Length of operation

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Peter Easton

To my knowledge it varies according to type of operation and number of other complications from which the patient may be suffering and/or their general state of health. Also different surgeons have different rates and procedueres. As a ballpark figure, and without any major complications, I understand mechanical and stented bioprosthesis valve implantations to be the shortest, next stentless tissue valves and homografts, with the longest being the Ross Procedure, given its two valve approach.

Then again, you need to distinguish three things -- elapsed time from pre-op to ICU (longest), operation time (next) and cross-clamp time, or time on heart-lung machine (shortest). Here are my very approximate estimates of average minimum times that others may want to correct or debate.


Elapsed time 3-4 hours

Operation time 2-3 hours

Cross-clamp time 1 hour


Elapsed time 5-6 hours

Operation time 3-4 hours

Cross-clamp time 1.5-2 hours


Elapsed time 6-7 hours

Operation time 4-5 hours

Cross-clamp time 2-3 hours

However, if complications arise, then time is extended, so operations can last in excess of 10 hours. Happily medical science has gotten pretty doggone good at pulling people through the long ones (my sister had a 10-hour job), and as a patient one is never really aware of it -- except from the point of view of somoewhat longer "fuzzy" time at the other end.


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