“What About Driving After Heart Surgery?” Asks Susie
A great question just came in specific to driving after heart surgery. The question reads, “Hi Adam – Great website! Quick question. When can I drive after heart surgery? Thanks, Susie!”
Unfortunately, the question is a little difficult to answer.
“Why?” you may be wondering.
Well… There are two reasons.
First, there are several are several different types heart surgery. Some heart surgeries require median sternotomy (sternum cracking) and heart bypass. Others are noninvasive heart surgeries that use robotics and/or catheter based technologies. That said, there may be significant variance among patient healing following the invasive versus non-invasive surgical approaches.
The second reason the question, “When can I drive after heart surgery?” is difficult to answer is that recovering from heart surgery is a personal experience with different healing rates. So, everybody will recover at a different rate. (If you are interested, here is an incredibly great quote from Kathy Benson, a former heart surgery patient, about heart surgery recovery.)
In my opinion, this is one of the hardest things for patients and caregivers to understand. That is why I am always am a little bit hesitant in providing specific time-lines for heart surgery recovery – like driving after heart surgery, returning to work or even having sex after heart surgery. To learn more about having sex after cardiac surgery, click here.
That being said, I continue to receive emails about driving after heart surgery. For this reason, you should know that most surgeons suggest that patients can typically drive in the fourth or fifth week of their recovery. However, it is important to note that your experience may be different. Listen to your body. If you are ready at week 4, great! If not, wait a little longer.
I hope this helped you learn more about driving after heart surgery.
Keep on tickin!
Adam Pick is a patient, author of The Patient's Guide To Heart Valve Surgery and the founder of HeartValveSurgery.com.