Frequently Asked Qustions of Patients Undergo Open Heart Surgery After Discharge
When will your first outpatient visit take place?
Even if you do not have any problems, your doctor will call you for an initial outpatient check-up within 10 days of discharge. Your next outpatient visits will be after the 1st and 2nd month following the surgery.
Since patients using warfarin sodium-containing drugs (Warfmadin, Coumadin, etc.) will need frequent INR follow-up, the outpatient control intervals of these patients are different.
How and for how long will I take my medication?
The medications you take can generally be divided into two groups. Some of these drugs (antibiotics, painkillers, stomach protectors, etc.) will be used and discontinued for a while after discharge, while other drugs (blood-thinning drugs, cholesterol, blood pressure and sugar drugs, drugs that regulate heart rate, etc.) will be used for a long time. These medications should be re-prescribed as soon as they are finished, unless otherwise directed by your doctor.
It would be appropriate to bring all the drugs you are using with you when you come to the outpatient clinic control with their boxes. It would be appropriate for our patients using warfarin sodium-containing drugs (Warfmadin, Coumadin, etc.) to bring their INR follow-up charts with them when coming to the outpatient clinic control.
How should I pay attention to my breastbone?
During the first 1.5 months following surgery, your breastbone will not yet be fused strongly enough, so it is better not to drive and sit in the back seat of the car. In the event of an accident, blows to your chest can be life-threatening.
You should sleep on your back for the first 1.5 months. Turning to the right or left while lying down can prevent your breastbone from boiling properly. Boiling problems of the breastbone may cause infection at the wound site and this may require you to undergo surgery again. You do not need to sleep in a sitting position, you can even sleep with a single pillow. It would be more appropriate not to be hasty when getting out of bed, to stand up as you were taught in the hospital and to ask for help from a relative if possible.
For the first 1.5 months, it is inconvenient to lift your arms above head level, carry heavy bags and packages, or reach down from height to pick up something, or bend over to the ground to pick up something. It is better for you to keep up your prayers during this time. The most common reasons for opening in the sternum are sudden sneezing and prolonged coughing seizures. In these cases, do not forget to secure your breastbone by pressing firmly on your breastbone with both hands. If you have a dry or phlegmy cough that lasts for a long time, apply to the hospital without waiting for your outpatient check-up.
In the early post-discharge period, it is normal to feel very slight play in the sternum while coughing or moving, but if you think your sternum is moving too much, apply to the hospital without waiting for the outpatient clinic control.
How long should I avoid sexual activity?
It is recommended that you stay away from sexual activity for the first 6-8 weeks following the surgery. This is the time it takes for your breastbone to boil well.
Should I Dress The Wounds?
Unless otherwise stated, you do not need to dress your wound sites after discharge, but:
Until your wounds are completely healed, it will be appropriate to dry your wounds with a clean cheese cloth after the bath and then dress them.
Especially in female patients with weight problems, it is necessary to keep the drainage areas on the lower end of the breastbone and under both breasts dry. If the wound remains wet and sweaty, it may cause softening in the wound tissue and then opening in the wound. In this case, the bottom of the breasts should be supported and it will be appropriate to keep them covered by dressing until the wound sites are completely healed.
If the wound remains wet and sweaty, it may cause softening in the wound tissue and then opening in the wound.
When can I take a bath, what should I pay attention to?
Unless otherwise stated, you can take a bath the day after discharge. Do not get excessively hot or cold while bathing. It would be appropriate for someone to accompany you while you are bathing for the first month. There is no inconvenience for soapy water to flow over the wound sites, but the pouch or fiber should not be applied until the wound sites are completely healed. Otherwise, it may cause wound dehiscence and infection.
Are there any restrictions on nutrition?
Unless otherwise stated, there is no nutritional restriction since the first 2 months following the surgery are the recovery period. Eating protein-rich foods will shorten your recovery time.
In hypertension patients, salt consumption should be minimized and close blood pressure monitoring should be continued.
Close blood glucose monitoring should be performed in patients with diabetes and dietary restrictions in this regard should be strictly observed. High blood sugar levels may cause infection at the wound sites and delays in healing. Details on the following dietary recommendations can be obtained from our Nutrition and Dietetics Department.