Better Quality of Life After Open Heart Surgery

Meet Ivy Susanne Modrau


“Traditional outcome measures in cardiac surgery research include survival, and major complications. However, the risk has become so small that it allows us to shift focus towards a greater emphasis on patient-reported outcome measures – on their quality of life after the operation.”


How can we optimize open heart surgery to improve patient experience and well-being after surgery? How do we enable our patients to resume an independent and meaningful life? That is what Clinical Associate Professor, Ivy Modrau, born 1966, strives to uncover and document.

“Most patients are affected two or three months after open heart surgery. The older and more fragile you are, the longer you need to recover. Patients struggle with for example pain, fatigue, breathlessness and even depression”, Ivy Modrau explains.

“Traditional outcome measures in cardiac surgery research include survival, and major complications. However, the risk has become so small that it allows us to shift focus towards a greater emphasis on patient-reported outcome measures – on their quality of life after the operation,” she says.

The methods are increasingly gentle

Ivy Modrau points out that over the past ten years, Aarhus University and Aarhus University Hospital have gained international reputation for their research and development of more gentle heart surgery.

“Main research areas have been mini-bypass surgery, i.e. through a small incision without usage of a heart-lung-machine, hybrid treatment, which is a combination treatment of mini-bypass surgery and balloon treatment, mini-heart-lung machine and prevention of impaired coagulation ability after surgery,” Ivy Modrau lists.

Portrait of Ivy Susanne Modrau
Photo: Søren Braad Andersen

You survived – but how do you feel?

“The aim of my current work is to investigate which measures can improve early outcome and recovery after open-heart surgery with special focus on the perceived quality of life,” Ivy Modrau says – adding that the most valued patient goals following surgery are return to full health, optimal functional capacity and emotional well‐being.

Ivy Modrau's current research is made possible by a grant from the Health Research Foundation of Central Denmark Region which means that she can dedicate 40 percent of her working hours to research until May 2024.

Read more at Ivy Modraus Pure profile