Frequently Asked Questions After Discharge of Patients Having Open Heart Surgery
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS OF PATIENTS WITH OPEN HEART SURGERY AFTER DISCHARGE
When will your first outpatient check-up take place? Even if you do not have any problems, your doctor will call you for the first polyclinic control within 10 days after discharge. Your next outpatient controls will be after the 1st and 2nd months following the surgery. Since INR monitoring will be required at frequent intervals in patients using warfarin sodium-containing drugs (Warfmadin, Coumadin, etc.), the outpatient control intervals of these patients are different. How and for how long will I use my medication? The drugs you are using can generally be divided into two groups. Some of these drugs (antibiotics, painkillers, stomach protectors, etc.) will be used and discontinued for a while after discharge, unless otherwise stated, while other drugs (blood thinners, cholesterol, blood pressure and diabetes medications, heart rate regulating drugs, etc.) will be used for a long time. These drugs should be re-prescribed as they run out, unless otherwise directed by your doctor. It would be appropriate to bring all the medicines you are using with you, together with their boxes, when you come to your outpatient clinic control. It would be appropriate for our patients using warfarin sodium-containing drugs (Warfmadin, Coumadin, etc.) to bring their INR follow-up charts with them when they come to the outpatient clinic.
How should I take care of my breastbone (board of faith)?
During the first 1.5 months following the surgery, it would be more appropriate not to drive and sit in the back seat of the vehicle, as your breastbone will not have fused strongly enough yet. In the event of a possible accident, blows to your chest can be life-threatening. For the first 1.5 months, you must lie on your back. Turning to the right or left while lying down may prevent your breastbone from fusing properly. Problems with union of the breastbone can cause infection at the wound site, which may require reoperation. You do not need to sleep in a sitting position, you can even sleep with a single pillow. It would be more appropriate not to be hasty when getting out of bed, to stand up as you were taught in the hospital, and to seek help from a relative if possible. For the first 1.5 months, do not raise your arms above the head level, carry heavy bags and packages, reach from a high place to pick something up, or bend over to pick something up. During this time, it would be more appropriate to perform your prayers sitting down. The most common causes of opening in the sternum are sudden sneezing and prolonged coughing spells. In these cases, do not neglect to secure your sternum by pressing strongly on your sternum with both hands. If you have a long-lasting dry or phlegm cough, apply to the hospital without waiting for your polyclinic control. In the early period after discharge, it is normal to feel very slight movement in the sternum while coughing or moving, but if you think that your sternum moves too much, apply to the hospital without waiting for the polyclinic control.
How long should I abstain from sexual activity?
It is recommended to stay away from sexual activity for the first 6-8 weeks after the surgery. This is the time it takes for your breastbone to fully fuse.
SHOULD I DRESS ON WOUNDS?
Unless otherwise stated, you do not need to dress your wounds after discharge. Especially in female patients with weight problems, the drains at the lower end of the breastbone and under both breasts should be kept dry. Keeping the wound site wet and sweaty may cause softening of the scar tissue and then opening of the wound. In this case, the bottom of the breasts should be supported and it would be appropriate to keep them covered by dressing until the wounds heal completely. If redness, heat increase, swelling or discharge develops in the wound on your breastbone, dress your wound, cover it and apply to the hospital without waiting for the outpatient control.
When can I take a bath, what should I pay attention to?
Unless otherwise stated, you can take a bath the day after discharge. Do not use extremely hot or cold water while bathing. It would be appropriate for someone to accompany you while you take a bath during the first month. It is okay to run soapy water over the wounds, but no scrub or fiber should be applied until the wounds are completely healed. Otherwise, it may cause wound dehiscence and infection.
Are there any dietary restrictions?
Unless otherwise stated, there is no food restriction as the first 2 months are a convalescence period following the surgery. Eating protein-rich foods will shorten your recovery time. Salt consumption should be minimized in patients with hypertension and close blood pressure monitoring should be continued. In patients with diabetes, close blood sugar monitoring should be performed and dietary restrictions on this subject should be strictly followed. High blood sugar levels can cause infection in wound sites and delays in healing. Details on the dietary recommendations that follow are available from our Nutrition and Dietetics Department.