Heart Bypass Surgery Recovery
Essentials During A Heart Bypass Surgery Recovery
The self care of patients, and the attentiveness of healthcare providers and significant others are the important factors when it comes to a heart bypass surgery recovery. It is during this stage (recovery) when everything else falls into place - the success of the surgery, the longevity of the patient, and the kind of life a person who underwent an operation may live is determined in this phase.
To a healthcare provider such as a nurse or a doctor, recovery starts immediately after the operation. It is when the patient is closely monitored for any changes, positive or not, which may affect his/her recovery. This stage ends when a patient is discharged from the hospital, although not permanently since follow up visits to the physician's clinic is an option a bypass patient cannot do without. However, to a patient, the person responsible for the remainder of his life, recovery begins after there is a handover of care from healthcare providers to him, through a discharge summary.
Before one leaves the hospital, he/she is provided with self-care instructions during the heart bypass surgery recovery phase. These directives can be done independently by each patient, and are to be faithfully followed to ensure maximum benefits of the newly operated organ.
The Release Instructions
Caring for the incisions is the most important part a patient partakes. Incisions should be kept clean and dry at all times, and only soap and water should be used to wash the area. Putting ointments and oils, or other creams, are pretty much discouraged unless indicated because it will increase the likelihood of wound infection. To promote healing, following a specific diet prescribed by the physician must be strictly followed.
Quick showers are generally allowed during the heart bypass surgery recovery period, but only if the incision is dry and is starting to heal. However, it is still not good to soak in the tub during this time. In addition to having a lukewarm temperature of water, regular soaps are normally used instead of the perfumed ones since most of these products contain residues that may not be beneficial to the operative site. Rubbing the incisions is not appropriate, not until the scabs are gone and the skin is fully healed.
Pain is a major concern in any health problem and should be dealt with immediately. Pain relief medications are given during the recovery phase until the patient leaves the healthcare setting. However, any pain that is not alleviated by this measure should be reported to the physician, or any new onset of pain different to what is usually felt. This can be a sign of other problems. Since a bypass surgery routinely extracts grafts from the veins of the legs, moving the lower extremities through walking or some other daily activities will help soothe the discomfort and stiffness to the area.
Some patients return home with swelling on the legs and feet, and this is typical when vein grafts are extracted from the legs. Nevertheless, there are measures to help relieve this symptom. One way is to elevate the legs regularly, higher than the heart level, for about one hour at least three times a day. This can be achieved by lying on the bed while putting several pillows under the legs, or hanging the legs on the couch while lying on the floor. Patients can also put on TED stockings or support hose to reduce swelling. Crossing the legs when sitting can increase the swelling, thus it is prohibited. Even with swollen limbs, walking is encouraged to help increase circulation to the area.
Medications are always prescribed when the patient is on the heart bypass surgery recovery time. These drugs may be needed until full recovery from the surgery is achieved, but some may need to be taken lifelong. The correct time, dose, and drug should be religiously followed. It is also important for a patient to know the role of these drugs and how they affect the body. If there are medications that are not prescribed, the attending doctor should be informed before taking anything. Some of these drugs may have a negative effect on the prescribed medications or may hinder the effectiveness of the drug.
Recovery after the surgery usually takes months, and the doctor usually recommends rest to the patient. Patients may have to take a temporary leave from their work. Gradual increase of activity is suggested to decrease stress on the heart. Driving is not allowed until reflexes have improved and the sternum has healed.
Patients and their partners mostly feel fearful about resuming sexual activity. Climbing one or two flights of stairs, or brisk walking for about a kilometer is equal to the amount of stress during intercourse. If the patient cannot tolerate these activities, then it is recommended to allow more recovery time before resuming sexual activity. Partners should discuss this situation.
Sleep and a healthy diet are other factors beneficial to the recovery of the patient, Following a healthy diet will help hasten wound healing, fight infection, promote healthy well being, and improve the overall performance of the body. During the recovery period, eating small, more frequent meals is followed since patients usually have a poor appetite. On the other hand, getting enough sleep will help patients feel rested and comfortable. However, insomnia is a common problem among bypass patients, and doctors often prescribe drugs to promote sleep. Nonetheless, normal sleep patters return within a few months.
Lastly, regular follow-up appointments with the physician must be made by each patient to assess the progress of the recovery. Doctors know better of the health regimens one may take during this period, thus; guidelines from the doctor should be strictly followed. They provide plans of care to promote timely and healthy recovery, and reduction of any complications.
During the heart bypass surgery recovery phase, the patients are in total control of their body. That's why they are left with health instructions from their health providers to guide them and reduce the risk of complication. If the outcomes are not met, and there are problems along the way, then it is generally the lack of commitment of the patient to adhere to the treatment plan. However, if these things should happen, the care providers are readily available to nurse patients back to their recovery.