In cardiothoracic surgery, in contrast to other types of surgery, the anesthetist’s attention is focused on monitoring the heart’s functioning during and after the operation.
Before every procedure, the anesthetist will ask for all the information about the patient’s medical condition, including previous anesthetization and whether the patient has ever suffered from similar cardiothoracic problems. It is important to let the anesthetist know if the patient is taking any drugs and whether he or she is allergic to any particular drugs.
Then – after consultation with the surgeon – the anesthetist will adapt the type of anesthesia most suitable for each patient.
In valve surgery or valve replacement surgery, the anesthetist is also responsible for the Transesophageal Electrocardiogram (TEE), which involves inserting a transducer into the esophagus so the doctors can have a better view of the heart’s compartments. The esophagus’s close proximity to the heart ensures the best possible picture. This mini device allows the surgeon and the anesthetist to observe the repaired or replaced valve’s functioning during the surgery and can also prevent future surgery.
This kind of surgery can take a few hours, and the initial recovery is also longer than most other operations. The patient’s awakening and recovery is gradual and carefully monitored in the ICU, where benchmarks such as blood pressure, pulse, body temperature and pain levels are closely observed.
Dr. Jeffrey Fisher
Main Building, 10th Floor