Preparing for Open Heart Surgery

Preparing for open heart surgery involves telling your doctor about all medications you are currently taking, as well as discussing your medical history and current medical conditions. Make sure to let your healthcare provider know if you have allergies to latex, iodine, Betadine, seafood, soybeans, or any medications (such as penicillin). The night before your surgery, you will be asked not to eat or drink anything after midnight.

(Technically speaking, an open heart surgery is any procedure where the chest is opened, which certainly includes procedures beyond a heart bypass (a valve replacement, for example). However, because a heart bypass is the most common type of open heart surgery, for the purposes of this article, we will be using the terms "bypass" and "open heart surgery" interchangeably.)
 

An Overview of Preparing for Open Heart Surgery

There are some things that you should be aware of as you plan for your open heart surgery.
 
Please let your doctor know beforehand if you are currently taking aspirin, blood thinners, pain medicine like Motrin® or Advil®, or any kind of prescription medication. These medications may need to be stopped at least seven days before the procedure. Therefore, it is always helpful to have a list of your medications with you or to have someone else bring one if you are already in the hospital. Smoking will also need to be stopped.
 
You and your doctor will discuss your medical history and any other current medical conditions, including allergies. Make sure to let your healthcare provider know if you have allergies to latex, iodine, Betadine, seafood, soybeans, or any medications (such as penicillin).
 
Depending on your situation, you may undergo other tests prior to your surgery. Your healthcare provider will explain the specific purpose of each test.
 
You will also be given specific instructions as to where and when to arrive at the medical facility, how to prepare for your open heart surgery, and what to expect the day of and the days following your surgery.
 
The night before your surgery, you will be asked not to eat or drink anything after midnight.
 
Open heart surgery is performed in the hospital, and the average hospital stay is four to seven days; however, it is possible that you could stay longer. Your healthcare providers will inform you and your family of your progress as you recover.
 
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Heart Bypass Surgery

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