Post Heart Surgeries Home Care
The first phase of heart surgery recovery can last from 6 to 8 weeks. When you’re released from the hospital, you’ll get a set of instructions for post-surgery care. These will help you heal physically and feel better.
Care of the incision after heart surgery
In order to take proper care of the incision after heart surgery, it is important to:
- Keep the incision clean and dry
- Daily Dressing
- Do not scrub or soak the wound
- Do not use rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, or iodine, which can harm the tissue and slow wound healing.
- Air-dry the incision or pat it dry with a clean, fresh towel before reapplying the dressing.
- Eat a healthy diet
Seek medical advice if signs of infection appear. These include:
- Increased drainage or oozing from the incision
- Opening of the incision line
- Redness or warmth around the incision
- Increased body temperature (greater than 38°C)
- You should also seek advice if it seems the sternum (breastbone) has moved, or if it pops or cracks with movement.
Pain relief after heart surgery
Some muscle or incision discomfort, itching, tightness or numbness along the incision are to be expected. However, the pain will be different from that experienced before surgery and painkiller medications will be prescribed.
For heart bypass surgery, there may be more pain in the legs than around the chest incision if leg veins were grafted. Walking, daily activities, and time, will help to lessen leg discomfort and stiffness.
- Don’t stand in one place longer than 15 minutes.
- Don’t lift things that weigh more than 10 pounds.
- Don’t push or pull heavy things.
Walk every day. Follow the guidelines the doctor or cardiac rehabilitation specialist gives you. Unless you’ve been told not to, you can climb stairs.
Activity after heart surgery
For the first six to eight weeks, the following guidelines are recommended:
- Gradually increase activity. Household chores can be done, but standing in one place longer than 15 minutes is not recommended
- Climbing up and down stairs several times a day, especially when the patient first arrives home, is not recommended. Try to arrange activities so the patient goes downstairs in the morning and upstairs when it is time for bed
Diet after heart surgery
A healthy diet will help the healing process. It is common after surgery to have a poor appetite at first. If this is the case, try to eat smaller, more frequent meals. Appetite should return within the first few weeks. If it does not, seek medical advice.
Emotions after heart surgery
It is common for patients to feel sad. These feelings should go away after the first few weeks. If they do not, seek medical advice. It may help to:
- Get dressed every day
- Walk daily
- Resume hobbies and social activities
- Talk. Limit visits to 15 minutes at first, then increase them depending on how the patient feels.
- Get a good night’s sleep
- Join a support group or cardiac rehabilitation programme
Rest and Sleep
Many people have trouble sleeping after heart surgery. You should get back to a normal slumber pattern within a few months.
If pain keeps you up, take medication about half an hour before bedtime. Arrange the pillows so you can stay in a comfortable position.
You’ll probably need to rest after activity, but try not to take a lot of naps during the day.
In the evening, avoid caffeine, including chocolate, coffee, tea, and some sodas.
Settle into a bedtime routine, perhaps listening to relaxing music. Your body will learn these cues mean it’s time to snooze.
Call your doctor if a lack of sleep starts affecting your mood or behavior.
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Content Courtesy : Portea