Preparing for Surgery

Before Your Heart Surgery

  • Do not eat or drink after midnight.
  • Medication. Your surgeon will also tell you what medications you may take with a sip of water.
  • Shower the night before surgery. You will be asked to take a shower with anti-bacterial soap the night before your surgery. Scrub your chest and legs for three minutes and DO NOT put lotion on your skin after the shower.
  • Stop Smoking. You are encouraged to stop smoking before (and after) surgery to minimize any post-surgical complication.
  • Tests to be done before surgery. You will need to have an analysis of your blood, a recent EKG and a chest X-ray done before your surgery. You may have these tests done at Missouri Baptist Medical Center.
  • Things to leave behind before surgery. Remove all nail polish, hairpins, hair pieces, wigs, makeup and jewelry the night before surgery. Contact lenses, glasses and dentures should be removed the day of surgery.
  • Valuable Items. We recommend you to leave all valuables at home, or you may ask your nurse to contact hospital security and have them locked in the hospital safe until after your surgery.
  • Signing the operative permit. Your surgeon will explain your operation to you and your family. You will then be asked to sign a written consent for the surgeon to perform your heart procedure. Additional signatures are required for blood transfusions.

Day of Your Surgery

  • Your family will be guided to our Cardiovascular Recovery area (CVR) waiting room during your surgery. Your family can visit you in the morning on the day of your surgery and remain with you until you go into surgery. During your surgery, they may wait in our waiting rooms.
  • Antibacterial shower & shaving before surgery. You will be asked to take another antibacterial shower and scrub your chest for three minutes the day of your surgery. Your chest (and legs for bypass operation) will be trimmed in preparation for the incision. You will also be given a gown and cap to wear to the operating room.
  • Leave everything with your family before the surgery. We will also ask you to remove your dentures, bridges, contact lenses, etc.

After Your Heart Surgery

  • You will be transferred to the CVR after surgery.  You will be taken directly to the Cardiovascular Recovery area and receive intensive nursing and medical care after your surgery. As you wake up, your nurse will repeatedly tell you the time of day, where you are, and that your surgery is over in order to help you recover from anesthesia.
  • Fluids after the operation. After surgery, you will be given fluids intravenously for a few hours. After your breathing and stomach tubes are removed, you will be allowed to drink liquids and return to a regular diet.
  • Tubes and IVs. You will have many tubes and IVs inserted during surgery.  Most of these will be removed in one to two days.
  • We will coach you to cough and breathe deeply. After your surgery, secretions may increase in your lungs due to general anesthesia. We will encourage you to constantly breathe deeply and turn from side to side to loosen these secretions. You also will need to use your incentive spirometer every two hours while awake. Pain medication is also available every four hours as prescribed if you experience discomfort while coughing.
  • Prevention of blood clots and pain control. You will be given medication to decrease the risk of developing blood clots and to relieve your pain from surgery. In addition, special stockings that inflate and deflate automatically will be placed around your calves to reduce the risk of blood clots.
  • Monitor your daily progress throughout recovery. For more patients, during the first morning after your surgery, you will be allowed to sit on the side of your bed and dangle your legs. You will leave CVR in a wheelchair and go to the cardiac floor, where your heart will continuously be monitored until discharge. On the second day, most IV tubes will be removed, and you should walk in the hallway at least three times a day.

For more information on heart surgery, call Missouri Baptist Medical Center at 314-996-3627 or contact us online.

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