Alcohol and heart surgery

It is important to be honest with your healthcare providers about your alcohol use. Recovery from your heart surgery can be complicated if your healthcare providers do not know about your correct alcohol consumption. Tell your healthcare providers how many glasses you drink per day or per week. Excessive alcohol consumption, more than 3 glasses each day, can negatively affect the outcome of your surgery. This includes consuming large amounts of alcohol at one time.

How does alcohol affect the outcome of my heart surgery?

If you drink more than 3 glasses daily, withdrawal symptoms may occur after surgery. These are symptoms that people exhibit when they suddenly stop drinking after consuming alcohol for a long period of time. They may include trembling, sweating, hallucinating or having convulsions. If left untreated, these withdrawal symptoms can lead to life-threatening complications. Hence the importance of providing the right information to your healthcare providers. There are treatments to prevent the possibility of “alcohol withdrawal syndrome” which can avoid many problems.

We are therefore noticing a:

  • a decrease in the incidence of post-operative neurological disorders
  • reduced use of sedatives
  • shorter ventilation period
  • reduced incidence of organ failure and biochemical complications
  • reduced use of movement-limiting measures
  • reduced incidence of falls
  • shortened stay in the intensive care unit
  • shortened hospital stay

How do I know if I am at risk for “alcohol withdrawal syndrome”? During your preoperative examination, a number of questions will be asked about this risk. Please answer these questions as honestly as possible as this may affect the success of your cardiac surgery. Always remember that this information is strictly confidential and covered by professional secrecy.

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