Heart Patient Guide

The day of Surgery

In the morning you will be given some medicines to make you feel better and relieve the anxiety. Just before shifting to operation, you will receive some injections. Hand over our DENTURE, GLASSES and HEARING-AIDS and any other article of personal use to your attendant.


In the operating room, you will feel slight prick of the first injection. After that you will go into deep sleep and will not feel any pain. During operation, you will be given artificial breathing by putting a tube in your respiratory passage. This artificial breathing is continued for 6-18 hours after operation in Intensive Care Unit. The whole operation takes 4 to 6 hours. Once the operation is complete, the patient is transferred to Intensive Care Unit, and relatives are informed.


After completion of surgery, patient is transferred to ICU, where patient stays for 24 to 48 hours. Patient is allowed to be awake after 6 to 12 hours. The ICU environment may cause some confusion and anxiety, but there is no cause of alarm. When you wake-up you will find that there is a tube in your mouth and you cannot speak because of it. This tube is to give you artificial breathing. You may also feel thirsty, as your throat may be dry. All the required fluids and drugs are injected into one of your veins. There will be a small tube in your urinary passage to collect urine. You may develop an urge to pass urine due to presence of this tube. After a period of 6 to 18 hours, the breathing tubes is removed and after 24 to 48 hours, remaining attachments are removed and you are shifted to the ward. In ICU, once the breathing tube is removed, you can expedite your recovery by performing deep breathing exercise. There will be some pain, but with breathing exercise, it will decrease. You may feel some soreness in throat, but that will persist only for a short period. ICU is a highly specialized area and visiting is limited to one family member at 6.00 AM and 8.00 PM.

In the ward : The first few days after surgery

Usually, patient stays for 3 to 6 days in the ward postoperatively. The progress depends upon condition of the heart, response of body to the surgery and will power of the patient. You must know following things :

      (i) Breathing exercise :This is the most important part of care on patient’s behalf. Good breathing and effective coughing is essential. To reduce the pain during coughing, either hug the pillow tightly or press the chest with your palms while coughing. DO NOT SUPRESS COUGH AND DO NOT MAKE SHALLW COUGHING EFFORTS. This will increase discomfort only.

      (ii) Keep yourself active:Try to perform all your work yourself. Your recovery is directly related to your activity level.

      (iii)You may find that you are unable to sleep at night. DO NOT SLEEP EXCESSIVELY DURING DAY TIME. Keep yourself active during the day time and perform light exercises, you will have good sleep at night.

      (iv) Getting out of bed

      Get out of bed in the following manner:Move closer to the edge of the bed and then roll over on one side. Swing your legs to the floor and gently lift your upper body. During this, elbow supports the weight of the body. Once sitting, move closer to the edge, take some deep breaths and wait for two minutes. Now stand up. If you feel dizzy, sit down in the bed and take some deep breaths

      (v) You may be having a swelling at the top of your incision. This will disappear with time.

      (vi) You may have constipation for 2-3 days. This will disappear itself.

      (vii) You may have mood swings and feel depressed. This will get better as days pass.

      (viii) If a vein graft is used, there may be some swelling of the foot. Don’t get alarmed. It will subside after some time.

      (ix) You may feel muscle pain or tightness in shoulders and upper back. Perform light limb-stretching and deep breathing exercises. This will disappear after sometime.

      (x) Do not allow relatives and friends make crowd around you. Discourage their hospital visit.