Open Heart Surgery and Depression, Are They Related?

Open heart surgery is never easy on the patient as he has to contend with many other related medical issues at the same time. The heart is an essential organ in the human body and any procedure it undergoes creates a big impact on all the bodily functions. This is a major concern that cardiologists and cardiac surgeons take into account when planning for possible complications. A cause for apprehension is the increasing occurrence of open heart surgery and depression.


The exact reason behind the relationship of open heart surgery and depression remains unknown even to medical experts. For a long time, depression associated with open heart surgery was often mistaken for the “pump head” syndrome. Pump head is the impairment in the patient’s mental capabilities after bypass surgery. It results from the minor damage suffered by the brain due to the spray of microemboli or tiny blood clots by the bypass machine, a pump that takes the place of the heart during the operation. New techniques have since been developed, like the off-pump bypass surgery, where the likelihood of pump head arising is greatly reduced. Prior to this, diagnosis for pump head and depression were frequently confused for one another because many of their symptoms are the same.

Medical practitioners are now more cognizant of the simultaneous occurrences of open heart surgery and depression. They are exploring different avenues in treating the depression component with due regard to the post-operative condition of the patient. Treating the depression related to open heart surgery can be problematic because of the many known side effects of most antidepressants that could potentially be harmful to the healing heart. The doctor will have to carefully weigh the available options vis-à-vis the immediate concerns so he can come up with the safest yet effective treatment plan.

Getting Helpful Information

Open heart surgery is an event that largely affects the patient and his family. Many lifestyle changes may be required that would have a direct impact on the entire household. Thus, it is to their benefit if the patient and his family would try to learn as much as they can about open heart surgery and concomitant concerns to include depression and others. They can read the many available publications regarding open heart surgery. A pre-operative patient will be better prepared if he has made prior research on the procedure. On the other hand, recovering patients who are reading books on the said topic would be able to understand better what they went through and know what to expect in terms of long term consequences.

One very helpful book is “Coping with Heart Surgery and Bypassing Depression: A Family’s Guide to the Medical, Emotional, and Practical Issues” by Carol Cohan, June B. Pimm, and James R. Jude. It provides an exhaustive discussion of open heart surgery and depression as well as the different ways to avoid it and how to treat it. Available in paperback, the book costs below thirty dollars. Many readers claimed to have learned much about open heart surgery and depression from this book.

Still, another reference book worth looking into is “The Cardiac Recovery Handbook: A Complete Guide to Life after Heart Attack or Heart Surgery” by Paul Kligfield, MD. You can gather much information regarding the different aspects of recovering from open heart surgery and depression. The book sells for less than twenty dollars.

There are many other books and reference materials about open heart surgery and depression. A short trip to the nearby bookstore or a quick online search can lead you to these very insightful books. Know what you’re getting into so you can get on with your life after.

Additional Resources

Open Heart Surgery Journal | Surviving Heart Surgery
survivingheartsurgery.com/open-heart-surgery-journal

My Journal following open heart surgery which highlights the depression that may follow this type surgery. I am sharing this to give you hope that you will survive this.

Cardiac Surgery – Cardiophile MD
cardiophile.org/…/potential-cardiac-complications-after-cardiac-surgery/
by Prof. Dr. Johnson Francis MD, DM, FACC, FRCP Edin, FRCP London
by Johnson Francis – 5 days ago – Devoted to the Cardiovascular Profession. Cardiac Surgery. Potential cardiac complications after cardiac surgery. by Prof. … Acute injury to valves in an open heart procedure. Arrhythmias Acute left ventricular depression.

How to Fight Cardiac Depression | Anthony’s Heart Valve …
robovalve.wordpress.com/2014/04/24/how-to-fight-cardiac-depression/
by Anthony DiLemme
There are many forms of depression, and a whole range of degrees of severity of this mental condition. Cardiac depression is some form of depression that occurs after a heart event, such as a heart attack or heart surgery.

Cardiac Depression After Heart Surgery — Patient Information
www.heart-valve-surgery.com – Adam’s Blog
by Adam Pick
Learn the facts and realities of cardiac depression for patients after open heart surgery.

Post Open Heart Surgery Depression – Essay – Caravlly11
www.studymode.com – Home – Health – Therapy
Abstract The focus of this paper is to conclude a theory that presents an explanation as to why a large percentage of patients often develop depression post open-heart surgery. This theory will consider dynamic causes of depression including …

An ancient art goes mainstream: 12 yoga poses for better …
www.silive.com/entertainment/…/12_yoga_poses_for_better_healt.html
by Anthony DePrimo | deprimo@siadvance.com
“I was 360 pounds, I just had open heart surgery, was suffering from depression – I was in a really bad place.” “I like to say yoga saved my life,” McDaniel added. Sal Cialino, an instructor based out of Mariners Harbor, also …

Anger and Depression After Open Heart Surgery – Darunsat …
darunsat.info/index.php?do=/blog/…depression…open-heart-surgery/
by perchglass0
It can be very important to treat your depression. You have to research your condition and ask for the right kind of help, so you can get better. Do not think you are alone with your depression. Use the information and the tips …

Up Physical Activity after Heart Surgery for Less Depression …
psychcentral.com – News – Work and Career News
by Rick Nauert PhD
Up Physical Activity after Heart Surgery for Less Depression, Better Outcomes New research suggests cardiac surgery follow-up care should include an assessment for depression as 40 percent of individuals suffer from …

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