Six To 10 Weeks After Surgery
If you had open heart surgery and your surgeon divided your sternum, it will be about 80% healed after six to eight weeks. By that time, youll generally be strong enough to get back to normal activities, such as driving, Dr. Tong says. You can probably also return to work, unless your job is physically strenuous.
Most importantly, this is the time to start a cardiac rehabilitation program. This is a monitored exercise program designed to increase your hearts endurance. Through cardiac rehabilitation, you can gradually increase your activities, and your doctors will watch your progress closely. Youll also learn more about how you can change your lifestyle and diet to keep your heart healthy.
Working through a cardiac rehabilitation program is the best way to find out when youre strong enough to resume the more strenuous activities you enjoy.
How To Exercise After A Heart Bypass
Heart bypass surgery is the most common type of heart surgery in the United States, according to the Texas Heart Institute. The procedure reroutes or “bypasses” blood around blocked arteries to improve blood flow and oxygen to the heart.
Video of the Day
Exercise after heart bypass surgery is an important component of recovery. Experts recommend the following steps to exercise safely and return to an active lifestyle as quickly as possible.
Home Care After Open Heart Surgery
After open heart surgery, it is important to take care of yourself at home. Get plenty of rest and take it easy for a few days. Avoid strenuous activity and heavy lifting. Take your medications as prescribed. You may also need to take antibiotics to prevent infection. Follow your surgeons instructions for caring for your incisions. You may need to return to the hospital for a check-up a week or so after surgery.
Valley Care Transitions case manager will be in charge of determining the best plan for discharge, as well as determining how to release you from the hospital. If you develop the following symptoms of congestive heart failure, you should consult a cardiologist as soon as possible. Shortness of breath has increased. Ankle swelling You gained more than two pounds of weight overnight. A typical patient will be discharged within a week of being admitted. Case managers evaluate each patient in order to determine which is the safest discharge method. Following surgery, you may take a shower five days later in a mild, non-fragrant soap. Your cardiologist will review your condition to determine when rehabilitation is safe for you.
Don’t Miss: What Is Considered A Dangerously High Heart Rate
What Should I Expect During Recovery At Home After Heart Surgery
The first six to eight weeks after heart surgery are usually the most challenging. You may recover quite quickly if you were in good health before your operation. However, your recovery may be slower if you were very ill before surgery or if you experienced any complications after surgery.
Remember that you should see slow steady improvement as you recover. Call your family doctor if you have or develop any condition that seems to get steadily worse over three days.
Managing follow-up appointments
What kind of follow-up appointments will I need after my heart surgery?
Once you are home from the hospital after your heart surgery, please arrange the following appointments:
- Within the first week you are at home, call to make an appointment to see your family doctor to have your sutures or clips removed. Remember to bring the removal kit you were provided with before you left the hospital.
- Your heart surgeon may see you two to three months after your surgery for a follow-up appointment. Please refer to your personal discharge documents for details. Call 604-522-6800 to arrange this appointment.
- You should also expect a call from a cardiac rehabilitation program. Referrals are made automatically when you are discharged and you do not need to initiate this call yourself.
Make an appointment with your family doctor if your incision continues to drain and/or you note any signs of infection.
When will my incision heal into a scar and how do I care for it?
Exercise After Cardiac Surgery
For six to eight weeks:
- DO NOT LIFT, PUSH, OR PULL objects heavier than 10 pounds .
- Avoid trunk twisting.
- Use the incentive spirometer four to five times a day.
- Each session, do 10 slow, deep breaths. Be sure to relax your shoulders.
- Take your time between breaths.
- Placing your hands over your chest incision, perform two or three strong coughs.
- BMC also offers Breathing Exercise classes.
Mobility and Flexibility Exercises
- Do these exercises before and after walking.
- Do not hold your breath .
- Do 10 repetitions of each exercise two times a day.
- For the next four to six weeks before starting cardiac rehabilitation, you will be doing a walking program twice a day.
- Measure walking in terms of time not distance .
- If you have chest pain, shortness of breath, lightheadedness, or palpitations, STOP YOUR ACTIVITY!
Helpful hints about walking
- Wear comfortable clothing and shoes.
- Wait at least one hour after meals to do your exercise and walking program.
- Avoid hilly areas and excessive stair climbing. Pace yourself when climbing stairs.
- Exercising in cold and windy or hot and humid weather puts stress on your heart. If temperatures outside are below 40 degrees or above 75 degrees, then exercise indoors.
- Riding a stationary bike or walking on a treadmill is an acceptable alternative to walking.
Cardiac Rehabilitation consists of:
Don’t Miss: Which Arm Is Heart Attack Sign
Cardiac Rehab To Gain Strength
Begin heart surgery rehabilitation exercises. After leaving the hospital, most heart bypass patients are enrolled in a physician-supervised program of cardiac rehabilitation. This rehab will include supervised and closely monitored exercise. The goals of cardiac rehab are to help you regain strength after the bypass operation, prevent your condition from worsening and reduce your risk of future health problems, according to the Mayo Clinic.
