Days And Weeks Following The Heart Surgery
During the phase consists of days and weeks following the heart surgery, people usually expect to regain their energy gradually and return to the regular activity levels. Although, the surgeons and cardiologists recommend the necessary medications and care tips to assure the fastest possible recovery of patients support from family members and friends act as the prime key to faster recovery in them.
Do You Have To Make Any Dietary Changes After Heart Bypass Surgery
This eating plan is rich in:
This easy-to-follow diet has been proven to reduce heart attack risk and improve the health of the arteries. For some people, cutting back on salt is also important, since salt may contribute to high blood pressure and fluid buildup.
How Long Does Open Heart Surgery Last
The duration of the open heart surgery depends on the actual procedure that is being performed. On average, the duration of this kind of surgery is around three or four hours. Besides the actual procedure, at least one hour before and one hour after the surgery will be necessary. The hour before will be used in order to prep the surgical field, administer the anesthesia and other things like that. The hour after the surgery is necessary for post-operative initial care. The duration of the surgery might increase if there are complications with the surgery.
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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
How Long Does Heart Bypass Surgery Recovery Usually Take
After CABG, most people stay in the hospital for 5 to 7 days. While youre there, you can expect the following:
You will probably be on a ventilator, or breathing machine. In most cases, the ventilator can be removed after a few hours.
You will also have little patches with wires attached to your chest that allow your medical team to monitor your heart rate and rhythm.
You will have tubes coming out of your chest, which drain fluid and help your lungs recover.
You will have several other smaller tubes that go into your blood vessels. Medications are given through intravenous catheters. Others are used to monitor your blood pressure and heart function.
The surgeon has to cut through the breastbone, or sternum, to get to your heart. So, you will have a bandage or dressing down the center of your chest to keep that area clean and protected.
Over the next few days, as you recover, those tubes will gradually be removed. And even while you have those tubes in place, your care team, including nurses and therapists, will get you out of bed as soon as it is safe. Moving around helps your breathing, blood flow, and strength. Although this sounds uncomfortable, medication will help to ease the process.
When you leave the hospital, you will likely go home. But if you are very weak or need extra help, you may go to a rehabilitation hospital for a few weeks. There you can rebuild your strength and make sure youre ready to resume daily activities.
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What Happens During Open
Heart surgery is complex. Some surgeries may take six hours or longer. You will receive anesthesia and be asleep during the procedure.
Surgery steps vary depending on the heart condition and procedure. In general, your surgeon:
- Makes a 6- to 8-inch long incision down the middle of your chest.
- Cuts the breastbone and spreads your ribcage apart to reach your heart.
- Connects the heart to a heart-lung bypass machine, if youll have an on-pump surgery. An anesthesiologist gives IV medication to stop your heart from beating and monitors you during the surgery.
- Repairs your heart.
- Restores blood flow to your heart. Usually, your heart starts beating on its own. Sometimes, the heart needs a mild electrical shock to restart it.
- Disconnects the heart-lung bypass machine.
- Closes the breastbone or other incision with wires or sutures that remain in your body.
- Uses stitches to close the skin incision.
From Hospital Discharge To Six Weeks
As you begin getting back into your routine, remember to start with small tasks and take plenty of breaks. Dont overdo it.
After you leave the hospital, unless your surgeon says otherwise, you may return to activities such as:
- Light cleaning.
- Climbing stairs.
Some things are still off limits, though.Dont lift, pull or push anything that weighs more than 10 pounds. Its too soon to drive, too, but its OK to ride in a car.
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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.
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.
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The Ultimate Guide For Open Heart Surgery Patients
Your practical guide to a smooth recovery after heart surgery.
The following advice is for guidance only.
Reading time: 35 min.
Returning to daily day life after heart surgery can seem overwhelming. Your journey to recovery will be easier when you know what to expect during the healing period and when you have the right tools to assist you.
