Open Heart Surgery- Types, Procedure, and Surgical Instruments

Open Heart Surgery is a complex procedure in which the problems related to the heart are treated. It is one way of reaching the heart.

During this surgery, the chest wall is opened to get a view of the heart. This kind of surgery is done to treat multiple cardiologic issues like arrhythmias, aneurysms, coronary artery disease, and heart failure, thoracic aortic aneurysm, etc.

This procedure is only recommended to those patients who can bear it. This surgery is performed to treat muscles, arteries, or valves of the heart. It is the most common type of heart surgery. It is also referred to as ‘traditional heart surgery’. It has been in practice for years.

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The term ‘open heart surgery’ can be misleading. It does not involve opening the full chest. This surgery can easily be performed through a small incision between the ribs on the right side of the chest.

Types of Open Heart Surgery:

On Pump means that a bypass machine is attached to the patient that temporarily takes over and circulates the blood through the body.

So, the heart is stopped during the surgery and does not pump blood. The surgeon disconnects the machine after the surgery, to the heart starts beating again.

  • Off Pump

Off pump surgery does not involve the use of any bypass machine. During this surgery, the heart keeps beating and circulating the blood. However, off pump procedure can only be used for coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG). It is also known as ‘beating heart surgery’.


  • Before open heart surgery, a chest x-ray, electrocardiogram, and ECG are conducted to plan the procedure accordingly.
  • The surgical area is sterilized before the surgery to make sure there are no bacteria left.
  • Fluids and medications are provided through an intravenous line (IV).
  • A 6 to 8 inch long is incision is made in the middle of the chest with the help of a surgical knife.
  • The breastbone is cut, and a rib spreader is used to spread the ribcage in order to reach the heart.
  • The heart is connected to the bypass machine, and the heart is stopped through an IV medication.
  • In the case of a blocked artery, a new healthy vein is selected to create a new path for the blood to follow.
  • The surgeon then uses surgical wires to close the breastbone. Sometimes, to further avoid any dangers, the surgeon uses titanium plates to rejoin the breastbone. This is usually done for old patients or those who have had multiple surgeries in the past.
  • In the end, the cut is stitched up to increase the healing process.

Open Heart Instrument Set:

Multiple surgical instruments are used during open heart surgery. There are companies that offer complete Open Heart Instrument Sets to facilitate this procedure.

These sets are comprised of high-quality German stainless steel instruments that are strong, durable, and rustproof.

This instrument kit includes the following instruments: 

  • Richardson Eastman Retractors
  • Backhaus Towel Clamp
  • Foerster Sponge Forceps
  • Mayo Hegar Needle Holder
  • Allis Willauer Tissue Forceps
  • Tube Occluding Clamps
  • Knife Handle
  • Gemini Mixter Delicate
  • Metzenbaum Scissors
  • Debakey Needle Holder
  • Debakey Thoracic Tissue Forceps
  • Debakey Multipurpose Clamps
  • Glover Ducts Clamp
  • Halstead Mosquito Forceps
  • Mayo Scissors
  • Adson Tissue Forceps
  • Russian Tissue
  • Cushing Forceps 7″ 1×2 Teeth
  • Yankauer Suction Tube
  • Crile Hemostatic Forceps
  • Coller Crile Forceps
  • Rochester Pean Forceps
  • Rochester Ochsner Forceps
  • Mixter Hemostatic Forceps
  • Adson Hemostatic Forceps Curved

All these surgical instruments are necessary to perform any open heart surgery. They play a remarkable role in cutting, grasping, holding, retracting, and manipulating the tissues, organs, or blood vessels.

You can get these instruments from those who have been the manufacturer and suppliers of surgical instruments for decades. Some companies also offer free delivery services for the U.S. and Canada. You can also look for discounted prices.

However, it is better not to compromise on the quality of instruments just to buy them at a low price. Some instruments also come with enhanced features like tungsten carbide inserts, titanium, and color coating. Tungsten carbide increases the strength of the instrument and makes it durable.

Titanium is more biocompatible and does not cause any side effects when inserted inside the body. Color-coated instruments are easier to use and identify. The ones with dark coating reflect less light which guarantees better accuracy and precision.


Open heart surgery is a risky procedure. It can lead to multiple problems that can even prove to be fatal.

A person getting open-heart surgery can get a chest wound infection which can cause pain and discomfort. It is common among obese patients. The patient can also experience irregular heartbeat, chest pain, blood clots, anemia, breathing difficulty, or pneumonia.

In the worst-case scenario, the patient can get a heart attack, lung failure, kidney failure, or stroke. The on-pump open heart surgery is considered more dangerous as it can even cause neurological problems.

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