You May Experience Memory Loss And/or Brain Fog
There are a couple of things that can cause memory loss and brain fog after open-heart surgery. If you were put on bypass, it can cause these issues. It is also called pump head. Post-operative cognitive dysfunction can also cause memory loss. Both of these are usually short-term but can have the possibility of long-term effects. For the first six months, I really struggled with memory loss and brain fog. As time went on, it started to get better and I started to regain my memory and wasnt so foggy-headed.
You May Like: Which Arm Pain Is Sign Of Heart Attack
What Are Cardio Exercises At Home
The best cardio activities you can do at home
- Jump rope is a fun activity. Jumping rope is a great aerobic workout that everyone can do. Jumping jacks are a type of exercise. Exercises like jumping jacks engage the entire body and are an excellent method to train the heart, lungs, and muscles all at the same time. Burpees, running in place, squat jumps, and high intensity interval training are all good options.
How To Care For A Patient After Open Heart Surgery
After open heart surgery, patients will need to be closely monitored and cared for. The first few days are critical as the body adjusts to the new surgery. Here are some things to keep in mind when caring for a patient post-op: -Keep the incision clean and dry. Watch for any signs of infection. -Monitor vital signs and report any changes to the doctor. -Help the patient get up and move around as soon as possible to prevent blood clots. -Encourage the patient to eat healthy and take their medication as prescribed. By following these simple guidelines, you can help ensure a smooth and successful recovery for your loved one.
It is possible that the most difficult part of open-heart surgery will be for six to eight weeks. It is critical to consider the patients overall health before surgery, as well as his or her ability to take care of himself or herself during the healing process. Its normal to discharge some straw-colored fluid during healing, but keep an eye out for redness, warmth, or puffiness in the patient or caregiver. As you heal, you may experience symptoms such as moodiness, anxiety, depression, fear, or anger. Make it a habit to eat small meals throughout the day rather than a couple of heavy ones at a time. If you are concerned about the incisions stability, you should consider using a support harness or a post-operative bra.
You May Like: How Does Heart Attack Affect The Organ System
What Is Open Heart Surgery
In the case of coronary artery disease, surgery may be indicated when blockages are too widespread for angioplasty and stenting or if a blood vessel is too difficult or risky to access with a coronary catheter.
Mitral and/or aortic valve repair or replacement are also common open heart surgery procedures and may stem from a case of childhood rheumatic fever, or perhaps valve damage associated with viral or bacterial endocarditis.
No matter what the reason for your surgery, the recovery time and subsequent exercise prescription are quite similar.
Exercises To Do Three Months After Surgery
The patient is required to visit the doctor 90 days after undergoing surgery, which is sufficient time to indicate how well he or she has recovered from the procedure. By now regular activity – although at a low intensity – should have been resumed to the extent that the patient is able to walk on a treadmill for close to 10 minutes at a time at a moderate pace.
By this time, the patient will also feel better than they did before the surgery. This is because the symptoms such as chest pain and shortness of breath would have been resolved by the surgery. Remember, however, that the surgery restores blood flow to the heart with the help of a graft – the underlying problem of cholesterol plaque in the arteries still exists. Along with drug therapy, this requires regular lifestyle management. At this stage, moderate-intensity exercises like going for walks and gentle yoga poses should be included in the daily routine.
Read Also: What Causes Left Sided Heart Failure
Caring For Your Wound
The metal wires holding your breastbone together are permanent.
But the stitches closing your skin will gradually dissolve over the weeks following surgery as your skin heals.
While you’re recovering in hospital, you’ll be told about how to care for your wounds at home.
It’s important to keep the wounds clean and protect them from the sun while they’re healing.
You’ll have a scar where the surgeon cut down your chest, as well as where the grafted blood vessel was taken from.
These will be red at first, but will gradually fade over time.
Control Of Blood Sugar In Diabetes
Evidence shows that poor blood sugar control in diabetic patients is associated with poor wound healing and a higher risk of infection. Infection in your breastbone can be very serious. If you are diabetic your doctor should measure your HbA1c in your blood to give him/her an indication of how well controlled your blood sugar level has been over the preceding months. If you are concerned that your blood sugar has been poorly controlled, you must mention this to your clinical team.
You May Like: How Old Do You Have To Be To Have A Heart Attack
How Much Care Do You Need After Open Heart Surgery
After open heart surgery, you will need to stay in the hospital for a few days. Once you are home, you will need to take it easy for a week or two. You will need to avoid lifting anything heavy and avoid strenuous activity. You will also need to take your medications as prescribed and attend follow-up appointments with your doctor.
