Like any major operation, a heart operation places stress on your entire body. You are going to feel more tired than usual and be unsure about what you can do and when you can do it.
At first, your recovery may seem slow. Some days will be better than others. Increase your activity level slowly. Listen to your body and use common sense. Your recovery time will depend on your age, your general level of health, your activity level before the operation, and your progress after the operation.
Do not lift more than 15 pounds before your first follow-up appointment with your surgeon.
Do not drive for 6 weeks after your surgery.
Take a shower every day and wash your incisions gently with water and non-scented soap. Don’t scrub. Let the water run over your incisions to rinse off the soap. If your chest is sensitive to the shower spray, turn your back to the showerhead. Then move around so that the water runs over your shoulders and onto your chest. If you find it too tiring to stand in the shower, sit on a sturdy stool or chair that is meant for the shower.
Avoid direct sunlight on your healing incision (and later the scar). Four to six weeks after your incision is well healed, you can use sunscreen to protect the scar tissue.
Women should wear a good support bra, without wires, because if helps prevent pulling on the incision and helps lessen discomfort. If your bra irritates your incision, put some gauze over the affected area.
Call your surgeon's office if your incision is red, warm to the touch or has discharge or a bad smelling odour.
How can I manage my medications?
The medications that you will be taking when you go home will depend upon the type of operation you had and your medical conditions. Some of the medications you were taking before your operation may be stopped and new medications may be added.
You should know the following about each medication:
If you are started on Warfarin (Coumadin ®) while in hospital, please make sure that you or a family member attends the Warfarin education class before being discharged from hospital.
Unless you are told otherwise, you will be taking your medications until your first check up with your family doctor and/or cardiologist. At this appointment, your family doctor/cardiologist will tell you which medications you will continue to take.
Call 911 to take you to the nearest Emergency Department if you:
Call your surgeon's office if you notice the following symptoms:
To make or change appointments, call your surgeon's office.