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Beating Heart Bypass Surgery Recovery: Time in the Hospital

When your doctor feels that you are recovering well, you'll be moved to a regular hospital room. This room will most likely be in a part of the hospital reserved for people who have had heart surgery. You will still be watched over by your healthcare team, but not as closely as you were in the ICU. Your family and friends will be able to visit with you in this room.
Most people stay in the hospital for three to five days after this surgery. However, you might need to stay longer. Your healthcare team can regularly update you and your family about your recovery.
You may still have tubes in your chest to drain any fluid from around your heart or lungs. These tubes are important, because if fluid builds up inside your chest, the pressure may cause part or all of a lung to collapse, making it hard to breathe. The chest tubes will be taken out before you leave the hospital.
Remember that your healthcare team wants you to have a smooth recovery, so be sure to tell them if something doesn't feel right as you continue with your beating heart bypass surgery recovery.

Beating Heart Bypass Surgery Recovery: Leaving the Hospital

When you leave the hospital to continue your beating heart bypass surgery recovery, you will be given specific wound-care, dietary, and rehabilitation instructions, along with discharge instructions for driving, activity level, medication, and any further restrictions necessary. Your healthcare providers will also go over any symptoms that require immediate medical attention.
You will be given pain medication, blood-thinning medication, possibly antibiotics, and any medicines you were taking prior to the surgery. You may also be placed on medication, such as a beta blocker, to help your heart's electrical system work more effectively, to control your blood pressure, and to reduce the stresses and strains on your heart.
It is also important that you plan on being driven home with the help of a relative or friend. You should not drive until you have had your first follow-up visit with your doctor.
You should also not perform any lifting greater than 10 pounds for at least four weeks, nor should you participate in any strenuous physical exercises or activities during this time period. Your healthcare team will establish a specific cardiac rehabilitation program for you. This program will begin once you have completely recovered from beating heart bypass surgery.
The first follow-up visit with your doctor will be approximately three to four weeks after you leave the hospital, with continued periodic visits until you have fully recovered. However, you may have follow-up visits with your cardiologist earlier than this.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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