Heart Surgery FAQs

What are the major risks for open heart surgery?

Risks generally depend on age, general health, specific medical conditions and heart function. Your surgeon will review your risks with you prior to your procedure.

How do I make arrangements for surgery?

Scheduling will be done through your surgeon's office; however, the Cardiovascular Care Coordinator will guide you through each step, helping you make arrangements before and after your procedure.

Will the surgery be painful?

Some discomfort is normal after surgery. We will try to keep you as comfortable as possible through the use of appropriate medications, first administered through IV's. Once you begin to tolerate food you will be transitioned to oral pain medications, which last longer and will allow you to return home.

Where will I go after discharge from the hospital?

Whenever possible, patients will go home immediately after discharge. In some cases, patients may be transferred to a sub-acute facility for additional care. The St. Vincent Cardiovascular Team will help you in choosing which option is right for you and make the necessary arrangements.

Will I need help at home?

Yes, for at least the first few days and possibly for several weeks, depending on your progress. Your activities will be restricted during your recovery, so family members or friends will need to be available to help with meal preparation, transportation and other basic needs.

Is therapy necessary after surgery?

Cardiac rehabilitation therapy is recommended for St. Vincent patients as it reduces the risk of long-term complications, helps speed recovery and prepares you for a long-term, heart-healthy lifestyle.