Recovering At Home From Open Heart Surgery
Youve just had open heart surgery and youre now recovering at home. Mercy Healthcare Services, a San Diego-based Home Health Agency specializing in post-open heart care, have put together this video guide just for you. In our 4 videos, we talk about the top reasons why patients get re-admitted to the hospital and what you can do to prevent them.
One of the top reasons post-open heart patients get re-admitted to the hospital is a condition known as Heart Failure. Heart failure is when the heart does not pump or fill with blood well. This causes the heart to lag behind in its job of moving blood throughout the body.
This can lead to symptoms such as swelling, trouble breathing, and feeling tired. If you have heart failure, your heart has not actually “failed” or stopped beating. It just isn’t working as well as it should.
So, what are the symptoms of heart failure?
1. Changes in breathing. Every morning, when you get up, you need to check and look for changes in breathing.
Ask yourself these questions:
Can I breathe as well as I normally can?
Am I getting out of breath doing things I can normally do without a problem? Doi
Am I coughing more than usual?
Did I use more pillows than usual to sleep last night?
2. Changes in weight
Weigh yourself every morning after urinating but before eating. Write down your weight on a calendar. Then ask yourself:
· Has my weight gone up or gone down compared to yesterday? If so, by how many pounds?
3. New or worse swelling
Post Heart Surgery Diet: Foods To Eat And Foods To Avoid
After having open heart surgery its extremely important to eat the right foods so that you can give your body the nutrients it needs to recover. But what foods are best for recovering heart surgery patients? Theres a lot of confusion over what you should and shouldnt be eating after your surgery, so lets take a look at the most important foods to avoid and the best foods to include in your post surgery diet.
1. Avoid saturated fats and processed foods.
Processed and sugary foods are definitely on the list of foods to avoid. Not only do they lack any health benefits whatsoever, they also contain harmful trans fats and other things like high fructose corn syrup that contribute to obesity, which can put further strain on your heart. Try to keep the fat content of your diet to less than 30% of your daily caloric intake.
2. Reduce your sodium intake.
Cardiovascular patients should consume no more than 2,000 milligrams of salt per day to avoid excess fluid retention in the body, which causes an increase in the stress on the heart. Depending on your situation, your heart surgeon may recommend that you go even lower. The good news is that if you stop eating processed foods youll be cutting the primary source of sodium in most peoples diet, so limiting your sodium intake should not be too difficult if you are following step 1.
3. Include heart healthy foods in your diet.
- Low fat dairy products
Up To 25% Of Patients Experience Cardiac Depression
Although you may think of your moods as being somewhat dependent on how you feel or on your progress, especially after a major surgery, a positive outlook during recovery can improve your physical healing process. There are some provenstrategies to help you improve your odds for feeling good during recovery.
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How Long Is A Person Expected To Live After A Bypass Operation
The life expectancy after coronary bypass surgery depends again on the individuals risk factors. And most importantly, on the ventricular function, how well the muscle of the heart works. If the tissue in the centre works well, the life expectancy can be approximately what the healthy population is whove never had a heart attack. On the other hand, people with advanced left ventricular dysfunction that means, whove had significant damage to the main pumping chamber of the heart their life expectancy is more limited.
Lets summarise the article so far. If a patient has a LIMA bypass, it is almost 90% likely to remain open, even ten 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 ten years. If grafts go down its not necessarily a disaster, there are often good treatment options.
Remember that the bypass was done to treat coronary artery disease, but thats only half the battle. The same disease process still goes on despite the bypass, and so the emphasis in these patients should be on treatments that can act to stabilise the heart disease. These treatments include medications, blood pressure control, cholesterol management, avoiding smoke, exercise, diet, and the adoption of a healthy lifestyle. Now, these are the truly life-saving measures.
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What Happens During Coronary Artery Bypass
Coronary artery bypass graft surgery requires a stay in a hospital. Procedure may vary depending on your condition and your doctor’s practices.
Generally, CABG follows this process:
You will be asked to remove any jewelry or other objects that may interfere with the procedure.
You will change into a hospital gown and empty your bladder.
You will lie on your back on an operating table.
The anesthesiologist will continuously monitor your heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, and blood oxygen level during the surgery. Once you are sedated , a breathing tube will be put into your throat and you will be connected to a ventilator, which will breathe for you during the surgery.
