• Common Questions

  • Your preadmission testing appointment is an important step in preparing for your heart surgery. An advanced practice provider (APP) takes your medical history and conducts a physical exam to make sure you’re healthy enough for surgery. During the appointment, you’ll get lab work, a chest X-ray and an electrocardiogram, if needed. Your care team also makes sure you have any necessary instructions for surgery day.

    People with caregivers often do better after surgery and feel more comfortable as they recuperate. Choosing the right caregiver is important for your recovery. You could consider more than one caregiver, if needed. You’ll want to choose someone who can offer support, motivation and assistance. You’ll need a responsible adult to drive you home when you’re discharged and stay with you for at least the first week of your recuperation. 

    If you have children or pets at home, make sure you have care arranged prior to your surgery. This keeps everyone safe while you’re focused on your recovery. 

    Your care team prescribes this breathing exercise tool to show how well you’re expanding your lungs. It helps you to take long, deep breaths. Because it makes you breathe deeply, it improves your ability to clear congestion from your lungs and keep them open after surgery, preventing complications like pneumonia. 

    Everyone recovers at different rates, but most people need about six-to-eight weeks of healing before they can return to a normal routine. Each day you’ll grow stronger, but you’ll experience both good and challenging days. Take things slowly and rest when you get tired. 

    Please call your surgical team if you experience:

    • Extreme fatigue.
    • Elevated temperature above 101 degrees F (38 degrees C), twice within 24 hours. 
    • Pain in your calf that becomes worse with movement a few weeks after surgery. 
    • Persistent bleeding or oozing from your incisions. 
    • Sharp pain when you take a breath. 
    • Skin rash.
    • Swelling in your ankles or leg pain. 
    • Weight gain of more than two pounds within 24 hours. 
    • Urinary tract infection: frequency, burning, or blood with urination. 

    You should call 911 or go to the emergency room, if you’re experiencing: 

    • Bright red stools. 
    • Bright red blood when you cough. 
    • Fainting spells. 
    • Heart rate is greater than 150 beats per minute with shortness of breath. 
    • Severe abdominal pain. 
    • Severe chest pain (angina) before surgery. 
    • Shortness of breath that isn’t relieved with rest. 
    • Sudden numbness or weakness in arms or legs. 
    • Sudden severe headache. 

    A heart-healthy diet can help reduce unhealthy blood cholesterol levels, manage high blood pressure and lower your risk for heart disease. A few tips to help you follow a heart-healthy diet include: 

    • Choosing heart-healthy unsaturated fats and limiting saturated fats, trans fats and cholesterol intake. 
    • Eating a balanced diet with whole grains, fruits, vegetables and lean protein sources. 
    • Eating more plant-based or vegetarian meals using beans and soy foods for protein.
    • Including whole, unprocessed foods to limit the amount of sodium (salt) you eat. 
    • Limiting refined carbohydrates, especially sugar, sweets and sugar-sweetened beverages. 
    • Using alcohol only in moderation, which means one serving per day for women and two servings per day for men. One serving is equivalent to 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits.