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How to Prepare For Heart Surgery
From your Guide

A heart operation is a major event in your life. Often it comes as a shock, at a time you least expected it. But don't panic. To prepare for heart surgery, just get organized.

Difficulty Level: Easy    Time Required: 1 day


Here's How:
  1. Unless it is an emergency, try and find out all you can about the condition you are being treated for and the operation being planned.
  2. Ask your surgeon or nurse about the details of the surgery, the risks involved, potential complications and how they will be managed, quality of life afterwards and anything else you'd like to know.
  3. Find out if there are any alternatives available that may be better, less traumatic or have lower risk.
  4. Visit your local library or bookstore to find some books that explain your condition and the surgical procedure.
  5. Hunt for reliable information on the Web.
  6. For most heart operations, admission to hospital may be advised a few days in advance. Plan accordingly.
  7. Make sure all necessary investigations and tests are done. Sometimes a cardiac catheterization test will be done and if surgery is indicated, performed at the same hospitalization.
  8. Read the 'Informed Consent Form' you need to sign before surgery and clarify any doubts you may have about it with your doctor.
  9. Find out about the extent of your insurance coverage, processes to apply for it, and procedures for reimbursement of hospital costs.
  10. Heart surgery is serious business. Discuss the whole issue with your family and friends. Get their support and encouragement.
  11. Heart surgery is risky. Making financial arrangements and setting family and business affairs straight before operation can save you a lot of tension and worry.
  12. If you're a smoker and if you haven't already quit, stop right NOW.
  13. Have a good night's sleep the day before surgery. If you're very anxious, ask for sedative medication.
  14. Take a shower on the morning of surgery unless you've been specifically told not to.
  15. Co-operate with the hospital staff in any immediate pre-op procedures, or taking your pre-medication drugs before going to the OR.


Tips:

  1. Knowledge is power. Learning about your condition and the procedure being planned can calm you down.
  2. Heart surgery today is a lot safer than it used to be. Be confident.
  3. Relax. Stress can increase the risk of heart surgery.

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