5 Tips To Post-Operative Care After An Open Heart Surgery

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Open-heart surgery is a major life-saving procedure that requires strict post-operative care. Following the five post-operative care tips discussed in this blog, patients can make a safe and quick recovery. So, let’s know about these.

Who Needs Heart Surgery?

People suffering from a congenital heart defect, CAD (coronary artery disease), heart failure, or hypoplastic left heart syndrome (whose heart isn’t fully developed) need to undergo an open-heart surgery which may include heart or valve replacement, CABG (heart bypass surgery).

What is the Process of Open-Heart Surgery?

The completion of the whole open-heart surgery can take three to six hours.  First, a surgeon will make an 8 to 10-inch incision and cut parts of the breastbone to expose the heart for the surgery. After the surgery, the surgeon will close the breastbone using a wire and suture the incision.

Five Best Post-Operative Care Tips for Recovery After Open-Heart Surgery

Each patient’s recovery time after an open heart surgery varies and depends on how the patient follows post-operative instructions. Generally, the first stage of a patient’s recovery will last between 6-8 weeks, and patients are advised to take extra caution during this period. Here are five tips that you can follow for a quick recovery after the surgery.

  1. Try To Eat Small Meals

After open-heart surgery, most patients lose their appetite and feel lethargic. However, it is normal and can be addressed with a diet adjustment.

Doctors advise patients to consume small portions throughout the day, keeping them full and helping them recover faster. Also, it is recommended to limit salt (up to 200mg/day) and fat-based food intake. Instead, patients should consume protein and fiber-rich foods, such as eggs, dairy products, and green leafy vegetables.


  1. Take Enough Rest 

A patient requires nearly 2-3 weeks of bed rest to recover from the surgery. After this period, the patient will slowly resume moderate activities like walking. Patients can take breaks during regular activities throughout the day. However, patients should avoid taking long naps during the daytime, as it can affect their sleeping patterns.

  1. Special Care Of Your Incisions

After open-heart surgery, patients need to take care of their incisions. Keep the incision area as clean and dry as possible. Also, make sure not to take a shower for more than 10 minutes.

While showering, ensure the water doesn’t directly contact your incision area. If you experience pain, redness, swelling, or any other issue in or nearby your incision area, consult your doctor immediately. Along with taking care of your incisions, follow your doctor’s prescribed medicines at the prescribed time for pain relief.

  1. Gradually Increase Your Physical Activity

After 7 to 8 weeks or two months post the open-heart surgery, patients can gradually increase their physical activity and return to their usual routine. Initially, patients can start with those physical activities which don’t tire them. While doing physical activity, make sure to remember the following points-

  • Only stand at a particular place for up to 15 minutes.
  • Refrain from moving heavy objects of more than 4 kg.
  • Avoid stretching actions that can irritate the incision.
  • Refrain from driving for 6 to 8 weeks after the surgery.
  1. Socialize & Follow Your Hobbies

Most people believe that recovering from open-heart surgery only takes physical healing. However, emotional healing is needed too. A person can feel upset and suffer from anxiety, depression, and emotions after the surgery for no reason. It is normal and common in many patients.

  • You may experience mood swings, which include anger, loneliness, depression, anxiety, etc.
  • Lack of activities may make you feel lethargic or irritable.

All these feelings are normal after open-heart surgery for a patient. However, a patient can follow the below-mentioned suggestions to get back to their everyday life-

  • Talk to your family- To avoid depression, anxiety, and loneliness, patients should converse with their family members.
  • Follow your hobbies- Do your hobbies and all the activities you enjoy, which will help you feel good. Moreover, hobbies like reading books are a great way to pass the time during post-surgery recovery.
  • Do a physical activity within a certain limit- Patients are advised to follow physical activities like walking within a specific limit (or advised by the doctor) to get back to the routine.


The recovery from open-heart surgery is a slow and gradual process that takes 2 to 6 months, varying from person to person. However, patients can follow the steps mentioned above for effective and steady recovery. Moreover, they can consult their doctor for additional post-surgery care information.

Happy Reading!!!!
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