An open-heart surgery, although being a serious one comes with a 12.3% mortality rate.
Therefore an open heart surgery is not that risky provided you get it done from a reputed hospital and an experienced surgeon. However, for some patients, an open heart surgery can be serious if they already have other health issues.
Open heart surgery is a lengthy procedure, right from getting admitted to the hospital till the recovery procedure.
Patients who recently had this surgery will experience certain things. In the article below, we will discuss all the aftermaths of open-heart surgery.
After the open-heart surgery
As soon as the effects of anesthesia are over, you will wake up. A lot of breathing tubes and machines will be still attached to the body which will monitor the conditions for some time.
You need to stay in the hospital for a week or two depending upon your condition. Avoid the following activities until your surgeon says.
- Climbing stairs
- Exercising, running, and walking
- Standing for long hours
How painful is open-heart surgery?
You will experience some sort of pain at the incision site on your chest. If you have an incision on your leg, it is likely to be painful for some days.
Patients will experience a slight chest stiffness and ache at the chest. However, if the pain continues for a very long time you must consult a doctor.
You will not experience any pain during the surgery as you will be under anesthesia. The chest pain that occurs after the surgery will take 6-8 weeks to go away.
It is normal to expect the following conditions after the surgery
- To have a poor appetite and a loss of taste. You can even have a loss of smell.
- A swelling or lump at the incision site upon your chest. The same swelling can happen on your leg at the site of the saphenous vein.
- Insomnia. Some patients tend to wake up at midnight and are unable to fall asleep. Consult your doctor and you may get a sleeping pill.
- You can even experience constipation for a few days after the surgery. Try not to be harsh on yourself and use a laxative. Include fibrous fruits and vegetables in your diet which will help in proper digestion.
- It is alright to have mood swings after the surgery.
- A clicking noise and sensation in the chest will occasionally happen. It will reduce with time, however, if the noise increases or continues for more than 3 weeks, consult your surgeon.
- Stiffness in the shoulders.
Restrictions after an open heart surgery
It is important to restrict certain activities after open-heart surgery. As the heart is the most important organ, any pressure, mental or physical, will directly affect the heart.
Many patients get admitted just after the surgery due to stress.
- Do not exercise unless your doctor tells you to.
- Avoid lifting heavy objects
- Immediately stop work if you feel short of breath
- Avoid taking showers till your tapes are cut. A sponge bath can be taken.
- Do not let moisture sit on the wound site. Remember to keep it dry.
- Do not resume work after the surgery. A rest of at least 1.5 months is essential for complete healing.
- Avoid social gatherings and long conversations. Keep your stress level low.
- Eat healthy foods.
- Have lots of fruits and green vegetables.
- Avoid spicy and fast food for at least 3-4 months.
- Avoid consuming random medicines without consulting the doctor.
- Smoking and consuming alcohol should be prohibited.
Does open heart surgery shorten your life?
There is no such evidence to prove that it shortens your life. However, open heart surgery bans certain unhealthy habits like smoking, drinking, etc. It can also restrict certain food habits.
There has been a study in the Department of Clinical Epidemiology in Denmark which shows that mortality rates for patients increase after 8-10 years.
In other words, the condition of patients who underwent open-heart surgery may deteriorate after 8-10 years.
95% of the people who underwent open-heart surgery had no complications so far. Another study shows that even after 20 years of the surgery, 41% survived without hypertension whereas 27% survived with hypertension.
There is no such conclusive result so far.
If you recently had open-heart surgery, make sure you follow the restrictions. Try having a healthy diet and taking medicines regularly. It is better not to presume a lot without consulting a good heart surgeon.
If you need an open heart surgery, be brave and go for it.