How to Prepare for a Cardiac Surgery

Cardiac surgery is a major operation that puts your body under too much stress. Therefore, it is important that you are as prepared as possible before surgery. Mentally, physically, and in any other way. This article will guide you in the process of preparing for heart surgery. To do this, follow the steps below.

How to Prepare for a Cardiac Surgery


Part 1 : Making changes in lifestyle

1. Stop smoking.

Among the main factors that contribute to heart disease and the need for surgery is chronic smoking. Cigarette smoke contains a lot of chemicals like nicotine and cyanide, which have harmful effects on your heart. These harmful chemicals slow the heart, reduce its pumping capacity by making it less elastic and compromises the circulation of oxygen and nutrients throughout the body.

Therefore, it is extremely important that you stop smoking well before your surgery. Otherwise, you could compromise the effectiveness of the surgery and have more heart problems after it.

2. Set up a regular exercise program.

Regular exercise is an essential part of preventing heart disease. It increases the heart pumping, strengthening it and reducing oxygen demand. This helps prevent chest pain and a heart attack. Exercise is an important tool to keep your heart healthy and strong. So talk to your doctor and / or a fitness instructor to develop an exercise plan for before and after surgery.

A good exercise regimen would walk, a light jog or practice your favorite sport for 30 minutes every day, for at least 3-4 times a week.

3. Do breathing exercises.

A good way to relieve stress and pressure on your heart is the practice of deep breathing exercises. In this activity, you need to inhale through the nose for 4-5 seconds until you can feel that your lungs have expanded significantly. Then, exhale slowly through your mouth for 4-5 seconds.The breaths should have a rate of 6-10 deep breaths every minute. You should do this for a minimum of 10 minutes every day. You can also try to do five minutes of deep breathing every hour throughout the day.

Deep abdominal breathing and significantly reduces the heart rate and blood pressure. Do this for 6-8 weeks or more, will have a lasting effect on your overall heart health.

4. You must be  prepared emotionally, psychologically and spiritually for surgery.

In addition to being physically prepared for the procedure, it is also very important that you prepare yourself emotionally, psychologically and spiritually. It is normal to feel anxious, frustrated, angry and depressed before a heart surgery. You should do your best to get rid of these feelings as stress and negative emotions can increase your heart rate and constrict blood vessels, causing chest pain and, even worse, a heart attack.

It is essential to have a strong support system with which you can share your feelings. Although having friends and family around is very beneficial, you can also join a support group for people who are preparing for heart surgery or are recovering from it. Look for a support group near you.

5. Be sure to be financially prepared.

Cardiac surgery is expensive. It can cost thousands or even millions, depending on the complexity of the procedure. In addition, you also have to bear the cost of medication, hospital bills and doctor’s fees etc. Although it seems obvious, it is important to have good health and save a large sum of money before surgery. Make sure you invest your money wisely and consider taking financial help from other family members, if necessary.

Also, keep in mind that the recovery period is usually between 1 to 3 months. You will not be able to work during that time, so it is important that you carefully plan your finances for this time.

cardiac surgery

Part 2: Change your diet

1. Reduce your salt intake.

Minimize the amount of salt in your diet as it can decrease the fluid retention in the bloodstream. This dramatically lowers the blood pressure to normal level. Less salt intake also means less plaque deposits in your blood vessels and heart, reducing the chances of blockage in blood vessels. Your salt intake should be limited to 2-3 g / day.

Foods such as canned food, processed (such as ham and bacon), dried meat and cod are high in salt content and should be avoided.

2. Have a low fat diet.

Restricting the intake of saturated fats and cholesterol may significantly reduce the blood pressure, which, in turn, may decrease the risk of complications before, during and after heart surgery. Therefore, you should cut your fat intake by half to reduce the risk of complications related to heart surgery.

Foods high in saturated fat and cholesterol that you should avoid are sausages, egg yolks, butter, chicken skin, whipped cream and lard.

3. Increase protein intake.

Increasing the amount of protein in your diet can reduce your excess body fat. This type of diet also reduces the consumption of cholesterol and fat. High protein intake is also vital for recovery after heart surgery. An increased amount of protein is necessary for the repair of damaged tissues and organs, such asin the case of heart surgery.

The normal protein intake in a normal individual is 0.7g / kg / day. However, it is recommended to patients undergoing heart surgery to increase their protein intake by up to 1.5-2 g / kg / day. This translates into the increase in intake of protein by two or three times.

Protein-rich foods are soybeans, tofu, peanuts, beef, chicken breast, salmon fillet, eggs, beans and milk.

