Heart Surgery Recovery
Heart Surgery Recovery
With the sensitivity, complexity, and extent of most cardiac medical operations, heart surgery recovery may be considered just as important as the actual procedure itself. To some, the end of surgery may signal that a patient is already out of the woods and that the recovery would already qualify as a walk in the park. It is this type of mindset that can lead to serious complications post-heart surgery and emphasizes the need to pay attention to a patient’s condition after the procedure has been completed.
There are a number of areas where heart surgery recovery is of vital importance to a patient’s well-being. Subsequently, it is these areas that demand the most attention and care to ensure that a patient recovers without any undue complications.
Care of the surgery incision. Depending on the exact type of procedure that was preformed, a post-heart surgery incision can either be as small as a couple of inches or as big as the length of the upper chest. As with most wounds, preventing the onset of infection is a paramount consideration. For this, proper wound care must be duly exercised. The wound has to be kept clean and dry with the recommended ointments applied to disinfect the area. A healthy and balanced diet is also crucial to recovery as elevated levels of blood sugar can actually prolong a wound’s natural healing rate.
Pain relief. As the anesthesia from the procedure wears off, the pain is the most pressing concern that a patient has to deal with during heart recovery surgery. It should be emphasized however that the pain should only be limited to the incision and not cardiac pain as was previously experienced prior surgery. The best way to manage this is with prescribed pain medications with dosages specifically tailored to the condition. Always make sure that the prescription is followed to the letter to prevent any lasting pain that may worsen the condition of the patient during recovery.
Exercise. As the patient slowly gains mobility and experiences a lower degree of pain at far less frequent intervals, physical therapy and exercise can begin. Exercise is crucial to regaining one’s full muscle faculties especially in the case where vein grafts were used and the pain extended to the legs. Slow walking sessions during the morning and early evening will help strengthen the legs and back ensuring that the body slowly but surely recovers from an extended bed rest. This is an essential preparatory stage so the patient can resume doing his or her normal daily routines once heart surgery recovery has been completed.
Activity level. There is no set duration for heart surgery recovery. It depends on the specific case and can vary anywhere from 8 weeks to a year. However, careful attention should be given to gradually increasing one’s activity level, easing the patient through the various tasks as may be required. This applies to household chores, particularly those that require lifting of objects. The best recommendation remains to be those that are specified by your attending physician so make sure to regularly check and consult to ensure that the patient is not rushing too fast.
Heart surgery recovery is a sensitive time for the patient but if done properly, it will lead to resumption of normal activities without any complications. The key is to pace the patient through the recovery period until he or she is ready to resume taking the world by storm. Until then, respect the need for baby steps, one small achievement at a time.