Open Heart Surgery – A final note – when to call your doctor

December 8, 2009 by  
Filed under Education

After you get home you may feel a little nervous and worried about being on your own. Well, don’t sit and worry if you think something is not right about your health or healing. If you have any of the following signs of a or infection call your doctor, cardiologist or . Keep their numbers handy. If the signs tell you it’s an emergency and you are not able to reach your doctors, call 911 immediately.

Your stitches or staples will be removed within 10 to 14 days after . You should check your incision every day. Call you doctor if you have signs of infection listed below.

Warning signs of infection

  • red, hot and swollen incisions(s)
  • smelling discharge coming from an incision
  • a temperature over 100 degrees for a few days
  • chest congestion, coughing, and problems with breathing at rest

Warning signs of a heart attack

  • intense, steady pressure or burning pain in the center of your chest
  • pain that starts in the center of the chest and goes to a shoulder and arm (usually the left) or both shoulders and arms, back, neck and jaw
  • prolonged pain in the upper abdomen
  • nausea, vomiting, profuse sweating
  • shortness of breath, looking pale
  • dizziness, light-headedness or fainting
  • frequent angina attacks like you may have had before surgery
  • a sense of anxiety or doom

Warning signs of an emergency

  • your are bleeding a lot of bright red blood or you see blood clots
  • you have a sharp pain that does not go away with your pain medicine
  • your incision(s) opens
  • if you had leg surgery, your leg turns blue or you lose feeling in your leg
  • your fever goes up fast or is over 101 degrees
  • you have allergic reactions to medicines you are taking
Tags: cardiologist, Surgery, heart attack, ER, incision, Aging-associated diseases, surgeon, heart surgery

Open Heart Surgery – On the road to recovery

December 8, 2009 by  
Filed under Education

Each patient’s recovery rate is different, especially after a coronary artery bypass surgery. How quickly you recover will depend in part on your physical health before surgery and how complex and extensive your heart surgery was. The first step in recovery is when you can breathe deeply and cough to clear your lungs. When you can do this, your breathing tube will be removed and replaced with an oxygen mask. This could happen as soon as the day after your surgery. Your doctor will then have you moved from the ICU to another area of the hospital. Your care will continue as follows:

  • you will continue to have electrocardiograms to record your heart rhythm
  • you will wear an oxygen mask as needed
  • you will continue to have blood tests
  • your fluid intake and output will be monitored
  • the nurses will help you with turning in bed, coughing and deep breathing exercises
  • you will start with ice chips and sips of fluid, then solid food

Taking part in your recovery

As you become more active, you will become more involved in your own recovery – even while you are still in the hospital. Here are some activities you can do:

  • eat right – healthy food helps you heal
  • keep your lungs free of fluid, which can lead to pneumonia, by practicing your deep breathing and coughing exercises
  • get out of bed as soon as you can so your muscles stay strong; start slowly sitting on the side of the bed, then the chair, then short walks, then longer walks
  • do the recommended leg exercises to keep your legs muscles strong
  • wear elastic or support stockings if your doctor ordered them
  • use a chair with a firm back when sitting with pillows on the chair arms; raise your feet to the same height if your legs or feet swell, but don’t cross your legs (this slows blood flow)

Because of your surgery and limited movement right after, fluid can build up in your lungs. This fluid can cause pneumonia and keep you keep you in the hospital. Therefore, it is very important that you take deep breaths and cough often. You may be given an incentive spirometer to help you breathe correctly. To ease the pain when you cough, support your chest incision with a pillow or your hands.

Good days and bad days

After the first few days when you’ve come through the worst of it, your emotions may get the best of you. Don’t be surprised if you have good days and bad days. You may cry more easily, have bad dreams, not be able to concentrate or just feel afraid or down. Some of this is related to stress, lack of sleep and the effects of the anesthesia and other medicines. It’s not pleasant, but it’s normal after what you’ve been through. Don’t pretend you feel OK when you don’t. Let your family and the hospital staff know. Both you and your family may benefit a lot by talking to a rehabilitation counselor.

