Why Use Sternal Precautions
Open heart surgery usually requires that your cardiac surgeon divide your sternum to gain access to your heart and surrounding structures. After the surgery, your surgeon must repair your sternum by returning the bone to its proper place. Usually, a strong wire is used to hold the bone together while healing occurs.
During your recovery, your healthcare provider may instruct you to follow sternal precautionsa method to protect your sternum after youve had open heart surgery.
Sternal precautions are adjustments that you need to make in your day-to-day life to help prevent the separation of your breastbone as it heals. Separation of your sternum may slow the healing process of the bone, and sternal precautions also help to prevent excessive pulling on the surgical incision. This may help to keep the skin closed to prevent infection in your incision.
Excessive pulling on your breastbone while it is healing after open heart surgery can cause something called dehiscence, or a separation of the bone. This separation can become an opening for infection to enter into your body.
Recommended Reading: Does A Higher Heart Rate Burn More Calories
How Long Is Recovery After Heart Valve Replacement
After an aortic valve replacement, youll usually need to stay in hospital for about a week. The time it takes to fully recover varies depending on factors like your age and overall health. Your breastbone will usually heal in about 6 to 8 weeks, but it may be 2 to 3 months before you feel your normal self again.
Read Also: Does Ibs Cause Heart Palpitations
How Long Does It Take To Get Strength Back After Open Heart Surgery
If you had open heart surgery and the 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.
Is it normal to feel dizzy after open heart surgery?
To learn more about dizziness after open heart surgery, I did some research. According to MedHelp, Dizziness is not a common post-operative problem in patients who have had heart valve replacements, so this problem may be unrelated to the valve surgery.
Also Check: How Do You Lower Your Heart Rate
What Is The Recovery Time
Recovery time depends on the type of surgery you have, but for most types of heart surgery you are likely to spend a day or more in the hospitalâs intensive care unit. Then you will be moved to another part of the hospital for several days until you go home.
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute notes that the length of your recovery time at home will depend on the type of surgery you had, your overall health before the surgery, and whether you experienced any complications from surgery. For example, full recovery from a traditional coronary artery bypass may take six to 12 weeks or more.
Physician anesthesiologists are the most highly skilled medical experts in anesthesia care, pain management, and critical care medicine. They have the education and training that, in some circumstances, can mean the difference between life and death.
So How Long Does Heart Bypass Surgery Last
Lets summarize the article so far. If a patient has a LIMA bypass, it is almost 90% likely to remain open, even 10 years after the operation, and that is just great. For the other blockages where an SVG graft is used, the bypasses are about 50% likely to remain open at 10 years. If grafts go down its not necessarily a disaster, there are often good treatment options.
You May Like: Can Tens Unit Cause Heart Attack
What Happens After Heart Bypass Surgery
Youâll wake up in an intensive care unit . The breathing tube will still be in your mouth. You wonât be able to talk, and you’ll feel uncomfortable. Nurses will be there to help you. Theyâll remove the tube after a few hours, when you can breathe on your own.
During the procedure, the medical team will probably have put a thin tube called a catheter into your bladder to collect urine. When youâre able to get up and use the bathroom on your own, theyâll remove it.
They also attached an IV line before the surgery to give you fluids and medications. Youâll get it removed once youâre able to eat and drink on your own and no longer need IV medications.
Fluids will build up around your heart after the procedure, so your doctor will put tubes into your chest. Theyâll be there for 1 to 3 days after surgery to allow the fluid to drain.
You may feel soreness in your chest. Youâll have the most discomfort in the first 2 to 3 days after the procedure. You will probably get pain medicines for that.
Youâll also be hooked up to machines that monitor your vital signs — like your heart rate and blood pressure — around the clock.
You should be able to start walking 1 to 2 days after surgery. Youâll stay in the ICU for a few days before you’re moved to a hospital room. Youâll stay there for 3 to 5 days before you go home.
When To Call The Doctor
- You have chest pain or shortness of breath that does not go away when you rest.
- Your pulse feels irregular — it is very slow or very fast .
- You have dizziness, fainting, or you are very tired.
- You have a severe headache that does not go away.
- You have a cough that does not go away
- You are coughing up blood or yellow or green mucus.
- You have problems taking any of your heart medicines.
- Your weight goes up by more than 2 pounds in a day for 2 days in a row.
- Your wound changes. It is red or swollen, it has opened, or there is more drainage coming from it.
