Open Heart Surgery – Your visit with the heart surgeon

December 8, 2009 by  
Filed under Education

Your heart will explain the results of your tests and why surgery is being recommended. He will also explain the surgical procedure and the results you can expect. He will tell you about the risks of having or not having the surgery, the benefits of having the surgery and any options you have in place of surgery. You must consider the balance of the risks you will be taking and the benefits you will receive. Don’t be afraid of offending the surgeon or embarrassing yourself by asking questions about anything you don’t understand. Remember, the more you know, the more you will become confident about your decision. The following is a list of questions to help you get started.

Questions to ask

These are basic questions to ask your surgeon. If you think of others, write them down and bring them with you to your visit. Go over the list with your spouse and family. Ask if they have other questions they would like to have answered. Before you leave the surgeon???s office, try to get all your questions answered. Be sure you understand everything clearly. If you think of questions after you leave, write them down and call your surgeon back.

  • How will the surgery improve my condition?
  • Tell me again what will happen during the surgery?
  • Will I need blood transfusions?
  • How long will the surgery last?
  • How long will I be in the intensive care unit (ICU or CCU)?
  • How much pain should I expect and how will it be controlled?
  • What will the scar look like?
  • What are the possible complications of surgery, and how likely are they to happen?
  • Can I recover completely from this surgery? If so, how long will it take?
  • How long will I be in the hospital?
  • How long will my recovery take after I am home?
  • What will I be able to do and not do during recovery?
  • Will I need special equipment when I get home?
  • When can I return to work?
  • If I choose not to have surgery, will I get worse or remain the same?
  • Is there an alternative treatment that does not involve surgery?
  • How long do I have to decide?
  • If I decide to have the surgery, how soon should I have it?

Making your decision

Once you have the information you need to consider all your options, you may be surprised that the best decision for you is becoming pretty clear. That doesn’t mean that it’s an easy decision to make, but at least it will be one you will feel good about and will know what to expect as a result of your decision.

Tags: Evaluation methods, Nursing, surgeon, heart surgeon, open heart surgery, Surgery

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