Preparing for Heart Surgery
Salinas Valley Medical Clinic Cardiology
A contributing factor to people’s apprehension about surgery is that
they feel out of control, but there are actually several things you can
do to make your operation go smoother. What goes in your body, how much
rest you get and what medications you take can all affect the outcome
of your surgery. Discuss your procedure with your doctor to find out what
you can do to prepare.
Pre-Operating Doctor Visit
You will need to visit with your doctor at least once before the day of
the surgery. During this trip(s), the doctor will perform a few tests
to evaluate your readiness for surgery. You may receive x-rays, blood
tests and an anesthesia evaluation. This is a prime opportunity for you
to discuss questions or concerns with the doctor.
Ask your doctor about:
- Potential risks of surgery
- What you should eat before surgery
- If it’s okay to keep taking medications
- How early you should arrive before surgery
- What you will feel during the surgery
- What to expect after the operation
Have someone ready to drive you to and from the hospital. It is dangerous
to drive a vehicle for 4 to 6 weeks after open heart surgery, and your
surgery may be postponed if you do not have means to return home.
Food and drink, even water, can interfere with your operation. Keep in
mind that you should not eat anything the day of the surgery unless you
get the okay from your doctor. In many operations, you will be asked to
shower the night before using an anti-microbial soap. A doctor can provide
one of these soaps for you if you do not know what to look for.