Published: Mon, October 30, 2017
Medical | By Garry George

Afternoon cardiac surgeries result in better health outcomes

Afternoon cardiac surgeries result in better health outcomes

If you or a loved one had heart surgery planned, you may want to check what time it's being done - if at all possible in today's medical system, where we often have to take what time we can get.

Our internal clock - also known as circadian rhythm - drives large changes in the way the body works.

In the trial section, 88 patients were randomly scheduled for heart valve replacement surgery in the morning or afternoon and their health was monitored until they left hospital.

"As a result, moving heart surgery to the afternoon may help to reduce a person's risk of heart damage after surgery".

The researchers think their findings could be explained by the heart being stronger and better able to withstand the stress of surgery in the afternoon.

Undergoing heart surgery in the afternoon may be far safer than in the morning because it synchs up with the body's circadian rhythm, a new study suggests.

That's the conclusion of a major new study that found there is a significantly higher risk of damage for people having surgery in the morning.

To understand the mechanisms responsible for the findings, the researchers analyzed 30 tissue samples from a subgroup of patients in the most recent trial, and found that afternoon surgery samples were quicker to regain the ability to contract when put in conditions mimicking blood filling back into the heart.

WIKIMEDIA, ION CHIBZIIOpen heart surgery is linked to better patient outcomes when carried out in the afternoon, rather than in the morning, according to a study published yesterday (October 26) in The Lancet.

In the observational study, which ran from January 2009 to December 2015, researchers tracked the medical records of nearly 600 people who had heart valve replacement surgery - half had surgery in the morning, half in the afternoon - for 500 days to monitor for any major cardiac events such as a heart attack, heart failure or died from heart disease.

This has nothing to do with doctors feeling more exhausted in the morning, the study says.

The researchers suggest this could equate to one major event being avoided for every 11 patients who have afternoon surgery and that people who had surgery in the afternoon had a 50% lower risk of a major cardiac event, compared with people who had surgery in the morning.

Prof Staels said: "We believe we have identified a potential way to circumvent the disturbing observation that operations in the morning lead to more complications". "If we can identify patients at highest risk, they will definitely benefit from being pushed into the afternoon and that would be reasonable".

Commenting on the study Dr Mike Knapton, associate medical director at the British Heart Foundation, said "thousands of people now have open heart surgery in the UK".

The researchers are also investigating whether circadian rhythms have an impact on survival in other types of surgery.

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