Surgery Recovery

Open Heart Surgery Recovery: 5 things to expect


Medical science has come a long way over the past couple of decades, and that’s a phenomenon that can be witnessed when it comes to the human heart as well. Open heart surgery has turned out to be a major operation that is being carried out successfully by cardiologists around the world, and as the name suggests, the procedure differs quite a bit from the traditional methods there are.

Conventionally, such a heart operation can be used to treat medical conditions like heart failures, valve diseases, aneurysms, coronary disorders, etc. beside others. Open heart surgeries are the ones where the surgeons operate through the breastbone, or the sternum, in order to access the heart physically.

In this blog, we will be taking a look at the different types of open heart surgeries that we commonly encounter in this day and age, and what are some of the main recovery features that you can expect to experience post-operation. We would like to point out that these features can vary quite a bit from person to person, and the severities can range from mild to critical as well. So, let’s get started.

Types of open heart surgery.

When it comes to this form of heart operation, we primarily deal with two different types of procedures, and this has mostly to do with the functioning of the heart when the actual operation is being performed.

  • On-pump open heart surgery: In this case, the motion of the heart is medically cut-off, and a cardiopulmonary bypass machine is employed to carry out the circulation cycles. The primary application of this type of surgery is witnessed when the cardiologist wishes to work on the various parts of the heart in a stationary form.
  • Off-pump open heart surgery: CABG, or Coronary Artery Bypass Graft, is the only medical procedure that calls for this method of open heart operation. Here, the beating of the heart isn’t stopped or restricted, and no bypass machines are employed as well.

Heart surgeries are quite a bit more complicated than the rest of the operations that we commonly encounter, and to that end, the recovery and healing process turns out to be a challenge as well. While doctors and hospitals exercise the highest levels of professionalism when dealing with such patients, there are certain natural reactions that may accompany open heart surgery. Let’s examine some of the most prominent ones out there.

A noticeable change in eating habits.

Heart surgery patients have to go through a lot of physical strain during the surgical procedure, and there are no two ways about it. Due to such changes, it has been noted that their dietary habits and preferences change a lot temporarily as well, and due to this, they would rather have smaller meals throughout that day than go for heavier intakes three times a day.

An individual who undergoes anopen heart operation must be given smaller meals throughout the day that are rich in proteins and vitamins. Excess salt must be avoided at all costs as the sodium present in them might prove to have a detrimental effect. It is the responsibility of the caregiver to ensure that the patient gets his requisite amount of nutrients on a regular basis.

Dealing with post-surgical pain.

Once the operation has been successfully executed, the healing process might result in quite a bit of pain and agony. Doctors would recommend a set of painkillers that would help deal with the pain that much easier, but a combination of massages and ointments would help the pain fade in due course.

An onset of constipation.

It has been observed that patients who undergo such operations due to factors like heart block may exhibit signs of constipation during the recovery period, at least temporarily. This is a post-surgery phenomenon that is commonly resulted due to a combination of dehydration and changed dietary patterns, among others.

Commonly, proper hydration and a return to suitable dietary patterns would help ease constipation in a gradual manner. Consequentially, fruits like bananas can help deal with constipation effectively as well.

Emotional turbulence.

Mood swings are commonly witnessed in individuals who have undergone open heart surgery in the near past, and this is a healing procedure that has been categorically noted by doctors. In such a situation, it is important to consider the exact behavioural patterns that are being exhibited, their emotional cravings, and their affinity towards social life.

As time passes, these symptoms would get remedied automatically, but care and attention during this phase are necessary to aid with proper healing.

Changes in sleeping patterns.

Patients who have encountered medical conditions like heart block and went for open heart operations for the same are noted to experience distorted sleeping patterns. Now, this is something that is mainly caused by the effects of pain, medications, and modified dietary patterns.

Once someone experiences such problems, they must not go for sleeping pills but rather try to bring their life schedules back. Avoiding the intake of caffeine can help massively with the overall process as well.

Final take:

An open heart surgery is a critical operation that can be used to cure a wide range of heart-related problems and issues. The aforementioned lifestyle changes are some of the most glaring ones that these heart block operations would present, and one needs the best guidance to tackle them effectively. Want to learn more about the procedure, and the aftercare involved? Consult a cardiologist today.

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