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After Surgery: Days 1-2
After Your Surgery: Days 1 - 2
During the first one to two days after your surgery, our team will continue to update you and your family on your progress and the goal of care each day. We will also update you on the estimated date of discharge (EDD).
We will continue to monitor you closely and do daily lab work to make sure you meet key health goals, such as:
- Stable vital signs
- You are awake and alert
- You are out of bed two to three times daily
- Physical therapy and occupational therapy evaluation
- You are able to walk around (called "ambulation"), and sit, if appropriate
- By the second day, you are able to walk around with one of our staff three to four times daily
- Pain management
- Oral care
- The removal of drains, lines, and catheters on day one after surgery
- Transfer out of the ICU, if appropriate
- Physical therapy/occupational therapy evaluation
- You are out of bed two to three times daily with one of our nursing or rehab staff
- You are able to "ambulate" or walk about the room at least 50 feet with one of our staff. If cleared with a physical therapist, you may walk with the help of a family member, instead of staff.
- We review sternal precautions and mobility techniques with a physical therapist, an occupational therapist, or one of our nursing staff members.
To check your respiratory function, we will ask you to:
- Take a deep breath
- Use the incentive spirometer
You should use the incentive spirometer 10 times every hour while you are awake to decrease the risk of developing pneumonia and infection.
A dietitian will evaluate you to determine what you can and can't eat. You may be able to return to your regular diet unless your doctor or care team indicates otherwise.
We will also monitor your weight daily.
By the second day, we look to make sure you are eating at least 50% of meals. Otherwise, we may recommend nutritional supplements.
Post-operative pain is caused by injury to your skin, muscles, bones, and nerves during the operation. It is important to manage your pain because it will interfere and slow your recovery process such as breathing, sleep, appetite, and activity.
The amount of pain medications you need depends on your pain tolerance and your response to the medication given. For your safety, your doctors and nursing staff monitor the amount of medications you are given.
Although significant amount of pain medications are given, they may not completely stop your pain, but it should keep the pain at a level that allows you to move, eat, and breathe easily.
The surgical team monitors your medication after your surgery. Some of your home medication may be restarted if clinically indicated.
You may also receive additional medications such as:
- Anti-nausea medication
- Stool softener
- Iron tablets
Dressing stays on for 48 hours. If there is drainage from the sternal incision, your nurse will change it every 24 hours and as needed.
A case manager will evaluate and discuss your potential discharge needs with you and your family.
We will go over:
- The help you may need at home
- Potential transition to a skilled nursing facility (SNF)
- Or acute rehab
The case manager can help make a referral to a skilled nursing facility if needed.
In the first few days after your surgery, we will go over the following instructions with you:
- Sternal precautions
- Cough and deep breathing techniques
- Incentive spirometer use
- Pain management
- Activities you can and can't do after surgery
- Introduction to cardiac rehabilitation
- Post-op teaching booklet/packet