Top 5 Tips to Prepare for Heart Surgery

Posted by Heart Hugger on Jul 17, 2015 9:23:00 PM

Doctors tips for heart surgery preparation

You want to be prepared for the six to eight-week process after heart surgery. As the patient, if you are properly prepared you can help to speed up your cardiac surgery rehabilitation process. Below are five tips to help in your preparations.

1. Coordinate Your Helpers

If you have just returned home from the hospital after having CABG surgery, you may need help. You may not be able to perform simple day-to-day activities, such as driving, shopping, or cleaning. Moreover, you may need emotional support as well.

Compile a list of individuals who are willing to help you and try to secure two primary individuals to take care of most of your needs, as well as monitor the number of visitors who come to see you.

Here are the things you can ask your helpers or caregivers to help you with: 

  • Everyday activities. Due to physical limitations after the surgery, you may not be able to perform simple tasks. Your caregiver or helper can help you with such things as shopping and preparing food, cleaning (a clean house is crucial for heart surgery recovery), driving, organizing the medicines, and walking (daily walks also contribute to recovery)
  • Emotional support. You may also need emotional support. Your caregiver can support you by offering encouragement, offering help, and asking if they can participate in doctor visits. 

2. Prepare Your Body

Preparing for heart surgery is important. You need to prepare your body in order to minimize your risks and maximize recovery. Here is what you can do: 

  • Quit drinking and smoking. You should quit these two habits at least two weeks before your surgery because both smoking and drinking have a negative impact on the recovery process. They delay recovery, impair the liver function, immune system, and have other effects on the body. 
  • Start breathing exercises. You will receive a special device called an incentive spirometer (IS). The purpose of this device is to help you take deep breaths before the surgery. You should use it as much as possible, preferably a few weeks before the surgery. This device will help you minimize the risk of pneumonia and other lung problems after surgery. 
  • See your dentist. It is important to check your teeth before the surgery because certain dental issues can lead to endocarditis - a condition characterized by an infection of the heart's lining. 
  • Watch what you eat and stay physically active. You should start taking care of yourself weeks before the surgery in order to recover as fast as possible. 
  • Follow the instructions from your doctor. At your presurgery appointment, your doctor will provide you with the essential information about the operation, medications, instructions for how to wash, etc. It is very important to follow these instructions. 
  • Appoint a point person. You should choose a family member or a friend who will be your designee and give their contact details and the name to your surgical team. 

3. Collect Your Comforts

Your home needs to be ready for your return home from the hospital. Here is a list of things you can do for yourself: 

  • Set up a bed on the first floor, so you do not have to climb the stairs
  • Make sure a bathroom is on the same floor
  • Place the things you often use in the kitchen on the counter.
  • Make sure your phone is always accessible, and you can get to it anytime
  • Make or buy single meals, so you can freeze and reheat them. 
  • Make sure you have enough food, personal items, and other supplies, so there is no need to do shopping. 

4. Prepare Your Mind

Though it is best to avoid stress, you will face certain stresses, due to bills or maybe certain individuals. Try to prepare yourself by having calming activities on hand. Here are a few of the things you should be ready for:

  • Depression. In the first few weeks after the surgery, you may feel depressed. In order to combat depression, you should spend more time with your family members and friends, rest, and exercise.
  • Anxiety. Many people feel anxious after the surgery because anxiety is often caused by pain. You can take pain medication or try distraction and relaxation techniques that are very helpful. 
  • Feeling fuzzy. Many patients suffer from cognitive aftershocks that are characterized by impaired motor skills, trouble concentrating, and delayed response times. 

5. Have Proper Communication Channels

When you are too exhausted to talk, different communication channels such as text, email, or social media can be very helpful in getting in touch with loved ones. If they aren't able to come to visit you often and check in on your recovery, they will appreciate a text update or social media post to know you are doing well. 

Implementing these tips can help cultivate a smooth cardiac surgery rehabilitation process. There are also some devices that can help you recover faster after your surgery, and one of them is Heart Hugger Sternum Support Harness. If you want to know more about it, you can contact us, and we will get back to you as soon as we can.

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Written by Heart Hugger

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