• By Jennifer O'Hara

Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast: Why some patients need a second heart surgery

February 22, 2022

For heart surgery patients, a cardiac reoperation or reintervention is sometimes needed. A reoperation is a second or subsequent surgery needed due to complications that develop over time.

People who require a second or even third heart surgery often fall in to three groups:

  1. Patients with aortic dissections
    For patients with aortic dissections, emergency lifesaving surgery is performed initially. Then additional surgeries are often needed to repair the aorta.

  2. Patients who receive tissue valves
    Tissue valves typically last a decade before a reoperation is needed to replace the deteriorated valve.

  3. Adults with congenital heart disease
    Patients with congenital heart disease often have surgery as a newborn or infant. As they grow and age, additional operations may be necessary.

Cardiac reoperations are even more complex than first surgeries, due to scar tissue and other underlying conditions that develop. It is important to have a surgeon with a highly advanced set of surgical skills and techniques. Mayo Clinic surgeons perform more than 300 cardiac reoperations each year.

On the Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast, Dr. Alberto Pochettino, a Mayo Clinic cardiovascular surgeon, discusses cardiac reoperations and reinterventions.

Watch: Dr. Pochettino discusses cardiac reinterventions.

Read the full transcript.


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