Plan for a stress-free recovery without complications by making preparations before your surgery and learn what you need to do and have ready when returning home. Read on
Open Heart Surgery Recovery Time
In my opinion, the recovery time from heart valve repair and heart valve replacement surgery needs much, much, much more attention and patient education.
“Why does Adam say that?” you might be wondering.
Well… Leading up to my open heart surgery, much of the focus was strictly on the surgical process of replacing my diseased heart valve.
The key questions raised during this time were:
- “Which surgical option should I chose?”
- “What type of valve replacement should I select?”
- “Who will be my surgeon?”
- “Where will the surgery take place?”
- “How much will the surgery cost?”
Needless to say, these are all incredibly important questions.
Yet, as I look back on it, neither my cardiologist or surgeon sat me down to discuss open heart surgery recovery time.
It is true that I received some coaching on the “do’s and don’ts” of heart valve surgery recovery. I receiving a ten-page handout upon hospital discharge. However, I never received a detailed, comprehensive set of verbal or written instructions to accelerate or appropriately pace my open heart surgery recovery time.
As a result, my recovery was filled with many unexpected challenges and pitfalls. To some extent, my recovery turned into a rollercoaster – with multiple “ups” and “downs”. Some of the issues I faced included cardiac depression, sternum pain and Vicodin addiction.
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Patient Realities About Open Heart Surgery Recovery Time
In creating this website and writing my book, I decided to find out if I was alone in these thoughts. That said, I ran an extensive survey. I asked hundreds patients about their recovery experience.
As I learned during this research, most heart valve surgery patients surveyed suggested that heart valve surgery recovery was “more difficult than expected”. The patients surveyed also suggested that their cardiologists and surgeons could have better prepared them for their recovery.
My research suggested that the recovery time from heart surgery has a significant range. When answering the question, “How long did it take you to return to work?”, some patients stated they felt recovered in 2 to 3 weeks. Others responsed that it took over 15 weeks to recover from heart surgery.
I also wanted to get surgeon feedback. So, at the Heart Valve Summit, I filmed this interview with Dr. David Adams, the Surgeon-in-Chief at Mount Sinai Health System in New York City, New York. It was interesting to hear Dr. Adams’ research and clinical experience as he has treated thousands of patients during his 20+ year career.
What Happens After Open
Depending on the procedure, you may stay in the hospital intensive care unit for a day or longer. When youre ready, you will move to a regular hospital room.
You can expect to stay several days in the hospital. Your heart care team will explain how to care for your incision. You may have a special firm pillow to protect your chest when you cough, sneeze or get out of bed.
After surgery, you may experience:
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A Chest Pillow Is A Must
Having a pillow to stabilize your chest is a must. Most hospitals will send you home with one, but if they dont, make sure to get one. Chest pillows can help you when you sleep, sneeze, and cough they have has many uses. I had a pillow with me for almost a year after my last surgery and I still usee one during long trips in the car.
Preparing For The Surgery
Preparation for open heart surgery starts the night before. A person should eat an evening meal as usual but must not consume any food or drink after midnight.
It is a good idea to wear loose, comfortable clothing to assist with restricted movement following surgery, but wear whatever is comfortable.
Be sure to have all personal medical information on hand. This might include a list of medications, recent illness, and insurance information.
It is normal to feel anxious before an anesthetic, and people should not hesitate to seek reassurance from the healthcare team.
The doctor may request that the person washes their upper body with antibacterial soap. A member of the healthcare team may need to shave the persons chest area before they can have the anesthetic.
The doctors may also need to run tests before surgery, such as monitoring the heart or taking blood samples. A doctor or nurse might place a line into a vein to enable the delivery of fluids.
After the medical team has completed the preliminary tasks, the anesthesiologist will administer general anesthesia.
