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What to Expect

Left ventricular reconstruction surgery is performed to repair a left ventricle that has been damaged during a heart attack. Heart attacks in the left ventricle weaken the tissue wall which forms scar tissue or an aneurysm (a balloon-like bulge of a blood vessel). This causes the heart to work harder, and over time it enlarges and becomes an inefficient pump.

Left ventricular reconstruction surgery is an open-heart surgery. Before performing the repair, the surgeon will connect the heart to a cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB), a heart-lung machine, which assumes the function of the heart and lungs. To keep the heart still, the heart is stopped or "arrested" so the surgeon can perform the precise surgery on the heart without it beating. The heart-lung machine allows blood to continue circulating in the body while the surgery is performed.

During left ventricular reconstruction surgery, a cardiothoracic surgeon makes an incision to remove the damaged areas (thinned out, scarred tissue, or aneurysmal tissue). The purpose of this technique is to restore or reshape the geometry of the heart, thus enabling it to be a more efficient pump. Depending on how much scar tissue is removed, various prosthetic materials can be used to reconstruct or “re-shape” the heart, in a way to fill in the areas of tissue that were removed.

Following the operation, cardiac rehabilitation is provided in stages to help reduce the risk of complications, and to provide the necessary support for adequate progress.