4. Try the Mediterranean diet.

A healthy diet for the heart is the Mediterranean diet, which includes fruits, vegetables, fish and whole grains, and limits the consumption of saturated fats. Research from a test conducted on 1.5 million adults has shown that this diet significantly reduces the risk of heart diseases. The Mediterranean diet emphasizes primarily on vegetable consumption, the replacement of butter oil, the use of spices and herbs in place of salt, limiting the consumption of red meat to at most a few times per month, consumption of fish and birds two times a week and red wine intake in moderation.

5. Try the four-day diet, on the recommendation of your doctor.

The four-day diet was formulated by Dr. Ian K. Smith to be used by obese patients preparing for heart surgery. The diet consists of seven individual layers, each with a duration of four days. These stages are as follows:

Induction: This phase focuses on getting rid of toxins from your body through the main intake of fruits, vegetables, beans and legumes.

Transition: This stage involves the slow reintroduction of common foods to your diet – however, you should restrict the calorie intake to 1500 calories per day.

Protein: In this phase, you will increase the consumption of foods rich in protein such as lean meat, fish, beans, eggs and milk.

Suave: at this stage, you can cheat a little, you are allowed to eat your favorite dishes, such as pasta, pizza or burgers. However, it is still important that you do not overeat.

Shove: this is the most difficult phase. You need to be limited to 1000 calories per day. Examples of meals include sweet potato portion, a boiled egg or packet of biscuits. You should also do at least one hour of daily cardiovascular exercise like running or boxing.

Rhythm: this phase is directed to maintain a steady state activity of at least 1 hour of cardiovascular exercise in addition to a balanced diet, with a limit of 1200 calories per day.

Vigorous: this step restricts the vegetable diet and mostly requires two hours of cardiovascular per day.

Part 3 : Preparing for admission to the hospital

1. Get as much information as possible about the surgery.

Talk explicitly to your doctor about any doubts you may have about the surgery. The doctor will do anything to meet your complete and realistic questions. He will review your medical history and explain the benefits and risks of surgery, and make you aware of any other possible treatments.

Inquiring about heart surgery will really help you to be prepared physically, psychologically and emotionally.

2.Provide your medical history to your doctor.

Before the surgery provide your complete medical history. Be sure to disclose any information related to your health, including a history of past illnesses, medications or supplements you are currently taking and any allergies you have. You should also inform your doctor about your previous immunizations and your current diet and lifestyle.

This information will help the doctor to assess whether or not you are ready for surgery and will draw up a plan of personalized treatment accordingly. This will also help reduce the chance of post-operative complications, such as arrhythmias and bleeding.

3. Sign the consent form.

Before surgery, you must sign a consent form indicating that you agreed to the procedure out of your own free will. Signing the consent form means that you understand the procedure (including its benefits and potential risks) and agree to go through the procedure.

4. Go through preoperative tests.

A few days before the surgery, you will be called for a final round of testing. This is done to ensure that you are physically prepared for the operation. The doctor will ask a sample of your blood to perform diagnostic tests, will make an electrocardiogram to examine the electrical activity of your heart and ask for an x-ray to examine your heart and lungs.

A complete physical examination will be also performed. Your doctor will measure your weight, measure your blood flow and check for any skin infection that can compromise the healing process.

5. Make final preparations.

The night before surgery, you should take a shower and clean the skin with a disinfecting agent, such as chlorhexidine. Do not eat anything for 12 hours before surgery.

An IV catheter will be inserted and any preoperative medication will be administered (including antibiotics).

Finally, your name, identification number and the surgical treatment will be confirmed before transferring it to the operating room.

Part 4: Understanding post-operative procedures

1. Take care of the incision site.

After surgery, initial dressings are made by doctors and nurses. But before discharge, your doctor will teach you how to keep the wound clean and how to put a splint on the incision site during coughing or sneezing to prevent the opening of the points.

Once home, you should keep the incision clean and dry. Clean it daily with hypoallergenic soap and then dry with a clean towel.

Call your doctor immediately if there is any pus in the wound, an opening along the line of incision or inflammation around the points.

2. Take medication to alleviate any pain.

It’s completely normal to feel pain after heart surgery, but if the pain persists or gets worse, ask your doctor to prescribe some painkillers to help you deal with the problem. Some medications for pain relief are commonly prescribed after heart surgery which are celecoxib (one tablet of 200 mg, taken twice a day), Tramadol (one tablet of 50 mg, taken every 8 hours) and paracetamol (one tablet every 4 hours).

However, these drugs should only be taken on prescription from and you should not exceed the recommended dose.

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