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Heart Surgery

Getting Ready to Go Home

Discharge Information

Your cardiac surgery team will work with you to decide when you’re ready to go home. You’ll get discharge information to prepare you and your family.

Most people are discharged between 4 and 7 days after surgery. Your stay may be shorter or longer depending on how things go.

While you’re recovering, your cardiac surgery team will begin teaching you how to care for yourself once you’re home. It’s important that the person who’ll be helping care for you also learn. You’ll also get information about your cardiac rehabilitation.

Your Medicine

The pharmacist or nurse will talk to you about the medicine and supplements you’ll take at home. Some medicines you’ll already know, others will be new. You may also get a prescription for pain or sleeping medicine.

You’ll get a list of all the medicine you take. Keep a copy of it with you for at least 6 months after surgery. It’s a good idea to keep an updated list of the medicine you take with you along with your healthcare card.

It’s important to know what medicine you take and why you take it. Try to learn:

  • the name of your medicine
  • the dose you take
  • when and how to take it
  • side effects
  • Take your medicine as prescribed.
  • If you forget to take a pill, don’t take 2 the next time! Just carry on with your schedule.
  • Don’t take more, less, or stop taking your medicine unless your doctor tells you to.
  • Try to use only one pharmacy for your prescriptions so your pharmacist can watch for possible problems or allergies.
  • You’ll need to fill all prescriptions as you won’t be sent home with a supply of medicines.
  • If you need more information about your medicine, ask your pharmacist.
  • Keep all medicine away from children and pets.
  • Don’t let anyone else take your medicine.
  • If you’re taking a blood thinner like warfarin (Coumadin), you must wear a medical alert bracelet and carry identification. Please talk with your community pharmacist if you have questions.

Your Follow-Up Visits

  • You will need follow-up appointments with your family doctor, heart surgeon, and cardiologist.
  • You’ll need to see your family doctor within the first week after you’re discharged.
  • Please make an appointment before your discharge or within the first couple of days after you’re home.
  • Your family doctor will follow your progress, adjust your medicine, and answer your questions. They will be your main healthcare provider.
  • You will need to follow up with both your heart surgeon and cardiologist as directed. You’ll get more information before your discharge.
  • Also see the Outpatient Cardiac Rehabilitation section

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