- You have chills or a fever over 101°F .
Read Also: Warning Signs Of Heart Attack For Women
When Does The Pain From Open Heart Surgery Go Away I Had My
When does the pain from open heart surgery go away? I had my surgery 5 weeks ago and didn’t expect to be in so much pain at this point.
First part of the answer …
You probably shouldn’t be in pain. Go see your surgeon!
Second part …
Normally heart surgery is done by performing a vertical incision from just below the collar bone, to just below the breast. Then they saw through the sternum . Doing it this way ensures that they don’t cut through any chest muscle, so this normally ensures that normally the only pain is from the incision.
There is often discomfort in the chest wall (i.e. through the ribs since they are pushed out of the way … and cartilage may be torn. This will cause discomfort, but normally it’s not continuous and will ease with movement.
If, on the other hand, they cut open the breast wall and used rib spreaders, then they cut through muscle and through cartilage. That is going to take a lot longer to heal!
I had the normal surgery and to be absolutely honest, I didn’t feel pain from the surgery even 2 days after. The incision was tender and uncomfortable, but definitely no pain. Granted, I was being given acetaminophen and morphine and later synthetic morphine, but really it didn’t hurt.
I had no incision “pain” although later part way down the incision a Keloid scar developed which itches!
95% of my discomfort was gone by 3 months and I began doing all manner of stuff.
Let us know … and how you make out with the follow up with your surgeon.
What Has Open Heart Surgery Taught You So Far
The one thing that open heart surgery has taught me so far, a very powerful thing, is just how much our hearts work. Right after surgery, when my poor heart was beaten up senseless, and so tired and so weak, for month, everything, even breathing, walking up a flight of stairs very slowly, showering took a Herculean effort.
Recommended Reading: Which Part Of The Brain Controls Heart Rate
What Is The Most Common Complication After Open
Preparing For Open Heart Surgery
Heart surgery corrects problems when other treatments dont work or cant be used for some reason. The most common type of heart surgery for adults iscoronary artery bypass grafting. In bypass surgery, arteries or veins are removed from elsewhere in your body and grafted to reroute blood around a clogged artery to supply blood to your heart muscle.
Your health care team which may include surgeons, cardiologists, anesthesiologists, nurses, and therapists will discuss your operation with you. Theyll welcome your questions.
If your heart surgery is planned, and not an emergency, youll meet first with your doctor and health care team. Theyll tell you what to expect and how to prepare. Before your surgery:
Also Check: Heart Failure And Vomiting
What Do We Do If The Bypasses Close Off
So far we have said that while LIMA-LAD grafts are an excellent option with great long term results, vein grafts are unfortunately no so good, and have an almost 1 in 2 chance of going down within several years of surgery. The good news is that the LIMA-LAD graft is the most important. And although the vein grafts may go down more frequently, if they do go down the chance of needing another heart operation is very, very low. If required, treatment can typically be undertaken using minimally invasive methods such as using stents.
The decision to treat blocked bypasses depends on many factors. Often the blockage may be silent and without symptoms, in which case no specific treatment is needed. Some bypass graft blockages will present with symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath or heart failure, in which case further evaluation can be undertaken and the decision made on the best treatment depending on the results of tests such as stress tests and angiograms. Finally some of these bypass blockages may present as a heart attack in which case often the blockages can be treated through the use of stents and medicines.
How To Prepare For Open
Tell your doctor about any drugs you are taking, even over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and herbs. Inform them of any illnesses you have, including herpes outbreak, cold, flu, or fever.
In the two weeks before the surgery, your doctor may ask you to quit smoking and stop taking blood-thinning medications, such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen.
Its important to talk to your doctor about your alcohol consumption before you prepare for the surgery. If you typically have three or more drinks a day and stop right before you go into surgery, you may go into alcohol withdrawal. This may cause life-threatening complications after open-heart surgery, including seizures or tremors. Your doctor can help you with alcohol withdrawal to reduce the likelihood of these complications.
The day before the surgery, you may be asked to wash yourself with a special soap. This soap is used to kill bacteria on your skin and will lessen the chance of an infection after surgery. You may also be asked not to eat or drink anything after midnight.
Your healthcare provider will give you more detailed instructions when you arrive at the hospital for surgery.
Don’t Miss: How To Get Heart Rate
What To Expect Of The Day Of Surgery
You should prepare to stay in the hospital for approximately seven days after your surgery. It is helpful to have someone at the hospital for support for some of this time.
