The thought of undergoing any type of heart surgery can be overwhelming. Although you may be nervous, it is important to remember that doctors perform successful heart surgeries every day all over the world.
Doing your part to be prepared for the operation can go a long way in calming your nerves. Talk early and often to your physician about the procedure and focus your thoughts on the end goal: to have a healthier, stronger heart.
Before the Surgery
You will most likely arrive to the hospital the day before your surgery, depending on whether you are undergoing an emergency or planned procedure.
Be ready for potential X-rays, blood tests and continuous monitoring as your surgical team gathers all pertinent patient information.
Be sure to ask any questions you may have regarding the operation, hospital facilities or potential effects after surgery.
During the Surgery
You will be given anesthesia to cause deep sleep and freedom from pain, which generally means you will remember nothing of the operation.
Depending on the scope, heart surgeries usually take three to five hours, according to American Heart Association. Family members and friends are usually allowed to stay in the waiting room, and can be notified shorty after your surgery.
After the operation, you will be transported to the intensive care or recovery unit to begin your rehabilitation from surgery.
After the Surgery
Depending on what type of surgery you have, the road to recovery can be filled with certain challenges, especially if you’re used to exerting yourself physically.
You will most likely be under strict doctor’s orders to rest and avoid even moderate exercise while your heart and body heal from surgery.
Again, remember your end goal. You have made it through all of the preparation, as well as the actual surgery, and must be cautious not to take on extra physical or mental stress. Doing so can set back your recovery time and even cause complications.