A healthcare professional will insert an intravenous line in your arm or hand. Other catheters will be put in your neck and wrist to monitor your heart and blood pressure, as well as to take blood samples.
A catheter will be put into your bladder to drain urine.
The skin over the surgical site will be cleaned with an antiseptic solution.
Once all the tubes and monitors are in place, your doctor will make incisions in one or both of your legs or one of your wrists to access the blood vessel to be used for the grafts. He or she will remove the vessel and close those incision.
The doctor will make an incision below the Adam’s apple to just above the navel.
The doctor will cut the sternum in half lengthwise. He or she will separate the halves of the breastbone and spread them apart to expose your heart.
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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.
Procedure Completion Both Methods
Your doctor will sew the sternum together with small wires .
He or she will insert tubes into your chest to drain blood and other fluids from around the heart.
Your doctor will sew the skin over the sternum back together.
Your doctor will put a tube through your mouth or nose into your stomach to drain stomach fluids.
He or she will then apply a sterile bandage or dressing.
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Minimally Invasive Heart Surgery
For minimally invasive heart surgery, a surgeon makes small incisions in the side of the chest between the ribs. This type of surgery may or may not use a heart-lung bypass machine.
Minimally invasive heart surgery is used to do some bypass and maze surgeries. Its also used to repair or replace heart valves, insert pacemakers or ICDs, or take a vein or artery from the body to use as a bypass graft for CABG.
One type of minimally invasive heart surgery that is becoming more common is robotic-assisted surgery. For this surgery, a surgeon uses a computer to control surgical tools on thin robotic arms.
The tools are inserted through small incisions in the chest. This allows the surgeon to do complex and highly precise surgery. The surgeon always is in total control of the robotic arms they dont move on their own.
What About Traveling By Car
The risk of developing DVT comes from lack of movement, whether youre traveling by air, rail, or road. Youre also at an increased risk for DVT if you go home and spend too much time in bed.
You can lower your risk for DVT by moving your legs whenever possible. If youre traveling by car, plan to stop and stretch your legs every hour. Once youre home, avoid sitting for more than 4 hours at a time.
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Travelling Overseas After A Heart Attack
If you have planned or are planning an overseas trip, its best to discuss these plans with your doctor.
Each airline has a different policy for air travel following a heart attack. You may be advised not to travel until your condition is stable. Its recommended that you contact your airline prior to booking your flight. If youre going overseas, youll need a travel insurance policy that will cover you for pre-existing conditions.
If you are planning on travelling to a country that has a time difference, you will need to discuss your medication regime with your doctor or pharmacist.
If youre back behind the wheel, you may also be thinking about going back to work.
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What Risks Are Associated With Flying Too Soon After Surgery
The risks of flying too soon after surgery can differ according to the type of surgery youve had and your specific health concerns.
Cardiac and vascular effects of general anesthesia typically dont last long and wont necessarily affect your flying risk.
Even if you havent had surgery recently, long-distance travel can the risk of blood clots in some people. Blood clots are most likely to form in deep veins in the legs, a condition known as deep vein thrombosis .
If you dont have other risk factors, its not always dangerous to fly after surgery.
A of anatomic pulmonary resection patients at the Mayo Clinic found no significant difference in the risk of complications between those who traveled by air compared to those who used ground transportation.
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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.
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.
What Kind Of Cognitive Decline What Kind Of Personality Change
Another study followed cardiac patients 3 years after their encounter with a heart-lung machine.
The cognitive decline found in 31% of the patients was described as significant. Specifically, dates, names, and numbers elude them. These patients are also experiencing mood swings and serious depression. In 30% of cases, they have even contemplated suicide.
Open heart surgery is also an expensive event. Its performed about a half-million times every year at a cost of around 100K or more. We can do better in helping couples to manage the emotional aftermath.
Showering And Incision Care
You may shower if your surgeon has approved this prior to discharge. Your incisions may itch or feel sore, tight or numb for a few weeks. Some bruising around the incisions is also normal.
- Use warm water.
- You may wash your incisions gently with soap and water, but do not scrub them.
- Pat your incisions dry.
- Do not take baths or use powders or lotions near the incisions.
You may have white pieces of tape on your chest. These are called “steri strips”. They will gradually fall off. If they have not fallen off in 7 days, gently wash your chest with soap and water and gently peel them off. You may have some bleeding if the strips pulled off any scabs.