Better days ahead

As you near the end of your hospital stay, you will become really anxious to return home. Your mental outlook will improve and your physical recovery may even speed up once you’re home. Family, familiar surroundings and peace and quiet can help a lot.

Before you leave the hospital, you will receive instructions from your cardiac health care team about a number of things. These include :

  • how to care for your incision(s)
  • your new heart-healthy diet
  • a list of physical activities you can do during the next 6-12 weeks
  • recommended exercises
  • a list of special equipment, medicines or supplies you will need
  • the date of your first follow-up visit

Once you’re at home, pace yourself. Follow your doctor’s instructions. Be aware of how you feel during everyday activities. You will be able to tell when you can increase the amount or level of activity. When you are tired, rest. When you’re hungry, eat – but eat heart healthy foods.

Congratulations! You’re on your way. There are better days ahead!

A final note – when to call your doctor

After you get home you may feel a little nervous and worried about being on your own. Well, don’t sit and worry if you think something is not right about your health or healing. If you have any of the following signs of a or infection call your doctor, cardiologist or . Keep their numbers handy. If the signs tell you it’s an emergency and you are not able to reach your doctors, call 911 immediately.

Your stitches or staples will be removed within 10 to 14 days after surgery. You should check your incision every day. Call you doctor if you have signs of infection.

Warning signs of infection

  • red, hot and swollen incisions(s)
  • smelling discharge coming from an incision
  • a temperature over 100 degrees for a few days
  • chest congestion, coughing, and problems with breathing at rest

Warning signs of a heart attack

  • intense, steady pressure or burning pain in the center of your chest
  • pain that starts in the center of the chest and goes to a shoulder and arm (usually the left) or both shoulders and arms, back, neck and jaw
  • prolonged pain in the upper abdomen
  • nausea, vomiting, profuse sweating
  • shortness of breath, looking pale
  • dizziness, light-headedness or fainting
  • frequent angina attacks like you may have had before surgery
  • a sense of anxiety or doom

Warning signs of an emergency

  • your are bleeding a lot of bright red blood or you see blood clots
  • you have a sharp pain that does not go away with your pain medicine
  • your incision(s) opens
  • if you had leg surgery, your leg turns blue or you lose feeling in your leg
  • your fever goes up fast or is over 101 degrees
  • you have allergic reactions to medicines you are taking
Tags: surgeon, chest incision, Surgery, rehabilitation counselor, heart surgery, heart attack, Cough CPR

Open Heart Surgery – Getting Ready for open heart surgery

December 8, 2009 by  
Filed under Education

Usually, can be scheduled days or weeks in advance. It will depend upon how serious your heart condition is, your schedule and the ‘s schedule. If you have a week or two before surgery, use this time wisely. Check with your surgeon about:

  • exercise – Should you start, stop or continue exercises?
  • diet – Should you change your diet in any way?
  • weight – Would it help your recovery to lose or gain a few pounds?
  • smoking – If you smoke, can your doctor recommend a stop smoking program?
  • medicines – What medicines should you start, stop or continue taking? Remember to ask about all medicines that you take regularly or occasionally, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines.

Also, be sure to:

  • rest, relax – Take good care of your physical and mental health. Don’t overdo things. And make sure you plan some enjoyable activities to relax your mind and give your spirits a lift.
  • report health changes – Tell your doctor if you have any signs of infection, like chills, fever, coughing, runny nose, within a week of your scheduled surgery. If an infection continues, surgery may have to be rescheduled.

A special note about smoking

Not only is smoking bad for your health, but it could affect your recovery. Since most hospitals are “smoke free”, you will have to quit smoking when you go into the hospital. This means you will be going through nicotine withdrawal when your body is trying to recover from surgery. So, do yourself a big favor. Quit smoking now, and your mind and body will be able to focus on healing, not withdrawal.

