Before the operation
It is best to bring comfortable clothing for about five days, toiletries, shoes, home medication for one day, reading materials, … . Valuables should be left at home or given back to the family. If necessary, lockable cupboards are provided on the ward.
If possible, you can depilate your chest, legs and groin with a trimmer. Shaving with a razor or depilatory cream is not allowed.
It is best not to eat a heavy meal the night before surgery.
Take a list of your current medication with you, if necessary in consultation with your family doctor.
You can already think about whether support or care is needed after your operation, so that you can take all the necessary steps in advance.
Only Asaflow® and Cardioasperine® may be taken until the day before surgery.
All other blood thinners, such as Clopidogrel®, Plavix®, Marcoumar®, Sintrom®, all NOACs such as Eliquis®ֽ,
Brilique®, Lixiana®, Xarelto®, should be stopped 5 days prior to surgery. Consultation with your family doctor is recommended to provide a temporary bridge.
If you have recently undergone stent placement, consultation with the family doctor or cardiologist is necessary before stopping your blood thinner.
During the operation
Depending on the type of surgery and the materials needed, the surgery schedule will be made up. You will be informed of the scheduled time the day before surgery. Please note that this is a guideline and always subject to change. You should keep in mind that due to urgent procedures, changes can always occur.
The surgery is done under full anesthesia. The anesthesiologist will discuss the anesthesia with you the day before your surgery. You can then make any comments you may have. You will usually wake up in the intensive care unit a few hours after the procedure.
After the intervention the cardiac surgeon will call a contact person to discuss the course of the operation. Afterwards the family can visit the patient at the intensive care unit.(*) Both the intensive care unit and the cardiothoracic surgery unit can be reached by telephone day and night for information.
(*) Due to the current Covid-19 measures, visits to the intensive care unit are currently not allowed.
After the operation
The ventilator is stopped by the time you wake up. The tube in your throat will also be removed. You usually do not notice this. It is generally not perceived as disturbing.
If you are sufficiently awake and fit after anesthesia, you can start drinking again and eating light food. Often, you can already switch to normal food the first day after surgery.
As soon as your condition is sufficiently stabilized, you can start stepping again. This is often the day after surgery. You will then be supported by the nurses and physiotherapist. The day after surgery you will also start rehabilitating by walking, cycling or climbing stairs. The goal is to resume normal life as soon as possible.
Discharge varies depending on the type of surgery you have had. When the checkup tests (blood tests, lung x-ray, heart ultrasound and cardiogram) are favorable and you are feeling well, discharge can be discussed. On average, this is 3-5 days after surgery.
14 days after surgery, the stitches may be removed by the family doctor or home nurse. The wounds may remain open until then. If they are nice and dry, they do not need to be covered by a bandage.
Fluid loss is quite normal the first 3 to 5 days after surgery.
Showering is possible a few days after surgery if your condition allows it. When showering, avoid a direct jet on the wound. It is important that you dry the wounds thoroughly. A bath should be avoided until all stitches are removed and the wounds have healed properly.
After a cardiac intervention you may legally not drive a car for one month. This is for insurance reasons. During the postoperative check-up with your cardiologist, about four weeks after the operation, the doctor will give you guidelines on driving a vehicle.
Once home, you may resume your daily activity. There are no restrictions, but strenuous activity is best avoided for the first few weeks. Lots of walking and cycling is recommended for a quick recovery.
As soon as you feel sufficiently recovered.