If you find it more comfortable, a thin layer of gauze may be placed over the incision. Women may wish to place cotton or soft material between the bra and chest wall.
- Your skin is sealed within 24-48 hours after surgery.
- You may itch or feel sore, tight or numb for a few weeks. Some bruising around the incision is also normal.
- Avoid sun exposure for the first year
- Chest tube drainage Within the first week after surgery, fluid may leak out from your chest tube sites. You may cover the sites with sterile bandages. Call your surgeon’s office if have to change the bandages more than once/day.
Signs of Possible Infection
- Increased swelling/tenderness along incision line
- Persistent high fever
Side Effects After Open Heart Surgery
Open heart surgery is required to repair a number of common heart ailments, including blocked arteries and related heart problems. The procedure is conducted with the aid of a heart-lung machine which carries out important bodily functions while the heart is being operated upon.
While open heart surgery is a very serious type of surgery, it is also one of the most commonly-performed operations in advanced countries and has a very high overall survival rate. Here are some considerations and side effects if you are to undergo surgery:
At The Hospital:
You should not eat or drink within eight hours of the scheduled surgery time. Patients are usually admitted on the morning of the surgery.
After surgery, you will be monitored in the cardiac intensive care unit and later on the general floor of the hospital. Hospital stays after surgery are usually 3 to 4 days.
Recovery times for full open heart surgery may be 6 to 12 weeks or more. However, recovery for off-pump surgery and minimally-invasive heart surgery may take much less time.
Side Effects After Open Heart Surgery:
People who have undergone or are about to undergo heart surgery are often concerned about the side effects after open heart surgery. Here are some of the most common side-effects, all of which are normal and NOT a cause for alarm in most cases:
Medicine Side Effects:
Ask Your Health Care Team About The Possibility Of Post
Make sure you and those who live with you know the symptoms of depression. If you find yourself experiencing a sad or empty mood persistently, a loss of pleasure or interest in hobbies and activities that you normally enjoy, or a consistent feelingof worthlessness or hopelessness, discuss your mood with your doctor. Your provider may be able to prescribe a medication to help you bounce back and warding off the blues can help you heal. However, there are several strategies you can use thatdon’t involve medication.
Drive Before Youre Ready
If your doctor tells you not to get behind the wheel whether its for 2 weeks or 2 months its for a good reason. Your reaction time may be slower and you could get into an accident. Until youre ready to handle it, get lifts from a friend or family member. Or ask them to do your errands for you.
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Youll Play A Key Role In Managing Your Pain
Post-surgical pain is unavoidable but can be managed in a variety of ways. Because of recent national legislation changes, physicians can prescribe no more than a seven-day supply of opioids to patients at the time of their hospital discharge.
Weaning yourself off opioids as soon as possible is important. You may need less than a seven-day supply, depending on your condition. Some patients do not require any opioids for pain management.
Other options for pain management include:
Oral and topical analgesics such as acetaminophen and Salonpas patches
Applying a warm cloth to the area, using caution near the incision because nerve sensitivity may be decreased, causing the skin to burn
Relaxation techniques such as meditation and guided imagery
If you are on long-term opioids, you should meet with your prescribing physician to begin to wean down to the lowest dose possible before surgery.
Depression Among Cabg Surgery Patients
Unipolar depression is characterized by depressed mood and/or loss of interest or pleasure, among other symptoms. The reported 15% to 20% prevalence of uni-polar depression among CABG surgery patients is consistent with that found generally among cardiac patients. Comparatively, the point prevalence among the general population is 5% to 9% for females and 2% to 3% among males suggesting CABG surgery patients have higher prevalence of depression than community samples. Though CABG surgery is indicated for increasingly older patients with substantial co-morbidity in contemporary surgical practice, depression has surprisingly been associated with patients of younger age, and female gender. Far less research has been devoted to minor depressive episodes and dysthymia, with the latter reported between 13% and 18% of CABG surgery patients., Collectively, research to date indicates the number of patients affected by any depression is approximately between 30% and 40% of CABG surgery patients, a summary of which is provided in Table 1. Studies thus far reporting depression prevalence are not without limitations and could be improved. Connerney and colleagues employed a modified diagnostic criteria based on only several days of symptoms immediately post-CABG, thereby potentially inflating prevalence estimates. Other studies employing diagnostic criteria have rarely recruited more than 100 patients,, while others less than 50 patients,,, suggesting larger samples are required.
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