How long does a heart surgery take?

Isaac George, MD
Thoracic Surgery (Cardiothoracic Vascular)
A typical open heart surgery takes anywhere from four to eight hours depending on the procedure. This includes preparatory time, time to prepare arteries and veins for coronary bypass grafting, going on the bypass machine, stopping the heart and performing surgery, restarting the heart, coming off the bypass machine, and closing the sternum.
Niberto L. Moreno, MD
Thoracic Surgery (Cardiothoracic Vascular)
How long the surgery takes will depend on the type of surgery you're having. Coronary artery bypass graft surgery (CABG), the most common type of heart surgery, takes about 3-6 hours.
Penn Medicine
Administration
A highly trained group of doctors and nurses work as a team to perform your surgery. Most operations take approximately four to six hours, but this varies depending on the complexity of the operation.
The operation itself usually takes three to five hours, but preparation for surgery, administration of anesthesia, and preparation for the transfer to the Cardiothoracic Intensive Care Unit, or CTICU, extends the time in the operating room to four to six hours. In the operating room, time is required to insert intravenous lines and set up other equipment to monitor bodily functions and keep them functioning smoothly during surgery.
 Dr. Cathy Provins-Churbock, PhD
Critical Care Medicine
The time it takes for heart surgery varies with what procedures are being performed.  It may be as short as 3 hours for a minimally invasive procedure or over 10 hours for heart transplant.

I always encourage families to not "watch the clock." By nature of the hospital environment there are so many things that can occur that will prolong the time a patient is out of his room for surgery. Most of these things have nothing to do with how the patient is doing physically. Further, much of the time the patient is gone from his room for surgery is used for pre and post surgical care, not the surgery itself. Loved ones, understandably, get more and more upset as time goes by. It is good to remember that if there is a problem with your loved one his/her health care provider will inform you. 
Piedmont Heart Institute
Administration
The length of time for the surgery depends on the type of surgery. CABG, the most common type of heart surgery, usually takes 3 to 5 hours.
This answer from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute has been reviewed and/or edited by Dr. William D. Knopf.

Continue Learning about Heart Surgeries

Heart Surgeries

Heart Surgeries

More than a half million surgeries are done each year to correct heart problems in children and adults. One of the most common types of heart surgery performed is coronary artery bypass grafting, which uses a blood vessel taken fr...

om another part of the body to bypass a blocked artery and help prevent a heart attack. Another is heart valve replacement, used to repair heart valves that don't open and close properly. Heart surgery can be minimally invasive, such as when a small incision is made to the chest to insert a pacemaker. At the other extreme is open-heart surgery, which requires a large incision to the chest to open the rib cage and operate on the heart. Learn more about the different kinds of heart surgeries with expert advice from Sharecare.
More

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.