Making arrangements for surgery

Whether you’re having major surgery or minor surgery, you should always have a family member or friend with you. Even when you are going for the pre-admission tests (explained later), it’s a good idea to have someone with you. He or she can listen and take notes for you – or simply hold your hand if that’s what you need! So give your family or friend plenty of notice about your upcoming tests and surgery. Also, now is a good time to make a list of any medicines you are taking and any allergies to medicines, food, etc. that you may have. Take this list with you when you go to the hospital so you don’t forget anything.

Pre-admission procedures

A few days before surgery you will need to have certain tests. Your surgeon’s office staff will tell you where to go and which tests you will need. If you have had any of these tests recently, ask your surgeon if a copy of your test results will do in place of redoing the tests. You may need:

  • a chest x-ray to see how well your lungs work
  • an electrocardiogram (ECG) and/or an echocardiogram (ECHO) that shows how your heart is working
  • blood tests that show chemistry and blood counts
  • a urine analysis

There will be paperwork to complete. You will be asked:

  • to fill out insurance forms, or provide authorization forms from your insurance company; make sure you bring your insurance card(s)
  • if you brought written orders from your doctor or lab test results
  • the name, address and telephone number of someone to contact in case of emergency

You will be told about your rights for advanced directives (your options for life support if that’s needed) and asked for a copy of your living will and health care power-of-attorney. You must sign a surgical consent form. This is a legal paper that says your surgeon has told you about your surgery and any risks you are taking. By signing this form you are saying that you agree to have the surgery and know the risks involved. Ask your doctor about any concerns you have before you sign this form.

Blood transfusion

Surgical methods today reduce much of the blood loss during surgery. However, you may need a blood transfusion. If so, your blood will be matched carefully with blood that has been carefully tested. The blood you receive can come from:

  • a blood bank – this blood supply is from the American Red Cross and is safer today than it has ever been
  • a designated donor – this can be a family member who has the same type of blood that you do
  • you (autologous blood donation) – you will donate blood at a local blood bank or hospital

Ask your surgeon which would be best for you. If you donate blood, you must do it in plenty of time for surgery. Also, be sure to eat and drink as directed if you decide to donate blood.

Tags: Surgery, Transfusion medicine, surgeon, major surgery, heart surgery, Blood donation, Allergies, Hematology, Blood, Cardiac surgery

Open Heart Surgery – Types of open-heart surgery

December 8, 2009 by  
Filed under Education

Consider yourself lucky to need now and not more than 20 years ago. It wasn’t until the mid-1970s that the heart-lung bypass machine, which takes the place of your heart and lungs and keeps you alive during the operation, could be used safely. This machine plus improved surgical techniques and medicines, more sophisticated monitoring machines and more experienced surgeons have made open-heart surgeries widely accepted and much safer today.

The following are brief /explanations of certain kinds of open-heart surgery:

