Cardiac Surgery Recovery

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Cardiac Surgery Recovery

One of the most important components of post-operative care for patients with a heart problem is cardiac surgery recovery. Due to the very sensitive nature of cardiac surgeries, patients are put through a very rigorous set of recovery activities that are intended to fast-track the healing process as well as ensure that the heart is strong enough to handle the rigors of everyday living.

Cardiac surgery recovery begins the moment the patient comes out of the operation room. At this stage, the patient is hooked up to machines that monitor vital indicators such as blood pressure, O2 saturation and others. Medication is still constantly being administered to help the body overcome the strain of the operation so that the patient can slowly but surely take baby steps to full recovery.

Once the patient is out of the hospital, the true nature of cardiac surgery recovery can begin. These can be subdivided in multiple facets of care:

•Caring for the incision. The wound is the most sensitive thing to care for right after surgery. It can be prone to infection or wound re-opening if movement of the patient is not controlled. For this, the wound will have to be cleaned properly and constant communication with the doctor will be necessary in the event that the wound develops an infection.

•Pain management. There are plenty of pain medications available to the patient but the dosage must be properly monitored.

•Physical exercise. Strenuous activities are never recommended during cardiac surgery recovery but a properly planned series of activities designed to strengthen the heart can be a real lifesaver. Among these include regular walking sessions as provided by the doctor or rehabilitation specialist during the early stages of recovery. Consequently, pushing or moving heavy objects is a big “no” for patients on the path to recovery and should be carefully monitored so as not to cause any stress on the newly operated heart.

•Dieting. Food will need to be controlled in order to ensure the steady supply of nutrients necessary for recovery without forcing the patient to eat portions beyond what the appetite demands. Smaller portions on a higher frequency are important to slowly acclimate the patients to eating again post-operation.

In most cases, family members hire extra help in order to manage the cardiac surgery recovery phase. This can either be done with a professional nurse, caregiver, or the services of a more qualified cardiac rehabilitation specialist. The specialist is trained to plan and implement activities that suit the needs of the patients and facilitate recovery. These are instrumental especially in critical conditions when there are very stringent restrictions imposed upon a patient who just came out of a very delicate procedure.

The increased success of cardiac operation in recent years can be directly attributed to our increased understanding of the demands of cardiac surgery recovery. If done correctly, this allows patients to resume normal activities in as short a period as 3 to 6 months without any lasting side effects from the surgery. Keeping this in mind, it is very important that patients and family members alike realize the value of sticking to a pre-defined cardiac surgery recovery plan in order to maximize the recovery while reducing the risks for a recurrence of the heart ailment.