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Is rib breaking and artery tearing normal after a mitral valve replacement surgery ?

My dad had surgery on Monday for a mitral valve replacement . He went into surgery 3 more times after that on the same day. He kept bleeding to much, finally after the 3rd surgery, they found the cause of it. When they opened his breast bone , a rib broke and tore an artery. Was my dad bleeding internally? If they left it like that could he have died? Is this common for a rib to break like this. I am soooo glad the dr went in again to double check.
Asked On : Wed, 15 Jun 2011
Answers:  2 Views:  74
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Orthopaedic Surgeon 's  Response
Welcome to Healthcare Magic
Good Day
Usually rib fractures are relatively less complicated than you think. Since they are bound by strong muscles holding the ribcage together, they usually heal without much intervention. Bleeding artery can be causterised or shut off using heat electrodes if significant. If the bleeding was going on till now they monitor would show a drop in Blood pressure and ECG changes. Don't worry, since your Doctor went to check. Pray for a speedy recovery.
Answered: Wed, 15 Jun 2011
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General Surgeon Dr. Mitesh R. Trivedi's  Response
Hello and welcome to healthcare forum.
In major surgery like mitral valve replacment, during retraction of sternum bone it is sometime possible that one or more ribs get broken. The broken ends of the rib may cause trauma to an artery nearby and leads to bleeding.
So, what happened to your father is known complication and what operating surgeon did is also right.
As the source of bleeding is under control you should not worry about it.
Best wishes for speedy recovery of your father.
Answered: Wed, 15 Jun 2011
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