Following heart surgery, it is generally recommended that you recover from it as quickly as possible. Your surgeon will provide you with an estimate of how long it will take you to recover. An overnight hospital stay is usually sufficient to complete less invasive procedures such as stent placement or ablation. Your healthcare provider will be able to monitor your heart condition and the instructions will be helpful. You should contact a caregiver for assistance in the first week or two following your procedure. When you recover one day at a time, you will feel better and faster, allowing you to heal faster and feel better right away.
Exercising After Heart Surgery
Q. I recently had bypass surgery and am starting to feel back to normal. I want to start exercising again, but my internist says I should be careful not to get my heart rate too high. What are reasonable guidelines for how hard I should exercise?
A. Your best bet for a getting a personalized answer to this question is to attend cardiac rehabilitation. Cardiac rehab is a medically supervised, customized exercise and lifestyle education program that helps people recover after a heart attack or heart surgery. It can also be useful for people with heart failure or peripheral artery disease and after other heart surgeries and angioplasty and stent procedures. Most cardiac rehab programs include hourlong sessions two to three times a week for 12 weeks. Medicare covers cardiac rehab, as do most health insurance plans.
To continue reading this article, you must log in.
- Research health conditions
- Prepare for a doctor’s visit or test
- Find the best treatments and procedures for you
- Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
You May Like: How To Stop Hormonal Heart Palpitations
Lifting During Household Chores
Your sternum may remain sore for up to two months, maybe longer depending on your individual medical history.
You can perform most domestic duties such as washing dishes, preparing meals, washing clothes, light cleaning, and shopping.
Try not to lift much more than 2 to 4.5 kg during the initial recovery period until you receive clearance from your surgeon or cardiologist.
Pay attention to pushing and pulling activities that jar your sternum and cause discomfort.
How Long Does It Take For Chest Muscles To Heal After Open Heart Surgery
It is estimated that within six to eight weeks, you will be around 80 percent recovered if you underwent open heart surgery and the surgeon divided your sternum. In Dr. Tongs opinion, at that point, you should be able to return to routine activities, such as driving, without difficulty. You should be able to return to work as well, unless your employment requires you to be highly active.
Also Check: Can Dehydration Cause Increased Heart Rate
Side Effects Of Surgery
After you have been discharged from hospital, you may experience some side effects as a result of the operation.
These can include:
Follow any advice that you have been given on discharge from hospital.
See a GP if you have:
- worsening pain in or around the wound
- redness and swelling around the wound
- pus or blood coming from the wound
- a very high temperature or you feel hot and shivery
How Much Should You Walk After Heart Surgery
It is estimated that within six to eight weeks, you will be around 80 percent recovered if you underwent open heart surgery and your sternum was separated by the surgeon. In Dr. Tongs opinion, at that point, you should be able to return to routine activities, such as driving, without assistance. You should be able to return to work as well, unless your employment requires you to perform hard labor.
You May Like: What Is A Normal Resting Heart Rate For Women
What Is Cardiac Rehabilitation
Cardiac rehabilitation is an important program for anyone recovering from a heart attack, heart failure, or other heart problem that required surgery or medical care.
Cardiac rehabilitation is a supervised program that includes:
- Physical activity.
- Education about healthy living, including how to eat healthy, take medicine as prescribed, and quit smoking.
- Counseling to find ways to relieve stress and improve mental health.
A team of people may help you through cardiac rehabilitation, including your health care team, exercise and nutrition specialists, physical therapists, and counselors.
What Should You Avoid After Open Heart Surgery
After open heart surgery, you should avoid any strenuous activity. This means no heavy lifting, no running, and no vigorous exercise. You should also avoid smoking and drinking alcohol. These activities can put strain on your heart and can lead to complications.
Regular exercise after heart surgery is an excellent way to return to work as soon as possible. As a result, a reduced risk of future heart attacks has been reduced. Exercise improves your physical health in addition to restoring your physical function. When the temperature outside is less than 40 degrees Fahrenheit or warmer, you should exercise indoors. Walking is an option for people who prefer to walk rather than ride a stationary bike or walk on a treadmill.
Can I Take Care Of Myself After Open Heart Surgery
Following heart surgery, it is not only important to rest, but also to be active. When you exercise moderately, you will be able to strengthen your muscles and prevent injuries caused by inactivity. You must always maintain a sense of common sense and listen to your body to ensure that rest and activity are mutually exclusive.
When you get out of the hospital, you will be given instructions on how to care for yourself after surgery. When you use them, you will feel better and heal faster. Your muscles may feel sore or discomfort is normal as a result of the cut. As a result, it shouldnt feel as bad after your surgery as it did before it. Your appetite will return in a matter of weeks if you have a poor appetite at first. Youre probably going to need to take a few deep sleep after an active day, but dont overdo it during the day. People who have had heart surgery may want to participate in a cardiac rehabilitation program or a support group.