Recovering After Cardiac Surgery

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Cardiac Surgery

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Minimally invasive heart surgery typically requires that patients spend one day following surgery in the cardiac surgery intensive care unit. On the second day, if there are no complications, you will be moved to a regular room and remain there for two to three days before being discharged.

At discharge, your doctor and the nursing staff will instruct you on how to care for your incision, the proper diet to follow, and cardiac rehabilitation. Rehab, which is a very important part of your recovery, usually begins almost immediately after surgery with something as simple as swinging your legs over the side of your bed or walking a few steps. Each day you will progress a little more, and continue with light exercise once you return home.

Patients generally resume many of their regular activities — including driving — within two weeks after surgery. Patients who work at a desk or whose job is not strenuous often return to within two to four weeks. If your job requires lifting or physical activity, it may be six to eight weeks before you can return to work.