After you check-in, you will go to a preoperative area where you will be instructed to change into a hospital gown.
You will meet with a member of the anesthesia team and surgical team to go over the procedure and sign consent forms. You may be asked to provide a urine specimen.
Intravenous access is started in the pre-operative area. This will be used for anesthesia, antibiotics, and blood products.
Hormonal Changes Can Occur After Heart Surgery
For women, your period can be affected by the surgery. It can temporally or even in cases permanently changed. Your periods can become irregular, heavy, lighter, or more painful. Whenever Im in the hospital for some reason my body just automatically decides its going to have my period even though its not that time.
Don’t Miss: Which Arm Pain Is Sign Of Heart Attack
Tips To Help You Heal
Keeping the following things in mind will help you heal after heart surgery:
Listen to your body, especially in the first two months after surgery.
The vast majority of your healing about 80 percent of it occurs during the first two months after your surgery. During this time, you will attend cardiac rehabilitation and continue to gradually increase your activity level.
It is very important to work on increasing your activity level before cardiac rehab starts because in most programs this will be six weeks after surgery. Youll want to do as much as possible, but you may find that you tire easily or need to stop and rest during activities that you used to do with ease. Listen to your body. Make sure that youre not pushing yourself too hard and risking injury or complications.
Follow your doctors recommendations.
When it comes to resuming specific activities, its important to listen to your doctor. For example, you may need to wait at least six weeks before riding a bicycle or lifting things because your breastbone needs time to heal. Talk to your doctor about when you can start driving again.
After the first two months, the rest of your recovery will probably move more slowly. The remaining 20 percent typically takes almost a year. During this time, you should expect to continue to regain strength and endurance.
Eat right and get active when youre ready.
What Is It Like Being In Recovery From Open Heart Surgery
I am seven weeks into recovery from open heart bypass surgery. It is extremely difficult to explain the experience and Im sure everyone would be different. I remember nothing of the operation and for the first couple of days suffered from vivid hallucinations. I was in hospital for six days and was very irritable and depressed when I got home.
Are you feeling tired after heart surgery?
I and many other patients in our community can relate to Joan. Although each patient heals at different rates, it seems like many of us are lethargic, fatigued and tired after heart surgery. Personally, I remember feeling exhausted for the first ten weeks after my valve replacement surgery.
Read Also: At What Heart Rate Should You Go To The Hospital
The Lima The King Of The Heart Bypass Surgery Grafts
We call it the LIMA graft and its the gold standard of bypass grafts and almost always attached to main artery that runs down the front of the heart called the LAD . This is by a mile the most important graft, and in fact many people can simply live off the blood supply they get from this graft. The LIMA graft has superior biological properties to other grafts such as vein grafts and therefore has an excellent chance of staying open.
Now we can start to answer the question how long does heart bypass surgery last? Studies have shown thatthe LIMA graft is around 95-99% likely to be open and working at 1 month after operation, 90-95% likely to be open at 1 year 5 years, and around 80-90% likely to be open at > 10 years. These studies show that the LIMA graft has excellent not only short, but long term results. Unfortunately there is only 1 LIMA graft but often patients have many blockages requiring bypass so we have to use veins or other arteries.
How Do I Manage Post
A cardiac anesthesiologist is also a pain management specialist for conditions related to surgery. Your anesthesiologist will talk to you about your options for managing post-operative pain. Before your surgery, the anesthesiologist may ask about your pain tolerance to help gauge how best to manage your post-operative pain, guiding decisions such as the proper narcotics dosage, the feasibility of nonnarcotic pain medication options, and the need for nerve blocks.
Although most heart surgeries are major surgeries, they are typically not a source of long-term pain. Even in the short term, the pain may be less severe than with operations on other areas of the body. Opioids are used when necessary, but there are many other pain management options, including:
- Nerve blocks
- Lidocaine infusion
You May Like: What Do Beta Blockers Do To Heart Rate
Drive Before Youre Ready
If your doctor tells you not to get behind the wheel â whether itâs for 2 weeks or 2 months â itâs for a good reason. Your reaction time may be slower and you could get into an accident. Until youâre ready to handle it, get lifts from a friend or family member. Or ask them to do your errands for you.
You May Like: Thrz Calculator
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.
Read Also: How To Raise Resting Heart Rate