Coronary artery bypass
When your heart muscle does not get the blood and oxygen it needs because one or more or your arteries are clogged up, your surgeon may recommend coronary artery bypass surgery. Part of a vein from your leg (saphenous vein) or part of an artery from your chest wall (internal mammary artery) will be used to bypass the part of your coronary artery that is blocked. This new bypass section will improve the flow of blood and oxygen through the artery. It is quite common to have as many as four or five bypasses done at one time. Neither your chest wall nor your leg will be harmed as a result of the vein or artery being removed.
Heart valve repair or replacement
Your heart has four valves, one for each chamber of your heart. Each time your heart beats, these valves open and close to let blood in and out of the chambers. One or more of these valves may become damaged from a birth defect, scarring from rheumatic fever or an infection. If medicine can’t correct the problem, your doctor may recommend surgery to repair or replace the valve.
Congenital heart defect repair
A congenital heart defect is a condition that you were born with. About one-quarter of adults who have a congenital heart defect have a condition called atrial septal defect. This is really a hole in the wall (atria) that separates the two upper chambers of your heart. This causes blood with oxygen and blood without oxygen to mix together. Usually, too much blood from the left atrium goes into the right atrium and then into the lungs. During surgery for this condition, the hole is closed.
Heart muscle disease surgery
There are different kinds of heart muscle diseases. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a disease of the heart muscle that makes all or part of it thicker or overgrown. When your heart muscle gets thicker, it affects blood flow into and out of the heart. Sometimes, surgery can help this condition. If your septum (the wall between your ventricles) is so thick that it sticks out and blocks the flow of blood to the aorta and the rest of your body, a surgeon can remove part of the thickened septum so that blood can again flow freely to the aorta.
Pericarditis surgery
Pericarditis is when the sac (pericardium) that surrounds the heart becomes inflamed. Although it’s not common, this condition can keep coming back. If this happens, surgeons may remove the entire sac from around the heart. This usually gets rid of any symptoms (like pain and irritation) without causing any harm to the heart.
Tags: Cardiac surgery Surgery Robot-assisted heart surgery Median sternotomy, This machine, open heart surgery, heart bypass surgery, heart surgery

Open Heart Surgery

December 8, 2009 by  
Filed under Education

A Patient and Family Guide

The thought of having can be pretty scary. You may be most afraid of what you don’t know about it. Like -

  • How should you prepare?
  • What exactly will happen during surgery?
  • How long will it take?
  • What will your recovery from surgery be like?
  • How long will it be before you fully recover?
  • Will you ever be the same again?
  • When can I return to work?
  • When can I return to sex after heart surgery?

This information will answer many questions for you and your family and hopefully put some of your fears to rest. But it can’t answer all of the questions that you might have about your own heart problem and the treatment of it. Always rely on your doctor and your healthcare team for that.

If your heart problem was discovered by your primary care doctor, he has probably referred you to a heart specialist, called a cardiologist. Following an exam and many tests, the cardiologist has recommended surgery to treat your heart problem. The cardiologist then referred you to a heart . This booklet will let you know what to expect during your visit with the surgeon. And it will explain what will take place before, during, and after your heart surgery. If you have already met with the surgeon, review the first part of this booklet to make sure you understand everything you need and want to know before making a final decision about having the surgery. Remember, peace of mind is very important to your good health. Your doctors want you to have all of the facts so you can make the decision which is best for you.

Tags: Cardiac surgery, heart surgeon, heart surgery, Surgery, heart specialist, cardiologist, surgeon

Open Heart Surgery

August 20, 2009 by  
Filed under Education

The thought of having can be pretty scary. You may be most afraid of what you don’t know about it. Like -

  • How should you prepare?
  • What exactly will happen during surgery?
  • How long will it take?
  • What will your recovery from surgery be like?
  • How long will it be before you fully recover?
  • Will you ever be the same again?
  • When can I return to work?
  • When can I return to sex after heart surgery?

This information will answer many questions for you and your family and hopefully put some of your fears to rest. But it can’t answer all of the questions that you might have about your own heart problem and the treatment of it. Always rely on your doctor and your healthcare team for that.

If your heart problem was discovered by your primary care doctor, he has probably referred you to a heart specialist, called a cardiologist.

Following an exam and many tests, the cardiologist has recommended surgery to treat your heart problem. The cardiologist then referred you to a heart surgeon.

This booklet will let you know what to expect during your visit with the surgeon. And it will explain what will take place before, during, and after your heart surgery.

If you have already met with the surgeon, review the first part of this booklet to make sure you understand everything you need and want to know before making a final decision about having the surgery.

Remember, peace of mind is very important to your good health. Your doctors want you to have all of the facts so you can make the decision which is best for you.

Tags: heart problem, part, hospital admission, heart surgery, open heart surgery

Get Adobe Flash playerPlugin by wpburn.com wordpress themes