The most commonly asked question by patient and relatives and is also a most important one to explain and counsel so that to allay worries and apprehension of the patient and his/her relatives for smooth postoperative stay and recovery.
Yes, Heart surgery is major surgery but with all advances in surgical techniques and anaesthesia, it is the safest of surgery these days.
90 percent of heart surgeries done now is on beating heart. The complication rate of heart surgery in India is about 1% that is on par with the international rates and standards.
On admission day patients undergoes pre-anaesthetic evaluation and investigations that access the physical fitness of the patient for major surgery and the anaesthesia which include blood and urine investigations, heart check-up that is ECG, 2D Echocardiogram and chest X-Ray etc.
The routine operation start on next day morning. The duration of surgery is about 4-6 hours. Patient regain his consciousness in the evening or next day morning and is taken off ventilation. Patient will have multiple lines for monitoring the vitals of the patient that include the heart rate, blood pressures, temperature, blood drains, urine output etc. These lines will be removed one by one over days. Postoperative recovery usually takes 5-6 days.
The first 2 days are in ICU where active and passive Physiotherapy and the respiratory exercises help the patient to recover. Patient is then being ambulated over days to be able to do all routine activities without straining.
We also take care of your nutrition, pain, and cardiorespiratory function. Patient has to put effort into active exercises of lungs and limbs and active ambulation which start as soon as 2nd postoperative day.
For the next few days as patient gain confidence and is shifted to the ward, put on oral medications and more mobilisation and active physio exercises and by the time of discharge that is on day 7- 8, patient will be able to do all routine work at home by her/his own with minimal support from a close relative.
On the way back home understand dos and don’ts, medications on time and the revisit day. In short, do not overstrain yourself, avoid heavy or sudden movements. Never stop or start any medications without consulting your doctor. Keep yourself active without overstaining, continue respiratory and other exercises and surgical wound care. Keep emergency number handy always. Visit the heart surgeon on follow up day with the advised investigations at the time of discharge.
As studies show in heart surgery practises, not only we have less complication rate but also great long-term results. Patient once fully recover shall be able to resume her/his office and is back to normal life.
Dr. Kapil Minocha, Associate Consultant – Cardiac Surgery (CTVS), Dharamshila Narayana Superspeciality Hospital, Delhi