of breath
- Excess sweating
Although some people experience the irritating symptoms, for most people symptoms rarely occur. That’s why cardiologists recommend regular tests and examinations, particularly when the person is more likely to suffer from blocked arteries due to hereditary factors or conditions such as diabetes. A common method of examination to pinpoint blocked arteries is the coronary angiogram test, which you can affordably undergo in Iran.
Heart bypass surgery is the most effective way to fix clogged arteries. It is not, however, the least invasive one. Most cardiologists recommend CABG when medication or other less invasive methods are not suitable for the patient or have yielded no tangible reuslts. You can consult with one of our doctor assistants for free to figure out whether you need the surgery.
Why choose Iran for coronary bypass surgery?
You might decide to undergo heart bypass surgery abroad due to multiple reasons. In most cases, either the healthcare in your hometown is not as excellent as you want it to be; or it is far too expensive and not covered by insurance. Either way, a country with affordable healthcare that is also on par with pioneering nations is an option worth considering. Here is why Iran attracts thousands of cardiology patients from neighboring countries as well as all around the world:
No waiting lists in Iran
Most countries have a long waiting list for cardiac surgery. In other words, even a patient in an emergency situation has to wait for months or even years before being able to go under the knife. In Iran, you can book the procedure and have it performed within a week.
Regardless of your geographical location, it is not uncommon to come across proficient cardiac surgeons who are originally from Iran. Iranian doctors possess the devotion it takes to be a skilled specialist in cardiology. They are hardworking with comprehensive knowledge that is gained by years of experience.
In Iran, cardiologists carry out coronary artery bypass for more than 30 thousand patients annually, including those who are from other countries. In fact, heart bypass surgery is the most frequently performed cardiac surgery in Iran.
The country enjoys topnotch hospitals where the most recent equipment is employed. World-class hospitals situated in some of the most prestigious districts of cities like Tehran, Shiraz, and Mashhad offer heart bypass surgery with quality and at a price beyond expectations.
By choosing Iran for your cardic surgery, you will have the 24-hour support of International Patients Department (IPD) of these hospitals. That is, each and every step of the procedure will be handled professionally to ensure your safety and satisfaction.
Heart bypass surgery cost in Iran
The highly effective heart procedure comes at a relatively high price across the world. Heart bypass surgery cost with insurance can go up to $7000 in the US. Without insurance, the cost of coronary bypass surgery can exceed $150000. As a result, many cardic patients choose to undergo heart surgery abroad.
In Iran, coronary bypass surgery cost starts from $7000 without insurance (equaling the amount one have to pay in the US with insurance). Therefore, even with added costs, the figure is far lower than that of countries like the USA where the same quality treatment is offered. Plus, through AriaMedTour, the entire procedure will be pre-planned and the surgical results will be officially guaranteed.
You can have a free consultation with our experts to learn more about the procedure and how AriaMedTour can help you before, during, and after the procedure.
Heart bypass surgery in Iran: what to expect
It’s not hassle-free to undergo a procedure as complex as heart bypass in another country far from home. Having the entire process planned for you in advance can make things a lot easier. Aside from the our competitive prices, we can also facilitate your trip by handling visa, lodging, transportation, and required medical appointments. The only things you need to think about are packing your bag and the recovery phase; AriaMedTour will take care of the rest.
Preparing for CABG surgery
When it comes to a major procedure such as CABG, preparation is as vital as the recovery. In the medical appointment, your cardiac surgeon will give you a thorough instruction including all the steps you need to take, for instance:
- Your doctor might ask you to stop taking certain medications. Blood thinners such as aspirin or anti-inflammatory drugs are mostly among these medications.
- Refrain from alcohol or smoking for at least two weeks before the surgery.
Before the surgery, you might have to undergo multiple tests and medical investigations including:
- Various blood tests
- Chest X-ray
Once you arrive in Iran, an on-call interpreter will pick you up at the airport. After checking in the hotel and having a welcome dinner, you will visit the doctor on the appointed date and time. During the session, tests will be taken and the date of surgery is fixed. You might be asked to spend a night in the hospital before the surgery.
Heart bypass surgery recovery and aftercare
After the surgery, you will probably spend a night or two in the hospital. The recovery time of coronary bypass surgery can last between 10 to 12 weeks. Your hospital stay is about 2 to 3 weeks. You can leave Iran in 4 to 6 weeks. However, you cannot get back to work before week 10 after the surgery. And you should be extra careful about your physical activities; strenuous activities and sports are prohibited for 16 weeks after the surgery.
Pain is normal after a CABG surgery. The discomfort can be controlled using pain controls that are prescribed by your doctor.
Rehabilitation programs after the surgery will help you have an easy and effective recovery. You may start walking in three days and be able to climb the stairs in 5 to six days.
With your doctor’s approval, you can fly back to your country. At home, you should take the following tips into consideration:
- Wear loose and comfortable clothing
- Take prescribed medications including pain killers as instructed
- Get back to your normal activates gradually. You can resume driving or lifting light things in 6 weeks.
By educating yourself about the surgery, you can reduce the chances of complications and feel more relaxed. Hit us up to learn more about the details of having a coronary artery bypass surgery in Iran.