Prior to hospital admission, it is common for patients to have the opportunity to bank their own blood should a blood transfusion be required during the operation.
Over the years, there has been much debate about the safety of blood banks for cardiac surgery patients. For this reason, please review, "Julie's Blood Bank Concern, Remorse & Advice".
Depending on certain risk factors (age, health history, etc.), the patient may be admitted the day before or the morning of the procedure. Often times, the patient may need to pre-operative tests performed.
A common pre-operative test which requires a minimally invasive procedure is known as a cardiac catheterization.
Similar to all surgical procedures, there is no set period of time to complete a heart valve operation. Each patient case is unique. However, on average, most cardiac procedures for heart valve repair or heart valve replacement take between four to six hours.
To read several patient patient comments about the length of surgery, click here.
Once the heart valve is fixed and the patient’s chest or ribs are closed, the patient will be transferred to an intensive care unit. Visitation by family and friends is typically permitted at this time. Please note, however, the time that a patient is in the intensive care unit varies.
To read 40+ patient comments about patient experiences in the intensive unit, please click here.
After the patient is stabilized in the intensive care unit, he or she may be transferred to a step-down unit. This is a hospital nursing unit providing care intermediate between that of an intensive care unit and a normally-staffed in-patient division.
The length of time that a patient will be in the hospital depends upon the patient’s response to the surgery. It is important to note that each patient is unique and will heal at different rates.
During hospitalization, the patients will be encouraged to begin normal activities quickly. For example, many patients begin walking around the cardiac care unit within the first 48 hours following surgery.
Throughout hospitalization, the patient will also be encouraged to use an incentive spirometer to prevent pneumonia and restore proper lung function.
Please know that it is common for the patient to be actively monitored throughout their entire time in the hospital. The patient may also have daily X-ray examinations throughout their hospital stay.
On average, the patient will be in the hospital between 4 to 6 days. To read 20+ patient comments about hospitalization care, please click here.