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When Can The Patient Start With Regular Exercise Routine After The Surgery
Regular exercise routine should be started after around 10 weeks of the surgery. Once the patient advances in the cardiac rehabilitation program, the heart becomes stronger to keep up and endure with the cardio. The patient can start enjoying jogging, golf, and even tennis if the patient wishes to do so. No matter what exercise, but it is recommended that the patient should indulge in any form of it for at least 30 minutes, five times a week. This keeps the patients heart healthy and under control and also provides the required rest.
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.
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Getting Through The First Weeks At Home
The first few weeks after hospital discharge can be tough both physically and emotionally for many who have had heart surgery. Fear of pain, fatigue, worry, stress, or being overwhelmed about how to comply with drastic changes in lifestyle including a new diet may create common emotions like:
- Mood swings, Irritability, sadness, crying frequently
- Distressed about not yet being able to return to work
- Frustration about having strict activity limitations such as lifting and driving restrictions
- Difficulty concentrating, low or lack of energy, easily fatigued
- Intermittent pain with the need for pain medication
- Sleep disturbances
- Commonly symptoms of depression
If you go through some or all of these feelings it is important you remember that they are very normal and usually do not last long. A change in our health situation has an effect on our feelings too, not only on our bodies. You will experience good days and bad days. As you increase your daily activity, follow your exercise plan and get plenty of rest. This will help you to an emotional recovery as well.
Start seeing family and friends with visits limited to 15 minutes the first week at home. Talk over your feelings and progress with your loved ones. As you start feeling stronger and less tired, you can increase your time with visitors.
Most likely your cardiologist will prescribe pain medication for you to use at home. Make sure to follow the instructions strictly on how to take them.
Rest and Sleep
How Do You Care For Someone After Open Heart Surgery
The thought of caring for your spouse after open heart surgery may be daunting. How do you know what to do or how to take care of them? Dont worry: your doctor will likely send you home with a lengthy list of post-surgical care tips, possibly including some suggestions for what to wear after open heart surgery, like a post-thorax vest to protect your loved ones sternum.
The most important thing to remember about caring for a loved one after surgery is to be prepared: know what kinds of meals might be best for healing, what type of transportation schedule youll need to set up to get them to and from rehabilitation appointments, what kinds of home-health aids they might need , and how to help manage their pain or nausea levels.
Post-surgical rehabilitation will likely include some form of physical therapy or occupational therapy. Youll want to discuss options for senior rehabilitation centers with your doctor to ensure you understand the basics of rehabilitation therapy and how to choose the senior care facility thats right for you or your loved one. For more information, read our blog post about how to determine when a senior might need rehabilitation therapy!
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A Better Approach To Cardiac Bypass Surgery: Less Pain Less Risk And Less Recovery Time
This post is available in: Spanish
Learning you need cardiac bypass surgery can be worrisome. Fortunately, Miami Cardiac & Vascular Institute offers a minimally invasive approach to this procedure, eliminating the need to cut open your chest or stop your heart, and greatly reducing pain and recovery time.
Even better, the Institutes chief of cardiac surgery, Joseph McGinn Jr., M.D., is internationally recognized for pioneering this minimally invasive coronary artery bypass graft surgery. Known as the McGinn Technique, the innovative surgery is currently performed routinely in only a handful of American hospitals, but is likely to become tomorrows standard of care, he says.
This blows away regular surgery, Dr. McGinn says. Eventually, it is going to be part of every surgeons repertoire.
When You Need Bypass Surgery
Coronary artery bypass surgery is a procedure used to treat the narrowing of the arteries that supply oxygen and nutrients to the heart. Cardiologists may recommend bypass surgery if coronary arteries are so narrowed or blocked that you run a high risk of a heart attack.
Joseph McGinn, Jr., M.D., chief of Cardiac Surgery at Miami Cardiac & Vascular Institute.
Is The Minimally Invasive Approach For You?
How It Works
The traditional approach to bypass surgery can be grueling for patients, who often endure considerable pain and a recovery time of three months or longer.
What You Need To Know