Traditionally following surgery for majority of conditions, patients needed to stay for long in the hospital with lots of pain and needed to take rest at home for many weeks to months. Heart surgery used to be done through the breast splitting incision (median sternotomy) and major surgeries heart had to be stopped and artificial heart-lung machine is used to keep the patient alive during surgery. These patients used to complain lots of pain, had problems like excessive bleeding, lung problems and strokes from the usage of artificial heart lung machine.
Nowadays, there are centers offering minimally invasive heart surgeries for suitable patients needing mitral valve replacement or aortic valve replacement or needing closure of atrial septal defects (birth defects between the two upper chambers of the heart) or needing bypass surgeries. These surgeries are done through small incisions on the side of the chest. Patients recover faster with less infections, less blood transfusions and can go back to work in 3 to 4 weeks’ time. Many people think that only one bypass can be done through this key hole bypass surgery procedure. Even people needing 3-4 bypass grafts can be offered this approach.
Dr. Alla Gopala Krishna Gokhale in India has one of the largest experiences in minimally invasive cardiac surgery and conducted many live workshops to train heart surgeons. For the first time in India, he did 5 bypass grafts through a small incision on the left side of the chest without splitting the breast bone.