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Usually by the 3rd week, you can resume light workload. Talk to your physician. Upon returning home you will need to modify your diet to avoid further heart complications. We recommend a low-fat, low-cholesterol and low-sodium diet. One of the best ways to help improve your diet is to start reading labels on the back of food products. Look at sections on fat, cholesterol and sodium.

Helping a Loved One After Coronary Artery Bypass Graft Surgery

Cholesterol should be limited to milligrams per day. Restrict your salt intake to to mg a day. The reduction in salt will help decrease water retention in your body and will also help decrease the swelling in your legs. Decreased salt intake also aids in reducing your blood pressure and any further heart complications. The American Heart Association has some great tips on reducing your fat, cholesterol and salt intake. They also provide recipes to help you in your new healthy diet. Depending on the type of surgery and your physician, you may be placed on a drug called Coumadin.

If you are placed on this medicine you need to watch your intake of Vitamin K. This drug does not work like it is supposed to when you increase your intake of Vitamin K. Vitamin K is found in many green leafy vegetables as well as a variety of other foods. Remember you do not have to get rid of vitamin K in your diet you just need to eat it in moderation. Below is a site that contains foods that are high in Vitamin K as well as some information on Coumadin and how to take the medication at home. A journal simple notebook will do will become a necessary tool in your recovery.

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The journal will be used to keep track of your:. You will be placed on some medications that will lower your blood pressure. As your heart recovers, we may need to adjust these medications. A good way for your physician to tell if the medicines need adjustment is by monitoring your blood pressure at home. You can get a blood pressure cuff at your local drugstore or Costco. Take your blood pressure once in the morning before you take your medicine and once at night before you take your medicine.

The top number is your systolic number and the bottom number is your diastolic. Wait an hour and retake your blood pressure. An adjustment in your blood pressure medications may be needed. Make sure to write down your blood pressure readings and the time you took it.

It will be important to take your heart rate once in the morning and once at night when you take your blood pressure. This should be done while you are resting. Monitor how fast your heart beats per minute. If you feel heart palpitations or notice your heart rate goes up or down by 20 beats since you last took it call your physician. You should also monitor your heart rate during activities like walking. If your heart rate goes up or down by more than 20 beats per minute from your resting heart rate, slow down or decrease your activity level. If you continue to see an increase or decrease call your physician.

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Count the number of pulses you feel in a minute. Remember to write down your heart rate in your journals and at what time you took them. Take your temperature once a day when you first wake up. An increase in temperature could be an indication of an infection in your incisional sites or somewhere else in your body.

Heart Bypass Surgery Recovery Time Improved

Remember to write down your temperature in your journal and the time you took it. Every morning you need to weigh yourself when you first wake up. Write your weight down in your journal and compare your weight to the previous day. If you gain pounds in days and see increased swelling in your extremities call your physician. You may need to reduce your fluid and salt intake as well as be placed on some medication to help get rid of excess water that may build up in your body.

If you are diabetic, it is highly recommended that you check your blood sugars regularly for optimal control whether you are on oral medication or insulin. Check your blood sugar as instructed and consult with your primary care physician or endocrinologist for any concerns. You can use your journal to keep track of other things such as lab and test results.


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You may also want to use the journal to keep track of the medications you are using and their dosages. After your surgery you will probably be placed on some medications to help your new heart. They do a variety of things including:. Cardiac rehabilitation is a way for people who have had heart surgery to get going again after surgery. You can begin the rehabilitation program after the first six weeks at home or when your physician approves. For further information, talk to your cardiologist. At Home You can expect to wait six to eight weeks until you are able to return to your usual routine.

Because you will still have the breathing tube in place, you will not be able to talk. You may communicate with notes or by shaking your head. When you wake up, you will have several other tubes attached as well, most of which will be removed the day after surgery:. Typically, on the day after surgery, you will begin to drink clear liquids, and you will receive solid foods as you are able to tolerate them.

You may also be able to sit up on the side of your bed. On this first day, you will also begin breathing and coughing exercises that are an important measure for reducing the risk of lung complications such as pneumonia. Many patients will be moved out of intensive care to another area of the hospital. When you are moved, you will wear a small, portable device that monitors your heart rate. This is a telemetry monitor. On the second day after surgery, you will typically be expected to walk two or three times.

Open heart surgery: Timeline, recovery, and alternatives

You will begin to eat solid foods as your appetite returns, but the amount you drink will be limited to six to eight cups of liquid over 24 hours. You will sit in a chair for meals. Your hospital stay will typically be three to five days after you are moved from the ICU to another unit. After coronary bypass surgery, a typical recovery at home is six weeks, though recovery can take anywhere from four to twelve weeks.

When you arrive at home, you and your caregiver—a family member, friend, or home health aide you have identified before the surgery - will:. It is important to keep all follow-up appointments with your healthcare providers and to take prescribed medications exactly as indicated. If you have any concerns about your medications, do not stop taking them without contacting your physician. Doing so can be dangerous. Your physician will give you clearance for when it is safe to resume certain activities.

People who work in strenuous occupations may need to wait longer than those in less strenuous positions to return to work. Most surgeons discourage driving a car for six weeks after coronary bypass surgery. Your physician will also give you guidelines on when you can resume physical activities, including sexual activity.

During the recovery period, you may begin participation in a cardiac rehabilitation program, if prescribed by your physician. Cardiac rehab is, in part, a structured exercise program that can help you increase your physical activity level while under the direct supervision of medical professionals.

The program also includes work with dieticians, occupational therapists, psychologists, and other healthcare providers who can help you recover from your surgery and feel confident that you have the skills to adopt a heart-healthy lifestyle. Most of the precautions you need to follow during the first month are to allow your breastbone to heal. For example, you should not drive, nor should you push, pull, or lift anything heavier than 10 pounds. When standing up from a chair, scoot forward so you can press down into your legs instead of using your arms to push yourself up.

The same goes for getting out of bed; roll and swing your legs to the floor to avoid pressure on your upper body. A physical therapist will show you these moves in the hospital. Traditionally, people get a small, heart-shaped pillow to bring home from the hospital. Hug it tightly to your chest if you need to cough or sneeze, which helps contain the expansion of your chest so the incision doesn't hurt, says Dr. Keep a close eye on your chest incision and call your doctor if you notice any increased redness, swelling, warmth, fluid discharge, or pus. For the first two weeks, check your temperature twice a day.

A slight fever is not unusual, but if your temperature is above You should also weigh yourself every day. Most people come home from the hospital a few pounds heavier than normal and then gradually return to their usual weight within three weeks. But if you gain weight, you could be retaining fluid and may need a medication adjustment. Shekar also recommends using a home blood pressure monitor to check your heart rate and blood pressure every few days.