How to Prepare for Heart Surgery

Many people get worried about going to the doctor for simple checkups, so it’s no surprise that something as big as heart surgery can scare people straight. The good news? Doctor’s perform successful heart surgeries every single day. They know what they’re doing – but that being said, it’s completely normal to be a bit concerned once you’ve scheduled your operation. How can you ease your fears? By knowing how to prepare for your heart surgery. Knowing what lies ahead makes it a bit easy to combat the fear that’s rising up in your throat, keeping you awake at night and jolting you out of your daydreams during the daylight hours.

For starters, you should know that heart surgery, while it seems scary and impossible and easy to mess up, is a fairly simple procedure – it’s minimally invasive, especially when it’s done using robotic assistance. Robotic-assisted surgery allows for cardiac surgeons to complete the procedure through 1-2 fingertip sized incisions. There, you can rest easy – fingertip-sized incisions are quite small, aren’t they?

Additional benefits include less pain and scarring, a decreased risk of infection, a shorter hospital stay after the surgery is completed, less blood loss and hence, fewer transfusions, and a quicker return to your normal activities. Many people worry that after they have heart surgery, they’ll have to spend a long time in recovery, unable to get back to their day to day life. Thanks to modern innovations, however, heart surgery is becoming less and less of a “big deal” – and more of a routine surgery that, will important, doesn’t have to slow you down.

So, let’s get into what you should do to prepare for your heart surgery operation. Here are some things to expect. It’s likely that you’ll be admitted to the hospital before your operation – likely on the afternoon proceeding the surgery. The staff at the hospital will conduct a few tests, give you instructions and prepare you for surgery. These are just routine tests, conducted in order to ensure that you’re in tip-top shape to go into surgery. That same afternoon, your team of surgeons, cardiologists, nurses and any other medical folk you have in your corner will pay you a visit to discuss your operation. Should you have any questions about the operation itself, this is a good time to ask them. Routine tests conducted may include electrocardiogram and chest x-rays.

On the day of your surgery, you’ll need to give any personal items you’re wearing to a family member. This includes watches, glasses, jewelry, dentures and any clothing you’ve been wearing. This is all done for your protection – your body needs to be clean of any distractions before the surgery can begin. Once this part is complete, you’ll be given a few medications to help you relax. From there, you’ll be rolled into the operating room, where the surgery will begin. Once you’re in the operating room, you’ll be given anesthesia, which will put you to sleep, vacate any pain, and leave you with no memory of the operation itself. A few hours later, you’ll wake up from the surgery, renewed albeit a bit woozy. From there, you’ll be moved into a recovery room, so that you can wake up fully and begin your recovery and the next stages of your life.

Though heart surgery can seem scary, if you’re prepared and know what to expect, you can lessen your worries. From the preparation to the day before the surgery leading right up to the surgery itself, knowing what you’re in for does wonders for your nerves. If you know what to expect, nothing will come as a surprise for you, enabling you to have the most positive surgical experience possible, and recover quickly and easily.

Zoey Miles