Scientists reveal the best time to have heart surgery

Surgeons in operating room at hospital
Lev Dolgachov

They found that while 554 out of 298 morning patients experienced such adverse events, only 28 out of 298 afternoon patients underwent the same.

Those who had their ops before noon had a one in five chance of a heart attack or heart failure in the following 500 days.

Researchers, including those from the University of Lille in France, reviewed almost 600 people who underwent heart valve replacements.

The study authors suggest instead that this revelation may help schedule more high-risk or pressing surgeries, for example, those that suffer from obesity or type 2 diabetes have been shown to have an increased risk of complications post-surgery, so their results could, in fact, increase post-surgery success.

He also said it would be impossible for hospitals to conduct surgery only after lunch. Our test reveals all. Genetic analysis showed that circadian rhythms 287 genes in heart tissues of the patients operated on in the afternoon, was more active.

Experts have identified a link between the circadian clock - the internal body clock that controls when we sleep, eat and wake up - and 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.

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The team also tracked the health of 88 patients who were randomly scheduled for heart valve replacement surgery in the morning or afternoon between January 2016 to February 2017.

One of the most obvious questions, which the researchers have already discounted is, if the body clock affects the heart, then perhaps the surgeons are also affected?

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.

"If we can identify patients at highest risk, they will definitely benefit from being pushed into the afternoon and that would be reasonable", he added.

Tests on heart tissue samples from 30 of the patients - including 14 who had morning surgery and 16 from the afternoon surgery group - showed that the afternoon surgery samples more quickly regained their ability to contract when put in conditions similar to the heart refilling with blood.

"Scientifically it is not hugely surprising, because just like every other cell in the body, heart cells have circadian rhythms that orchestrate their activity to anticipate the external rhythm of night and day - i.e. our heart "expects" to work harder during the day than at night, with the opposite being true in mice", he said in a statement. If this finding can be replicated in other hospitals this could be helpful to surgeons planning their operating list, for non-urgent heart surgery.

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