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Heart Surgery

Taking care of yourself

While you're waiting for surgery, keep yourself as healthy as you can. Get as mu​ch rest as possible and follow your treatment plan.​

  • Your family doctor will monitor you while you're waiting for surgery. Tell your doctor right away if your health changes. If you need help finding a family doctor before surgery, go to Find a Doctor​.
  • Take your prescription medicine as instructed.
  • If you can, have all dental work you need done before your surgery.


Eat balanced meals that include grains, vegetables and fruits, milk and milk alternatives, and meat and meat alternatives.

If you need to lose weight, eat smaller portions of balanced meals. Ask your family doctor to refer you to a dietitian or visit Dietitians of Canada​​.

Learn more about healthy eating.

Don't try to lose weight fast before surgery. Losing too much weight or losing it too fast isn't good for your heart.


Know your limits and learn to pace yourself. Rest if you're tired, and try to get enough sleep so that you feel rested.

Ask your family doctor about safe ways to exercise before surgery.

Smoking and vaping

People who smoke take longer to recover from surgery. It's important to stop smoking and vaping before you have surgery. Smoking and vaping make your heart work harder, lower the oxygen in your blood, and affect how well your lungs work.

If you need help, AlbertaQuits is a free resource for Albertans who want help to quit smoking or quit other tobacco or addictive products.

Mental health

It's normal to have lots of feelings while you wait for surgery. You may feel:

  • frustrated because you have to wait and make lifestyle changes
  • afraid of the unknown
  • unsure and anxious about the surgery
  • depressed
  • many moods that change often

You may cope better with these feelings when you know what to expect. It's important for you and your family to talk about what you're all feeling while waiting for surgery, as well as after.

A social worker or spiritual care advisor can help you and your family deal with any emotional concerns.​​​

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