Pulmonary thromboendarterectomy is performed under general anesthesia, which means you will be asleep during surgery. The procedure takes at least 6 to 8 hours, depending on the size and number of the clots and where they are located in the body.
First, the surgeon makes a vertical incision in the chest. He then redirects blood from the heart to a bypass machine, which does the job of the heart and lungs during the operation. The surgical team may also need to cool your body and stop circulation altogether. This is called hypothermic circulatory arrest.
The surgeon then opens the affected pulmonary arteries, removes the clots, and repairs the arteries. After the clots are removed, the surgeon rewarms the body, shuts down the heart-lung bypass machine, and allows blood to circulate again.
After surgery, you will be moved to the intensive care unit (ICU), where we will monitor how well your lungs are adjusting to the new blood flow. After several days in the ICU, you will be moved to a regular hospital room. After you are discharged, you will need to take blood-thinning medication for the rest of your life to prevent further clots.